Frequently Asked Questions for Property Owners about Asbestos


Is the Contractor responsible for determining if there is asbestos in my property?

No they are not responsible for that. They are responsible for filing notifications with local agencies. For example in Southern California they must obtain a permit from the AQMD before any demolition or renovation work fifteen days before starting the work.


What do I have to disclose to tenants, employees and contractors?

Under CAL. HSC. CODE § 25915 : California Code - Section 25915 the building owner must disclose certain information. That code is as follows. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the owner of any building constructed prior to 1979, who knows that the building contains asbestos-containing construction materials, shall provide notice to all employees of that owner working within the building concerning all of the following:


(1) The existence of, conclusions from, and a description or list of the contents of, any survey known to the owner conducted to determine the existence and location of asbestos-containing construction materials within the building, and information describing when and where the results of the survey are available pursuant to Section 25917.


(2) Specific locations within the building known to the owner, or identified in a survey known to the owner, where asbestos-containing construction materials are present in any quantity.


(3) General procedures and handling restrictions necessary to prevent, and, if appropriate, to minimize disturbance, release, and exposure to the asbestos. If detailed handling instructions are necessary to ensure employee safety, the notice required by this section shall indicate where those instructions can be found.


(4) A summary of the results of any bulk sample analysis, or air monitoring, or monitoring conducted pursuant to Section 5208 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, conducted for or by the owner or within the owner's control, including reference to sampling and laboratory procedures utilized, and information describing when and where the specific monitoring data and sampling procedures are available pursuant to Section 25917.


(5) Potential health risks or impacts that may result from exposure to the asbestos in the building as identified in surveys or tests referred to in this section, or otherwise known to the owner.


The notice may contain a description and explanation of the health action levels or exposure standards established by the state or federal government. However, if the notice contains this description, the notice shall include, at least, a description and explanation of the no significant risk level established pursuant to Chapter 6.6 (commencing with Section 25249.5) of Division 20, and specified in Section 12711 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, the school abatement clearance level specified in Section 49410.7 of the Education Code, and the action levels established by state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Act regulations.


The notice requirements specified in this subdivision shall not apply to an owner who elects to prepare an asbestos management plan pursuant to Section 25915.1. In those cases, the notice requirements specified in Section 25915.1 shall apply.


(b) If the owner has no special knowledge of the information required pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (5), of subdivision (a), the owner shall specifically inform his or her employees in the notice required by this section, that he or she lacks knowledge regarding handling instructions necessary to prevent and minimize release of, and exposure to, asbestos and the potential health impacts resulting from exposure to asbestos in the building, and shall encourage employees to contact local or state public health agencies.


As a Property Owner I really like the phrase “who knows that the building contains asbestos-containing construction materials,” so I can just not test and not tell. Is there a problem with that?


Yes there is, did you read the last paragraph of the code section above.

(b) If the owner has no special knowledge of the information required pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (5), of subdivision (a), the owner shall specifically inform his or her employees in the notice required by this section, that he or she lacks knowledge regarding handling instructions necessary to prevent and minimize release of, and exposure to, asbestos and the potential health impacts resulting from exposure to asbestos in the building, and shall encourage employees to contact local or state public health agencies.

That means you will be telling everybody that you are incompetent and that they should go to OSHA, the local Rent Control Board and the AQMD for help. Since you are an owner of a valuable asset, you are seen as someone who is sophisticated and knowledgeable, you cannot claim ignorance.


Is there any other code that I have to worry about?

Cal-OSHA weighs in with two very important issues. The asbestos in construction standard Title 8 section 1529 allows for presuming building materials contain asbestos, and when materials have not been sampled, requires such a presumption at times.


1529(k)(1) requires such a presumption for thermal system insulation, as well as other building materials.


The requirement for a "survey" is found in 1529(k)(2)(A) "Before work subject to this standard is begun, building and facility owners shall determine the presence, location, and quantity of ACM and/or PACM at the work site pursuant to subsection (k)(1) of this section".


What are the Requirements of Section 25915.1?

Here is the salient parts of 25915.1

Section 25915.1


   (1) The existence of, conclusions from, and a description or list of the contents of, any survey known to the owner conducted to determine the existence and location of asbestos-containing construction materials within the building, and information describing when and where the results of the survey are available pursuant to Section 25917.



25917. An owner shall make available, for review and photocopying, to other owners and all of his or her employees or those employees' representatives at an accessible place and time, all existing asbestos survey and monitoring data and any asbestos management plan which has been prepared, specific to the building. This place shall be within the building, or another building which is leased or also owned by the owner, located on the same property as the building, and accessible and convenient to employees, and shall be available during employee working hours, including lunch and break periods, if any owner maintains an office or similar facility in the building; if not, the survey, data, and asbestos management plan shall be

available at another place, and at a time accessible and convenient to employees and their representatives. Any owner may enter into an agreement with another owner to provide the location where the survey, data, and asbestos management plan is available to employees within one building pursuant to this section.


Is there a NESHAPS rule about Buildin Survey Work?

Yes, and the rules vary for each local enforcement agency. The South Coast Air Quality Management District enforces NESHAPS here in the Los Angeles Basin. Look at the AQMD asbestos page or the Frequently Asked Questions for Asbestos. In other Counties you will need to check those rules.


OK I see the AQMD FAQs, but tell me do I need to have in a survey?

Yes the Building owner must conduct a building survey before any demolition or renovation. The person doing the survey shall hold a license to hold themselves out as a licensed asbestos consultant (CAC). The survey cannot be done or paid for by a licensed contractor who will conduct the renovation or demolition activities. Before you conduct any demolition or renovation activities have a CAC or CSST working for a CAC conduct an inspection.


