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Ask Abby

Ask Abby

Ask Abby!Abby is a six-year old Golden Retriever and an important member of our staff! We know that life is short and construction is hard – but there is nothing wrong with a little levity, right? So, if you have a question or concern regarding the environmental industry – please contact Abby and she will answer your question. Each quarter a winning question will be drawn and a prize awarded to that person. Clients, subcontractors and vendors are welcome to participate. Call us at 800.453.2965 or email your question to field@balestrierigroup.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read Abby's Bio


Commercial sUAV (Drone) usage is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For a business to use their sUAV for commercial purposes, the Remote Pilot in Command must be commercially trained by a certified flight instructor and receive a FAA Airman Certificate. There must also be a visual observer assisting the person in control of the drone. These requirements are listed in the Federal Code of Regulations.

Balestrieri has positioned itself in the forefront of commercial Real-Time Aerial Imagery with FAA Certified Airmen on our team. Prior to each flight, our pilots are in contact with aeronautical services forecasting weather conditions and reviewing airspace requirements.

By the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) standards, every school must have an Asbestos Management Plan in place, requiring that you document the materials containing or presumably containing asbestos.

Every six months, there must be a condition inspection of the materials in question. Full documentation must be updated and sent to the proper governing agency on an annual basis.

If you are considering a demolition/renovation project, you must have your facility inspected and all concerns documented before any work begins. Once the inspection is complete, give Balestrieri a call to perform your abatement service to ensure safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

The Wisconsin Asbestos Conference is open to anyone who would like to attend, and we applaud you for continuing to educate yourself on potential work hazards.  We all need to work as safely as we can and having a good knowledge base eliminates unnecessary risks to ourselves and those around us, not to mention our environment.  Balestrieri is very active in promoting and participating in this annual event and we have been setting this day aside as a company training day throughout our 25 years of business. Click here for more information on the Wisconsin Asbestos Conference and to register for this year’s event. We look forward to seeing you December 9, 2016 at the Kalahari: Resorts and Conventions Center in the Wisconsin Dells.

No, you would not have to remove all of the walls, especially if it is not the goal of the hospital to have an asbestos free floor. The walls that are to remain in place can do so with the tile in place beneath them. This would require the hospital to keep documentation of the asbestos containing tiles should future renovations require those walls be removed. Another option that can prove to be more cost-effective is to let our team provide a turn-key selective interior demolition and abatement of the floor tiles at the same time. That way all of the tiles, even the ones under the walls to remain, can be safely removed utilizing the skill and innovation of our multi-disciplined team. Please review the many services Balestrieri has to offer and contact us to see how we can help.

The answer is definitely “no” if the materials are in good condition. Knowledge dissipates fear and the result is a more safety conscious employee.

Having your maintenance personnel, or anyone that may disturb asbestos-containing materials, pass a 2-Hour Asbestos Awareness Course is money and time well spent.

In a 2 Hour Awareness Course, employees are trained to recognize products that are typically asbestos-containing, the health effects of exposure to asbestos, and when to be concerned about the condition of the materials or cleaning up when damage has occurred. Most importantly, they are trained to maintain the materials using good housekeeping practices rather than methods that may be damaging them to the point that removal is required. Another bonus - it may save all that time you would spend sitting in meetings with OSHA.

Learn more about “The Importance of 2-Hour Asbestos Awareness Training” by joining our Project Manager/Regulatory Specialist, Beth Nethery, at the PFMA (Plant Facility Maintenance Association) Expo at the State Fair Grounds in West Allis, Wisconsin. Visit our website or PFMA to view the details of this upcoming presentation on Thursday, March 10, from 12:30-1:30pm in conference area 2.

Just for background information I will provide a simplified version of the federal rules that require K-12 schools to have an Asbestos Management Plan in place. The plan requires schools to have documentation of the presence or presumed presence of asbestos containing materials. They then perform a surveillance of the condition of those materials every six months with full documentation updated every three years submitting their reports to the respective governing agency on an annual basis. Schools must assure that this report is available to anyone in the school district for review.  While asbestos abatement work is in progress, a heavy poly containment isolates the work zone. No one is allowed to enter this regulated area except the authorized personnel or regulators. The air is tested by an industrial hygienist before, during and after the work is completed to confirm that the abatement did not leave abated asbestos fibers in the air prior to reoccupation. Balestreiri "is the go to" company for many schools because they can count on our team to take the utmost care while working in their facilities.

Learn more about the Abatement Services offered by Balestrieri

My best advice is to utilize a well-established turn-key environmental firm who is as invested in your project and the City of Milwaukee as you are. Balestrieri has a proven track record of being the company many building owners, developers, consultants, and contractors turn to because of their extensive knowledge and experience with the restoration process.

Each building has its own unique challenging characteristics to overcome during the restoration process, and Balestrieri will stand behind their clients to achieve the desired results. By joining your project team, Balestrieri is also investing in your project. Balestrieri will bring back new life to your building by revealing the beauty to old fading wood, steel, brick, and concrete (please see picture at right and on our website). The City of Milwaukee is also our city and the goal is to keep the positive momentum moving forward with the rejuvenation of Milwaukee!

Balestrieri loves to see buildings for what they are.

