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General Asbestos Regulations


HMA is a California Corporation, and information on this page relates to EPA and Cal-OSHA standards applicable to the San Francisco Bay Area. Local Regulations in your area may vary.


Brief Summary of the three major asbestos regulations

Brief Summary of the three major asbestos regulations


The three primary regulations, or types of regulations are:

AHERA, which applies to Schools;

NESHAPS,which applies to exposures or potential exposures to the general public; and

OSHA, (Cal-OSHA in California)who's standards apply to employees of employers in the workforce.

There are numerous other varied regulations, both on the federal level, state, and local.

Each type of regulation serves a specific purpose.:



  • 29CFR 1910.1001 Federal OSHA, Covers Asbestos in the workplace

  • 29CFR 1926.1101 Federal OSHA, Asbestos construction standard

  • 40CFR 763 aka "AHERA", This is the Asbestos in Schools regulation

  • Title 8 CCR Sec. 1529 Cal-OSHA, Asbestos construction standard

  • Title 8 CCR Sec. 3203 Injury & Illness Prevention Program, duty to evaluate hazards

  • Title 8 CCR Sec. 5208 California OSHA, Covers Asbestos in the workplace

  • 40CFR Part 61, M, National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) Inspection prior to Renovation or Demolition, and

  • BAAQMD Regulation 11, Rule 2, Demolition and Renovation

  • H. & S., Sec 25359.7 Real Estate Disclosure

  • H. & S., Sec 25915 Connelly Bill, California Asbestos Notification Act

  • H. & S., Sec 25914.2 Hazard Removal Contracts

  • Labor Code 6501.9 Duty to determine presence of asbestos prior to work.

  • Prop 65 Hazard disclosure, public buildings

  • B&P Code Sec 7058.5 California State Licensing Board

  • 22 CCR Sec 66261.24 Cal/EPA Waste handling and disposal



One of the most common questions we receive relates to the requirement for asbestos surveys prior to any renovation or demolition. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the regulation is administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, under Regulaion 11, Rule 2, Section 303.8. For your convienience, the regulation is reproduced as follows:


303.8 Surveys: 
Except for ordered demolitions, prior to commencement of any demolition or renovation, the owner or operator shall thoroughly survey the affected structure or portion thereof for the presence of asbestos-containing material, including Category I and Category II nonfriable asbestos-containing material.. The survey shall be performed by a person who is certified by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and who has taken and passed an EPA-approved Building Inspector course and who conforms to the procedures outlined in the course. The survey shall include sampling and the results of laboratory analysis of the asbestos content of all suspected asbestos-containing materials. This survey shall be made available, upon request by the APCO, prior to the commencement of any RACM removal or any demolition. This subsection shall not apply if the owner or operator asserts that the material to be renovated is RACM and will be handled in accordance with the provisions of Sections 11-2-303, 304 and 401. The requirement for certification by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health shall not apply to in-house health professionals within a specific non-asbestos related company who perform occasional surveys only for that company as part of their regular job responsibilities.

303.8.1 When a structure, or portion thereof, is demolished under an ordered demolition, the survey must be done prior to, during, or after the demolition but prior to loading or removal of any demolition debris. If the debris contains regulated asbestos-containing material, all of the debris shall be treated as asbestos-containing waste material pursuant to Section 11-2-304.

303.8.2 For renovation or demolition of residential buildings having four or fewer dwelling units, a survey is not required. A sample and test of the material will be required only when any of the following will be removed or disturbed: heating, ventilation, air conditioning ducting and systems; acoustic ceiling material or acoustic plaster; textured or skim coated wall surfaces, cement siding or stucco, or resilient flooring. Where the material if found to contain greater than 1 percent asbestos and is friable, the material must be handled in accordance with Section 11-2-303.


Explanation of "Trace" Materials:

On occasion, the laboratory reports a "trace" of asbestos. The term "trace" simply means that one or more asbestos fibers were detected, generally greater than 0.1% but in concentrations less than 1%.

By all relevant federal standards (EPA, NESHAPS, AHERA, Federal OSHA), the definition of asbestos includes qualifying phrases such as, "manufactured materials containing greater than 1% asbestos by weight". "Trace" material, only if verified by Point Count Analysis, would not be considered asbestos under these standards.

Cal-OSHA, has accepted the new federal definition of asbestos, however has held that materials greater than 1/10th of 1% (0.1%) still require special consideration. This means that if you plan on having a contractor perform work on this material, that contractor would be required to be registered with Cal-OSHA, and maintain appropriate asbestos abatement licensing even though the Cal-OSHA mandated procedures for Class I, II, III or IV abatement work are not required.

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