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DSS Asbestos & Hazardous Materials Management

Designated Substance Surveys and Hazardous Materials Assessments

Cambium’s specialists assist building owners and managers by assessing designated substances and hazardous materials to limit the risk of exposure to workers and the public. Beyond identifying substances and materials, we are trained professionals experienced with managing the removal of hazardous materials from the built environment. We can help meet your regulatory compliance requirements, due-diligence needs, or assist with planning.

    Asbestos and Hazardous Material Assessments and Indoor Air Quality

    A Designated Substance Survey (DSS) is typically completed to meet the requirements of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (O.Reg. 490 and O.Reg. 213), wherein the owner of a building is required to report all designated substances at a project site to construction workers that may be exposed to such a risk. The objective of the DSS is to identify and quantify the location and extent of all designated substances within a facility through sampling and analysis.

    A designated substance is a biological, chemical, or physical agent to which the exposure of a worker is prohibited, regulated, restricted, limited or controlled. In Ontario, there are eleven (11) designated substances: acrylonitrile, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, coke oven emissions, ethylene oxide, isocyanates, lead, mercury, silica, and vinyl chloride.

    In addition, we review hazardous materials such as visible mould, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), ozone-depleting substances, and urea formaldehyde. Safe disposal of waste materials for demolition projects is required to comply with O.Reg. 347.

    A typical DSS includes the following:

    • Sampling building material that may contain a designated substance. Typically, this includes asbestos, lead and/or mercury
    • Mapping, photographing records and documentation of all sample locations
    • Report generation detailing the presence or absence of designated substances.

    Cambium has dedicated, professional, and experienced staff to conduct DSS. We provide building owners, managers, and contractors the information they need to take appropriate measures to control exposure and limit risk.

    Targeted Assessments

    While a DSS covers a wide range, we can focus on specific substances and materials that have known health concerns. These often include asbestos, mould, and PCBs.

    Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are present in many buildings. They present significant risk to workers and occupants when disrupted, whether through regular maintenance activities or major renovations. O.Reg. 278 requires building owners and managers to determine the presence of ACMs and whether the asbestos is friable or non-friable.

    ACMs are materials that contain 0.5% or more of asbestos by dry weight. Friable asbestos can be crumbled by hand pressure when dry. Prior to a demolition or renovation project, an asbestos survey is required.

    Cambium staff are trained to identify ACMs and can help you develop appropriate plans for remediation. A typical asbestos survey includes:

    • Review of relevant documents, drawings, and photos
    • Interviews with appropriate building representatives
    • Visual review of building equipment, components, and systems
    • Collection of potential ACM samples to be verified through laboratory analysis
    • Documentation of the condition of all potential ACMs
    • Preparation of a report with our findings, including photographic records and sample locations shown on plan drawings

    Once the report is complete, annual updates are required for ongoing asbestos management plans per O.Re.g 278.

    Building components exposed to water, whether from leaks through the building’s shell, frozen and burst pipes, or sanitary system backups, can lead to contamination and health risks. Cambium’s staff are trained to assess these health risks, develop remediation plans, and manage remedial activities to restore occupancy.

    Abatement Management

    Once the presence of designated substances and hazardous materials is known, prior to renovation or demolition activities designated substances planned to be impacted will have to be removed following applicable regulations. Cambium provides abatement management services including, but not limited to:

    • Preparation of removal specification documents
    • Contractor walk through / onsite pre-project meetings
    • Pre-contamination assessments
    • Ambient air monitoring
    • Final visual inspection
    • Clearance air sampling
    • General abatement monitoring during removal
    • Project closeout reports

    Designated substances require to be removed following specific removal and disposal procedures as outlined in the applicable regulations. Cambium’s abatement management services provide start to finish oversite to ensure work is completed in accordance with applicable regulations. 

    For more information and/or to obtain a proposal for services, contact:

    Chris Moose
    Project Manager, Building Science

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