How Much Does Commercial Asbestos Abatement Cost?

Due to its excellent heat resistant properties, strong tensile fibers and being abundantly cheap, manufacturing companies used asbestos in many building materials from the 1930s to the 1970s. Attic/piping insulation, floor tiles, paper products and even wall paint and coverings frequently contained asbestos.

By the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had largely banned the usage of asbestos due to its dangerous, carcinogenic properties. The primary risk of exposure to asbestos is to the respiratory system when asbestos-containing products are in a dry, crumbly state or are damaged and become airborne.

The microscopic asbestos fibers can essentially float in the air for hours until a human inhales them. The scary part is that most people exposed don’t realize it until 20 to 30 years after they develop asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma (a cancer of the mesothelium), lung cancer or even asbestosis (scarring of the lung due to high doses).

Read on to learn more about commercial asbestos abatement cost, the abatement process, and several important considerations you’ll need to know.


The building owner should confirm the presence of asbestos before jumping into any abatement work. This involves a hazmat survey performed by trained and licensed specialists. If the building materials come back positive for asbestos, you’ll have to abate it.

In some situations, you could potentially encapsulate it, leaving it in place—or you could also ‘manage’ it if the building material is in decent condition and you are able to periodically inspect it for damage. For example, let’s say you have asbestos in your church floor tiles and they’re in decent physical condition (no cracking, broken off pieces).

You could leave them in place assuming no renovations would cause their disturbance, and obviously, you’d want to alert any maintenance workers so they can take proper precautions.

Asbestos in a Commercial Building

Read More: Do I Need to Survey for Asbestos Material in my Commercial Property?

Commercial Asbestos Remediation

Before any work begins, you’ll need to notify the state if you live in Virginia or Maryland. They reserve the right to send someone out to inspect the project—and they often do. You might also need to obtain permits from local or state authorities.

Some types of asbestos are more harmful than others (crumbly, friable asbestos on piping or as a spray on material has a greater potential to impact human health than solid transite siding on a building). Depending on the project, there are different rules and procedures to follow. Everyone involved in the abatement process gets suited up from head to toe in protective clothing, including respiratory protection to prevent inhalation of asbestos fibers.

A specialist called an industrial hygienist will often take air samples throughout the abatement process to ensure that the workers are protected and the removed asbestos remains in an area that is physically contained so as not to cross contaminate other portions of the building. This containment area will be placed under negative pressure to further protect cross contamination using box-like air machines equipped with HEPA filters. The abatement crew will cordon off the area with plastic barriers and brightly colored tape to ensure someone doesn’t accidentally walk into the zone.

After the Project

Once the abatement process is complete, the technicians will provide a closure report of what they removed and detailed notes on anything significant that the workers found. The company that initially performed the hazmat survey will often come back and compile the close-out report to attest that everything went according to plan, and that the air quality in the containment area is considered safe.

Many variables can affect the cost of the project, such as:

  • Square footage of the affected area — larger spaces means longer time spent abating.
  • Accessibility issues — is the area easily accessible, or will we need to put in scaffolding to access ceilings or ductwork that will trigger additional OSHA regulations such as fall protection? Will the project need to be conducted in phases or can the entire space be abated at once?
  • Disposal fees — we can’t toss asbestos containing material in the nearby dumpster—we are required to double bag it, and carry it out by hand to a designated roll-off and then dispose of it properly.
  • Building-specific costs — If you own an apartment building and want to remediate three units, you won’t be able to rent those rooms out until the process is safely completed—that’s lost income. Also, shutting down the HVAC system (considered a critical barrier) may impact the cost, especially if other units are interconnected.
  • The type of asbestos — friable asbestos (dry, crumbly) typically located on piping and/or as a decorative surfacing is inherently more dangerous as an inhalation hazard, and could impact the costs. For example, ‘popcorn’ ceiling material and industrial piping insulation are considered friable.
  • Other factors — A recent project that we performed for the government had an interconnected sprinkler system in the abatement area. We first had to isolate it, or we risked flooding the entire building. We ultimately needed to hire extra workers to perform a 24/7 fire watch to safeguard the facility.

Asbestos removal

Benefits of Working with TEC for Asbestos Abatement

At Total Environmental Concepts (TEC), we’re a full-service environmental consulting and asbestos remediation firm that’s been around since 2000. One of the biggest differentiators is that we also inspect, survey and test for asbestos (as well as lead, mold and other commercial/industrial contaminants) employing industrial hygienists and environmental scientists. So, we know precisely what the inspectors/surveyors are looking for when they perform their inspections. We bring this additional level of expertise and value to any job we perform.

Our workers are professional, highly skilled, trained, and certified. They update their certifications annually in each jurisdiction they work. VA, MD, and DC have their own licensure—this means we’re licensed and able to work in all three jurisdictions.

Transparency is another one of our biggest strengths. Over the years, we’ve come across many clients who were previously advised by another firm to perform a huge and very costly abatement project that wasn’t needed. In those situations, we’ve consulted with those clients as to how they could manage the issue without undergoing an unnecessary abatement ordeal.

Asbestos Abatement Company in VA, MD, and D.C.

For many commercial building owners, the fear of the unknown causes them to put off asbestos abatement. Once you fully understand the process, the less of a burden it becomes, and you know what you need to do to get it done and over with.

Click below to learn more about our asbestos abatement services.