Here is the code: AQMD Rule 1403 (d)(1)(A)

(d) Requirements

A person subject to this rule shall prevent emissions of asbestos to the outside air

by complying with the following requirements:

(1) Demolition and Renovation Activities

The owner or operator of any demolition or renovation activity shall comply with the following requirements:

(A) Facility Survey

(I) The affected facility or facility components shall be thoroughly surveyed for the presence of asbestos prior to any demolition or renovation activity. The survey shall include the inspection, identification, and quantification of all friable, and Class I and Class II non-friable asbestos containing material, and any physical sampling of materials.

(ii) A thorough survey shall include, at a minimum,

identification of all affected materials at the facility, including but not limited to all layers of flooring materials to the joist level, and all material in the wall or ceiling cavities as necessary to identify and sample them.

(iii) The survey shall be documented with the following information:

(I) The name, address, and telephone number of the person who conducted the survey;

(II) A written statement of the qualifications of the person who conducted the survey, demonstrating compliance with clause (d)(1)(A)(iv);

(III) The dates the survey was conducted;

(IV) A listing of all suspected materials containing any asbestos, a listing of all samples collected, and a sketch of where the samples were taken;

(V) The name, address, and telephone number of any laboratory used to conduct analyses of materials for asbestos content;

(VI) A statement of qualification of the laboratory which conducted the analyses, demonstrating compliance with paragraph (h)(2);

(VII) A list of the test methods used, demonstrating compliance with subdivision (h), including sampling protocols and laboratory methods of analysis, test data, and any other information used to identify or quantify any materials containing asbestos; and

(VIII) A general description of the condition of the facility, including but not limited to a description of any obvious fire or structural damage.

(iv) Persons conducting asbestos surveys in accordance with subparagraph (d)(1)(A) shall be certified by Cal/OSHA pursuant to regulations required by subdivision (b) of Section 9021.5 of the Labor Code, and shall have taken and passed an EPA-approved Building Inspector Course.


Recent construction activities have occurred. The contractor was not a licensed contractor, and I am pretty certain that there is asbestos in my building. What should I do?

Based on the assumption that you have confirmed knowledge that the building material is greater than 0.1 per cent a violation of the code has happened, that violation could have endangered you, your family and friends. Please refer to http://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/341%5F6.html . The code is specific Any employer or contractor engaging in asbestos-related work by disturbing more than 100 square feet of asbestos-containing construction material (greater than 0.1 percent asbestos by weight) during the course of work at a single worksite must be registered. Notify all persons potentially exposed to asbestos, identify the persons who conducted the work or demolition. Notify Both EPA and Cal OSHA that a spill has happened. The cognizant person must accomplish these steps as soon as possible. The Code section is as follows. The CCLA (Penal Code section 387) provides that anyone "who is a manager with respect to a product, facility, equipment, process, place of employment, or business practice" is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony if they: (1) have actual knowledge of a serious concealed danger; and (2) fail to report that danger to the affected employees and the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Violation of the Act is punishable by up to three years in state prison and a $25,000 fine. This notification should be accomplished by the building owner. Absent proof that notification was made, I strongly recommend that you provide that notification as another cognizant manager.


When I rent something what do I need to disclose about asbestos?

Please have an asbestos operations and maintenance plan and make a full disclosure. You can be somewhat vague, but please make the disclosures. Prepare an asbestos management plan pursuant to Section 25915.1.


Who can I hire to test for asbestos?

In California and many other states you must hire a Licensed or Certified Asbestos Consultant to do the test. In California, Nevada and many other states it is illegal for a Licensed Contractor to collect samples or test for asbestos. California Business and Professions Code specifically states 7180(e). No licensed contractor or asbestos abatement contractor may provide professional health and safety services or perform any asbestos risk assessment. Only a licensed California Asbestos Consultant (CAC) or a Certified Site Surveillance Technician (CSST) working under the direction of a CAC can collect asbestos samples or as the law says perform any asbestos risk assessment. There is an exception, if a contractor has completed the AHERA/ASHARA Building Inspector Course and has taken the annual refreshers the contractor can collect up to ten samples as long as they do not disclose to anyone what the results were. So if a contractor wants to collect samples they should not tell you what they found. It is against the law for the contractor to charge you for the testing. If you are worried about paying a professional to test, you should realize that the CAC does not have a financial interest in finding asbestos and is impartial. If the Contractor brings in a CAC or CSST, they are in violation of the above code. Find the CAC on your own, you will then be pretty certain that you are not looking at a conflict of interest. The Contractor on the other hand needs to find asbestos so that he can make some money by removing it.


What are my responsibilities in regards to asbestos in my building?

Under California Health and Safety Code the building owner is required to provide any and all studies that were conducted to find asbestos material and where the material may be located in the building. The Code is California Health & Safety Code Section 25249.6. Required Warning Before Exposure To Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer Or Reproductive Toxicity. No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual, except as provided in Section 25249.10. This code is also know as Proposition 65. The property does not qualify for an exemption based on the recent findings of positive asbestos content in the wall components. Asbestos has some other requirements under CAL. HSC. CODE § 25915 : California Code - Section 25915.


May 21, 2014 © Dan Napier, CIH CAC 92-614

Usual Disclaimers, if you have another interpretation of the Law or want it changed, please chat up the Governor about the changes in the law, otherwise please read the regulations and follow them as closely as you can. No matter how dumb you think the rules are they are the rules. I feel pretty dumb most of the time, especially when my wife asks “You did what?”.