Owners and developers put themselves at risk if they do not take proper steps to assess and manage hazardous materials in their occupied buildings or properly remove them before a renovation or demolition project begins.

Are there asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your building? Lead-bearing paints? Mercury- or PCB-containing electrical equipment, now or in the past? If so, is the building occupied or going to be occupied? Is it going to be renovated or demolished? If the answer to either of the last two questions is yes, you need SME’s hazardous materials experts and accredited management planners, project designers, inspectors and abatement contractor supervisors on your team. We work with our clients to develop solutions for assessing and estimating quantities of hazardous materials; evaluating exposure and regulatory risks; providing opinions of probable costs; designing and monitoring abatement and remediation programs; and managing regulated hazardous materials and wastes to satisfy federal, state and local regulatory requirements.


SME conducts hazardous materials assessments for the hazardous materials that impact building use, renovation or demolition. We conduct the level of assessment, from visual screening to regulatory-mandated sampling and analysis programs to optimally meet project objectives. These assessments let us determine if hazardous substances are present and in what quantities, and then develop options and costs for management or removal. Our goal is to help our clients make informed business decisions considering cost, schedule and regulatory requirements.


SME can efficiently and effectively assess and estimate quantities of the hazardous materials present in your facility, whether it’s vacant or operational or prior to renovation or demolition, to locate materials that can present challenges if not addressed in advance. Regardless of the situation, proper identification and management of these materials is critical.

SME’s Hazardous Materials Specialists work with owners and prospective owners in support of real estate transactions, building renovation/demolition projects, facility closures, site development/redevelopment projects, and ongoing risk management activities in occupied facilities and vacant buildings, to assess the presence and quantities of hazardous materials and releases from those materials. The presence of hazardous materials, such as asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), lead-bearing paints/coatings, polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), mercury-containing equipment, radioactive materials and potential biological contaminants can pose a threat to occupants of existing facilities, add complications and costs to building renovation or demolition projects, and present potential regulatory violation risks for owners. Upon completion of the assessments, SME prepares detailed reports that include a summary of the types and quantities of materials assessed, recommendations for abatement/remediation, and/or options for long-term management; regulatory compliance analyses; and opinions of costs; depending on project objectives.

Asbestos-Containing Materials

Our professionals are trained and accredited to conduct building assessments, in compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and state requirements and regulations to locate, sample, estimate quantities, and assess the condition of ACMs. SME’s accredited Inspectors collect bulk samples to characterize suspect building materials and wastes and air and wipe samples to evaluate releases and exposure potentials. We then either perform or have accredited laboratories perform appropriate asbestos identification and quantitation analyses using polarized light microscopy (PLM) or transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analytical methods.

Lead-Bearing Paint (LBP)

SME performs assessments for lead-bearing paints/coatings and assists clients with characterization of proposed waste streams for the paint, as well as coordinating proper abatement and disposal in compliance the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lead standards. When assessing potential lead-bearing paint hazards, SME uses the results of chemical analyses of paint chip samples to assess commercial and industrial facilities and results from on-site x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses and analyses dust wipe samples collected by an accredited Inspector or Risk Assessor for assessments conducted in residential Target Housing or Child-Occupied Facilities. Other assessments SME performs, if warranted, include collecting and analyzing soil samples and inspecting and sampling of a building’s water supply system. SME also performs pre-renovation / demolition screening for LBP and develops abatement programs, plans and specifications and operations and maintenance programs.


The presence of PCBs in electrical equipment or PCB contamination from leaks or spills can create regulatory compliance, management, and/or financial issues. Our environmental professionals have decades of experience helping clients determine if PCBs are present in a facility and then develop the optimal management or remediation strategy. Our thorough understanding of applicable regulatory frameworks and flexibilities mean we collect the right data for the right result. From wipe sampling to concrete core sampling to soil sampling, SME’s experts are experienced using Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and various state assessment protocols and have frequently negotiated EPA approval of alternate, more cost-effective assessment plans through self-implementing and risk-based remediation plans.


SME has extensive experience with mercury contamination. Our hazardous materials specialists provide pre-design assessments to help identify potential problems; mitigation design to facilitate mercury abatement, handling, transportation and disposal; and construction oversight, and the following additional services:

  • Mercury screening and assessment
  • Ambient air evaluation
  • Mercury release investigation and abatement
  • Assessment of mercury contamination in soil
  • Soil remediation plans, remediation monitoring, and removal verification


When it’s time to renovate, demolish or upgrade a building, SME’s hazardous materials professionals are experts at evaluating clients’ goals and then developing optimum abatement designs and specifications, which will safely remove hazardous materials issues from the project’s critical implementation pathways, reduce potential exposures to trades workers and building occupants, and help minimize regulatory risks. SME provides project monitoring services during abatement activities to assess compliance with plans, specifications, and applicable regulations, including direct observation of work areas and air sampling services during and at the conclusion of abatement activities to provide work area clearance.

SME works with building owners and developers to identify appropriate strategies for the complete removal, abatement or encapsulation of hazardous materials for building reuse or demolition. After identifying appropriate strategies, we prepare an abatement design and specifications that define the scope of abatement and the abatement removal practices, abatement schedule, waste disposal technology and abatement verification procedures. The design can also incorporate options and contingencies to be used if unanticipated higher concentrations or wider distributions of the hazardous materials are found, or if other obstacles force changes in the cleanup approach. The scope of available services includes:

  • Abatement plan recommendations and design
  • Regulatory compliance evaluations and programs
  • Preparation of abatement plans, specifications and bidding documents
  • Assistance with bid solicitation and contractor selection
  • Project management and contractor interaction/coordination
  • Site monitoring to verify that work is being completed according to plans
  • Short- and long-term site monitoring after completion of abatement/remediation
  • Review of contractor closeout documentation
  • Preparation of a summary report, including analytical data and contractor closeout documents

Regulatory Compliance

During abatement activities, SME project team members familiar with applicable local, state and federal regulatory requirements monitor the on-site activities and coordinate with contractor supervisory personnel to facilitate compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Regulatory compliance issues include indoor and outdoor air quality; chemical management; physical hazard identification; pollution prevention; storage, removal and disposal of hazardous materials; worker health and safety; and other activities which preserve and protect the surrounding community and the natural environment.

Plans and Specifications

SME prepares abatement plans and specifications to ensure that work is performed in accordance with client needs and regulatory requirements. When preparing an abatement plan for a project, SME considers the client’s needs and cost constraints. We develop drawings to clearly delineate works areas along with a work schedule. Then specifications are developed to provide contractors with required information for bidding and contract negotiation.


SME provides full-time monitoring and inspecting of contractors performing hazardous materials abatement work inside regulated areas. We oversee the scope, timing, phasing and/or remediation methods used, and the completeness of an abatement project to ensure compliance with plan specifications.


SME prepares and provides hazardous material inventories, pre-abatement documentation and approval forms, abatement plans, progress reports, waste disposal and handling reports, and final project reports as required by federal, state and local regulatory agencies that are specific to the relevant asbestos, lead paint, PCBs or mercury abatement program.

Related Services

Service Experts

Daniel R. Cassidy, CPG

Vice President
Environmental Services

View Bio & Contact