Hazardous Material Testing for Asset Retirement Obligations of Buildings

Blog post submitted by Eco Abate Inc. in Calgary

Hazardous Material Testing for Asset Retirement Obligations of Buildings: Understanding the Process and Estimating the Cost

When owning or managing a building, there are many responsibilities that need to be considered. These include the proper handling of hazardous materials. Hazardous materials are substances that can pose a risk to human health and the environment if not managed and disposed of through proper channels. As such, federal and provincial regulators require building owners to conduct hazardous material testing as part of their asset retirement obligations. Additionally, new PS 3280 accounting standards require all Canadian municipalities to estimate and account for the AROs of tangle capital assets, including hazardous materials in buildings.

Asset retirement obligations (AROs) refer to the legal obligation an entity has to retire an asset, such as a building or piece of equipment, at the end of its useful life. AROs are often associated with environmental liabilities such as land reclamation but also include the liability posed by hazardous materials in buildings. As a result, building and property owners must assess and identify any hazardous materials present in the building. The can do this by contacting a hazardous material testing company like Eco Abate Inc. Then, determine the cost of their removal and properly dispose of them to achieve their AROs.

The Process of Hazardous Material Testing

Hazardous material testing is the process of identifying and quantifying hazardous materials in a building, including asbestos, lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mould. This testing is typically performed by a certified environmental consultant or occupational hygienist, who will visit the building and conduct a thorough inspection.

The consultant will visually inspect the building and collect samples of any suspected hazardous materials, such as insulation and paints. These samples are then sent to a laboratory for testing to determine the type and quantity of hazardous components present. Learn more about asbestos testing in Calgary.

The consultant will then prepare a report detailing the testing results and provide recommendations for the management and eventual disposal of any hazardous materials identified. This report is essential for building owners to properly manage their AROs, account for current or future liabilities, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.

Estimating the Cost of Hazardous Material Testing

The cost of hazardous material testing can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the building, the type and quantity of building materials, and the location of the building. However, building owners can estimate the cost of hazardous material testing by considering the following factors:

1. Size of the Building: The larger the building, the more extensive the testing will be, which can increase the cost of testing and inspection.

2. Type and Quantity of Hazardous Materials: Different hazardous materials require different testing methods, and the number of hazardous materials present can affect the analysis cost.

3. Location of the Building: The location of the building can impact the cost of testing, as different regions may incur travel costs, be subject to different regulations, and require specific testing requirements.

4. Consultant Fees: The cost of hiring a certified environmental professional to conduct the testing and prepare the report will vary based on their experience and qualifications.

In general, building owners can expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for hazardous material testing in Calgary for an average commercial or industrial property, depending on the size and complexity of the building and the type of suspected hazardous materials present. However, some facilities, such as multi-story residential or high-rise office buildings, may far exceed this estimate.


Hazardous material testing is a critical component of a building owner’s asset retirement obligations and accounting processes. By properly assessing and identifying any hazardous materials present in the building, owners can ensure compliance with federal and provincial regulations and account for the cost of their removal and disposal in the future. While the cost of testing can vary depending on several factors, building owners can work with a certified environmental professional to develop a hazardous material management plan that meets their AROs and protects the health and safety of their employees and the environment.

For more information, contact Eco Abate Inc.

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