The discovery of hazardous materials in a building – especially one used by the public – can create anxiety and confusion in determining the best route to address the problem. There are issues of logistics, building use, liability, regulatory compliance and, of course, cost.
Here in New York, the range of companies that offer abatement or remediation services is so varied that wading through the options presents yet another layer of complexity. As a business with over three decades of hazardous material detection, eradication planning and solution monitoring, we’ve worked with just about every abatement company in the New York Area which puts us in a unique position to offer some perspective on what characteristics generally elevate an abatement company to the top of the pack.
When hiring an abatement or remediation company, we advise our clients to evaluate candidate companies based on the following
- Sufficient Experience – there is a learning curve in this business; a company that has been operating for less than five years more than likely hasn’t climbed that curve yet. This is especially important if you think there is something uniquely challenging about the circumstances associated with your situation.
- Owner/Partner Participation – after their owners or partners deliver cost estimates for projects, many abatement companies hire subcontractors to do the actual work. Our experience is that jobs always go better when the owners or operators take an active role in the work.
- Provides a Variety of Services – Is the company qualified (and certified!) to do abatement for substances beyond the issue at hand. More often than not, especially in older buildings, the presence of one substance is not isolated and indicates other substances may be at hand. Being certified for multiple substances increases efficiency.
- Amply Insured – Does the company have solid insurance coverage beyond meeting the legal requirements? If their policy doesn’t include pollution and errors/omissions coverage, their mistakes could become your (significant) problems.
- Recommends Second Party Job Clearance – this may seem self-serving but it’s without a doubt a best practice. Make sure the company you hire to remove the hazardous material is not the same company you’ve hired to detect the problem and then monitor the removal. If your abatement company is also responsible for monitoring the abatement, it’s somewhat akin to “the fox guarding the henhouse”, as we like to say.
If you are interested in a second opinion on this topic, the Environmental Protection Agency has a nice post on their website about this. If you’d like to discuss your potential hazardous material situation, contact us for a non-obligation consultation.