Asbestos Testing


Asbestos Testing for San Francisco Bay Area

Asbestos is found in many building materials. Disturbing building materials that contain asbestos can release asbestos fibers into the air. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause serious harm to human lungs. That’s why testing for the presence or absence of asbestos in building materials in pre-1981 buildings. Testing is required by the State of California under Title 8, Section 1529 for all buildings that will be demolished or removal of a bearing wall. In San Francisco the SFDBI will usually require the same asbestos testing by a licensed professional before issuing a demo permit.  

Asbestos is a far more complicated removal process that it appears; most buildings that have asbestos may also contain lead-based paint. There are multiple rules depending on your project.  We perform testing for both lead and asbestos. 

Any asbestos materials must be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor and delivered to an appropriate landfill.

Also the Bay Area Air Quality Management District – BAAQMD – requires a 10 day notification.  Removal of less than 100 sq. ft. is exempt from this rule.     

Asbestos Demo Survey

Testing is required by counties in California before issuing a demo permit to completely demolish a building or a bearing wall. This testing is required regardless of the year built.

To obtain a demo permit you need all suspected asbestos containing materials identified and sampled before any demolition begins. This initial inspection will enable you to obtain a J card from the building department for demo or structural removal.

Asbestos Testing Status or Survey

An asbestos inspection is an initial inspection to identify and test building materials to determine the presence of asbestos above or below 1%.  So, the presence of asbestos fibers in a building material must be  below 1% or that material should be removed by a professional asbestos abatement contractor.

An asbestos status or asbestos survey document is created from this inspection including lab testing results of materials. We also include photos as well as material measurements of all installations of asbestos containing materials. This document is useful in obtaining removal or abatement quotes.

  • Asbestos Bulk Sampling
    This sampling method is used to determine the asbestos concentration of a suspected asbestos containing material. Physical pieces of the suspect material will be collected. This testing is somewhat destructive will require damaging the material. If this material is not going to be removed, then this sampling may not be applicable.


To obtain a demo permit you need an asbestos survey conducted by a CAC.  This is a service we are licensed to perform as we hold the California Asbestos Consultant license. The search form is at the bottom of this page. Use Riera as the last name to get accurate results.

Asbestos materials must be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor and delivered to a toxic dump site or other appropriate landfill.

This initial inspection will enable you to obtain a J card from the building department for demo or structural removal. All demo permits require a J card in California.

Asbestos Testing Peace Of Mind

Asbestos Peace of Mind inspections can include:

  • physical removal of material for testing
  • visual inspection identifying possible asbestos containing material with photos only
  • asbestos air testing for airborne fibers

For this a visual inspection report no physical samples are taken, as they will leave building damage. The presence of asbestos can be assumed.

If physical sample are required for your sale, then the owner of the building needs to provide written permission to perform destructive testing.  We do not repair minor damage from obtaining physical samples.

Asbestos air samples of the breathable air are sometimes indicated. Sometimes a worker will remove ducts in  a pre-1981 home and leave behind a lot of dust. The homeowner is rightfully, concerned. We understand and will completely address your questions with asbestos air lab testing. No one wants to expose themselves and family to airborne asbestos fibers.

Asbestos Testing Clearance

It is a good practice to have clearance testing done after an asbestos removal job. To prevent any asbestos from contaminating other areas. Clearance testing is conducted by air sampling in the locations of removal. This should be completed while containment is still up and the area is still under negative pressure.

We use asbestos air testing for clearance. This sampling determines the asbestos  concentration of airborne asbestos material. 

We offer both TEM and PCM asbestos testing. 

TEM asbestos air testing looks only for asbestos fibers at 20,000 times their actual size. 

PCM asbestos air testing looks for all fibers that are the same size as asbestos at 400 times their actual size. 

PCM asbestos air sampling is usually done for worker safety. For example, asbestos containing sheetrock, mud, and tape were removed. The sheetrock installers want access to install new sheetrock. Before they enter the site, PCM asbestos air sampling is done to show the site to be primarily dust free.

And Finally

Any of these surveys are required to be conducted by a certified asbestos consultant. A copy of our licenses can be found here: Department of Industrial Relations. Use Riera as the last name to get the most up to date results.

How Many Asbestos Samples Will I Need?

Assess Your Asbestos Risk

EPA Asbestos Containing Materials and Demo