Your home and office should be a place of comfort. But, there are many situations where owners, buyers, realtors, lenders, new tenants…. seem uneasy about environmental conditions of the property. There may be apprehensions about a suspect material thought to be asbestos, vermiculite, mold, insulation, etc….. questions about the effectiveness of restoration…. or uncertainty about the history of the property, some of which require disclosures at the time of sale. Situations can be stressful when buying /selling a home, particularly as timelines are often tight to find specific answers.
Our laboratory provides a number of different services to homeowners, building managers, lenders, restoration contractors, home inspectors and realtors to help sort out these matters. Below are examples of the type of issues we often deal with. If we can assist you please contact us.
- Asbestos testing of floor tile, wallboard, duct liner, boiler & pipe wrap, ceiling finishes, exterior siding, etc.
- Vermiculite insulation testing services
- Inspection & testing for remediation of marijuana grow houses
- Hazardous substance assessments eg. lead in paint
- Testing for mold contamination
- Air quality issues( IAQ)
- Noise annoyance
Asbestos Materials in the Home
Before approximately 1980 asbestos was widely used in older schools, commercial buildings and homes. Asbestos can be found in pipe wrap, duct lining, ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, exterior siding, cladding, etc. so there is a good possibility of encountering asbestos-containing materials. During repair and/or renovation it is important to avoid deterioration or disturbance of asbestos containing materials. If asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and remain intact, they do not pose a significant danger from release of asbestos fibers into the air. Building materials contain asbestos should be identified thus allowing for suitable precautions to be implemented when dealing with asbestos containing materials (ACM).
Many building products previously used asbestos as a mix, filler or additive in plaster, insulation, sealing & waterproofing compounds, thermal fabric, etc. These materials cannot be distinguished by visual inspection alone. A bulk sample of suspect material should be submitted for testing to determine asbestos content. Our asbestos laboratory is accredited to perform these tests. We perform thousands of these analyses every year. Please click here to learn more.
If you have started or are planning a renovation, if you have collected samples during a home inspection, if disposing of suspect materials or for any number of other reasons you might need to have testing performed please contact us and we will be pleased to assist.
Asbestos lab testing,vermiculite insulation testing lab, Accredited laboratory.
There are many types of molds (fungi) and they are found virtually everywhere. Molds are part of our natural environment outdoors. Airborne spores come in through windows and doors and on clothing, hair, and fur. Exposures are unavoidable, but in most cases harmless. With excess moisture, leaks, floods, etc. mold can multiple and become a problem in the home, office or shool.
We provide a range of testing and laboratory services to help investigate & resolve mold concerns. If you require assistance with any of the following services please contact us:
- Mold inspection of a home, school or office & concerns about musty odours from hidden mold
- Assessment of water damaged building materials
- Analysis and identification of molds spores on building materials
- Sampling of mold, pollen, and bacteria
- Evaluation of surface contamination by mold
- Assessing restoration, repair and clean-up of mold
For more information about molds click here.
Inspections of Grow-Op Houses
Growing of marijuana in private homes and apartments is fairly commonplace and makes headlines in the news when large scale, for-profit, illicit commercial activities are involved. Often, however, marijuana is grown without this intention and primarily for personal, recreational use, unbeknowst to the owner. Regardless, upon discovery, various players may become involved in suspending the “grow op” including the police, the municipaly property standards office, the Public Health Unit, the Electical Safety Authority (ESA), among others. When this happens, the owner / occupant / mortgage holder must re-qualify the property. At a minimum this requires an environmental assessment of the conditions in the building and may entail a restoration process to obtain approvals. We facilitate by providing inspection and testing and by helping to “navigate these uncertain waters”, which can be a nightmare. Click here to read more or click here to contact us if you need assistance.
Vermiculite is a mineral with “flaky” shaped grains. The platlets can be expanded like popcorn when baked at high temperature to form a fluffy material that is ideal for insulating houses. Vermiculite material was commonly used as attic insulation, but can be found in walls. The issue with vermiculite is that it may contain impurities of asbestos. Products sold in Canada and the US under the names Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI), Zonolite Unifil, Zonolite Eco-fill, and Zonolite Insulating Fill have been found to contain tremolite asbestos. Not all vermiculite insulation products contain asbestos. Samples of insulation can be tested for asbestos content. Please contact us for more information on how to sample vermiculite and to arrange for analysis.
Indoor Air Quality in Homes
Concerns about air quality in a home, school or office can be perplexing when there are no obvious air contaminants or sources to explain the building-related illness. If fresh air is insufficient then contaminants may accumulate to noticable thresholds causing air to become “stale” or odorous. Some individual may experience discomfort from headaches, nausea, and lethargy along with other vague feelings of malaise.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues may be related to new building materials which release a number of different Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde into the air. In water damaged areas, molds may also release VOCs during the active growth phase. The building materials and air quality can be tested for VOCs and for a number of contaminants of concern ie. asbestos, lead, molds, and so on. Please contact us if you have an issue to resolve or click here to read more.
Commercial Real Estate
Realtors in the commercial sector may have diverse needs for environmental site assessments when managing properties and transferring ownership. Issues can range from removal of underground storage tanks to vapour intrusion into buildings or hazardous substance surveys. Testing and verification of contaminants is often required. The investigations can be protracted and complicated if the sites are contaminated. For environmental engineering and laboratory support services contact us or click here to learn more about our services.