Asbestos Inspections Required Prior to Demolitions and Renovations
In Maine, improper demolition activities may be the greatest single source of asbestos exposure to the general public and to trades people working on the project. Prior to demolition or renovation of a building, the owner must ensure that the work will not disturb more than 3 square feet or 3 linear feet of asbestos-containing material (ACM). Owners of buildings, other than residential buildings with less than 5 units, must have a DEP-licensed Asbestos Consultant inspect the building (or area) for asbestos. Residential buildings with 2-5 units can be surveyed for likely asbestos-containing materials by knowledgeable non-licensed people (e.g. building inspectors and CEO’s who have asbestos-awareness training); any materials likely to contain asbestos must be tested by a DEP-certified inspector or assumed to be ACM.
If ACM is identified in a building that will be demolished, or any building materials are assumed to be ACM, these materials must be removed by a DEP-licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractor before the demolition. Similarly, if any ACM is identified or assumed in areas of a building that will undergo renovation, the ACM must be removed by a DEP-licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractor before the renovation occurs. Intact asbestos-containing flooring and roofing may be left in place during demolition of a building if the demolition is performed by a DEP-licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractor using large equipment in accordance with the Maine “Asbestos Management Regulations”.
State and federal regulations require that building owners notify the DEP at least 5 working days prior to demolition of a building (other than single-family residences). This notification is required even if no asbestos is identified in the building. Forms are available from DEP and your local code enforcement office.
Please note: OSHA regulates asbestos anytime an employer/employee relationship exists. OSHA worker protection rules exist and must be followed for abatement activities. Contact the local OSHA office with questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
.Here are commonly asked questions about asbestos inspection requirements for commercial/public buildings
and buildings with 5 or more dwelling units or leased/rental units
Question: My reno/demo project is in a library building. Do I need to hire an inspector
to perform an inspection for asbestos before I can begin the work?
Response: Yes. Public and Industrial use buildings are considered commercial. This
means a Maine certified/licensed Asbestos Inspector must perform an inspection for
asbestos-containing material (ACM) prior to commencement of work. If asbestos is
identified removal by a Maine licensed Asbestos Contractor is required. In addition the
project must be notified according to Maine asbestos regulations. This applies to all
commercial buildings regardless of age unless documents exist that show no asbestos is
present, such as a previous inspection report or letter from an architect verifying that no
asbestos materials were used in the building construction.
Note: In lieu of any required inspection you may assume suspect material to be
positive for asbestos and have it removed accordingly. You may never assume
material to be non-asbestos.
Question: I am renovating a single family dwelling that was at one time used for
commercial purposes. Do I need to have the building inspected?
Response: Yes. If the single family dwelling is currently or has ever been used as a
commercial, government, daycare, office, church, charitable or other non-profit place of
business it must be inspected as above.
Single family residences that were never used for commercial purposes, and residential
dwellings constructed after 1980 that consist of two (2) to four (4) units, are exempt from
the inspection requirement of Maine's Asbestos Regulations; however home owners
should conduct a walk through of the building to identify any suspect asbestos-containing
building materials. Homeowners are responsible for any disturbance of ACM in amounts
greater than 3 square or 3 linear feet. If suspect material is found the homeowner should
contact the Maine DEP, a licensed asbestos consultant or contractor for help.
Question: I am renovating an apartment building that has less than 5 units. Do I need to
hire a state licensed inspection company?
Response: If the building was constructed before 1981 and consists of 2 to 4 dwelling
units or leased/rental units you may do one of the following:
- Have an inspection for ACM performed by a Maine licensed Asbestos Inspector,
- Have the inspection performed by a person familiar with ACM (such as a code
enforcement officer or building inspector), or
- You may assume any suspect material to be asbestos and have those materials
removed in accordance with state rules.
Question: What are suspect ACM materials?
Response: Suspect asbestos-containing building materials include thermal system
insulation, ceiling tile, exterior cementitious siding, rigid panels, attic and wall insulation,
vinyl floor tile and resilient floor covering (linoleum). Specific building materials that do
not require inspection, sampling, and analysis for asbestos include: wood, fiberglass,
glass, plastic, metal, laminates, and gypsum board when joint compound was used only
as a filler and not as a layered component, and exterior caulkings and glazings.
Question: Are there any other materials regulated in Maine that must be removed from a
building prior to demolition?
Response: Any identified hazardous waste and other universal wastes should be part of
any pre-demolition site assessment and cleanup phase. For instance it is illegal to dispose
of PCB's and mercury-containing products in Maine. Fluorescent light fixtures made
before 1980 contain a ballast that has PCB's in it. The most common mercury-containing
products found in buildings are thermostats and fluorescent light bulbs. Check the Maine
DEP website at www.maine.gov/dep/waste/hazardouswaste/pdf/uwrecyclingcompanies.pdf for locations
and businesses that will recycle these "universal wastes."
If you have any questions on asbestos, or state and federal asbestos regulations,
please call the DEP's Lead & Asbestos Hazard Prevention Program at (207) 287-
An up-to-date list of DEP-licensed asbestos contractors and consultants is available
from the department by calling (207) 287-2651 or on the internet at www.maine.gov/dep/waste/asbestos/.