One thing we take pride in is the extent of training our team participates in to meet client expectations. We are aware that the healthcare environment has very specialized requirements for working within the closely monitored facility walls. We become part of YOUR customer service and satisfaction effort when we step in the door. A readily visible badge easily identifies all of our crews at all times. We provide our team with yearly training in infection control practices to identify potential health hazards to patients and to themselves. We review guidelines for working in close vicinity to healthcare staff and patients, being mindful of noises and cleanliness. Our projects often involve innovative scheduling and use of containments to avoid compromising the full use of surrounding rooms and corridors, providing the means to ensure patient care can remain the utmost priority for everyone. Please take some time to review our many services and previous projects featured on our website's Services page. Our project administration team is ready to make your job easier today!

You bet! For 23 years Balestrieri has seen plenty of projects stop before they even get started due to poor planning where the environmental element is concerned. Knowing the correct way to manage the project at the front end can provide cost-saving measures to our clients by combining this work in a sequence under one contract (i.e. Balestrieri’s turn-key approach) rather than working out of sequence due to multiple contractors working around one another. We can help you eliminate your liabilities before they eliminate your progress! Learn more about our services.

We certainly are and our team was not at all intimidated when requests to join “contractor management databases” began to come in.  Because we have been completing so many individual prequalification forms over the years, we found it advantageous to compile a one-stop resource to streamline the sharing of our information and that has put us ahead of the game. This forward thinking is what makes our company the one to turn to when your reputation is important. It is not all about having a great safety record (but it certainly helps that we do), it is also about understanding the importance of having a company on board that fulfills all the necessary requirements. You need to count on us to be able to pass the stringent requirements of being on your preferred and qualified vendor list. We are willing to go the extra mile to be a part of the best teams. A couple of the more prominent sites we have joined are ISNetworld and PICS.

Learn more about our Online Contractor Management Programs.

This is a terrific question and one I am very proud to say I have the answer for. Our team has been working with clients such as yours with wonderful old buildings just waiting for transformation. It is a great idea to have us in on the ground floor before making major renovation decisions because we know that the surface, age and condition of building materials can often alter the vision and the anticipated end results clients have. We have developed – and might I say perfected – some removal methods that are quite effective and can also be environmentally safe. Based on our experience, we know it is important to present several test spots that offer the client choices based on their budget, historical requirements or even a final aesthetic appearance they hadn’t considered.

I have been amazed at the ingenuity of our team to suggest the reuse of building components that everyone was ready to throw out, simply because we can bring new life to old materials. I think the key to any undertaking like this is to consider the proof of experience, safety record and professionalism our team can bring to your project. You can find out more on the topic by following the tabs in our website or paste the following link into your browser and see for yourself. We look forward to hearing more about your project after you have seen our results.

Learn more about the services Balestrieri offers.

You made the smartest move of all. You found our website and have contacted a knowledgeable, experienced team of people to help you. Our team shares a combined wealth of knowledge on several environmental fronts. We can help you decipher what regulations are of immediate concern relative to the work you are performing now and those that you should be aware of should a larger scale project arise. We also provide access to sources from which to obtain training, remediation, abatement and more. We are always available by phone for you.
In addition, we highly recommend joining us at the Wisconsin Asbestos Conference on Friday, December 9, 2016, held at Kalahari in the Wisconsin Dells. The cost is a reasonable $30 per person for the entire day, which includes a number of industry specific seminars, lunch and a chance to meet up with our team in person. Our company feels it is very important to actively participate in promoting and supporting the event every year. Please follow this link to learn more and register for the conference.

I am so glad you asked about this. We have been called to several sites where barns have been torn down by people assuming they are not regulated in any way. Barns are, in fact, a regulated facility by the DNR. Farms are a business, and therefore the barns, chicken houses, and even the home itself are part of the business and fall under the commercial rules established by NESHAP regulations. The barn would require a full pre-demolition asbestos inspection, WDNR notification with payment of appropriate fees, and if needed, abatement by a DHS licensed Wisconsin Abatement Company. Barns often have asbestos containing transite boards on the exterior and interior, caulk and glazing on the window and door openings, and pipe insulation to name just a few typical building materials. Universal and hazardous waste must also be addressed before the demolition leaves a pile of waste that the landfill will not accept. One other thing to keep in mind, intentional burning of farm buildings as a means for demolition is prohibited. We would be more than happy to guide you through the steps to keep a simple project from turning complex.

Learn more about the services Balestrieri offers.

Very timely question – and one that we hear often! Our crews have been meticulously trained and carry a wealth of experience setting up poly-sheet containments that withstand negative air pressure in challenging locations. This means that the containment has more air pulling out of the containment than air coming in. The air, along with any dust, is sucked through High Efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPA) and exhausted to the outside. This set up also helps with odor elimination when chemicals are in use. Many of our clients have locations with highly sensitive equipment running and have zero tolerance for dust. We can partner with you to keep the project moving along. Please visit our website under Particulate Dust Containments for more information and then call us to run your ideas past one of our knowledgeable Project Managers.

I commend your company for placing safety at the forefront. By going to our website tab About Us > Safety you will find EMR information under the first paragraph heading 2014-2015 Mod Rate. We are very proud of our team achieving an impressive .80 EMR going into 2014-2015. If you need more statistics on our company’s safety history, we are always glad to share it with you. Also, if you have project specific concerns, feel free to contact our Field Safety Manager, Stephen Jandrowski, during the planning stage and avoid overlooking a costly safety issue.

We have a link within the Projects tab of our website for many of the projects we have been a part of. Whether it was an abatement project, demolition project, interior demolition, historic renovation or full demolition you will find pictures with an overview of the project and challenges we overcame. We would also be more than happy to discuss your project at the start. This may help you avoid project delays that many contractors encounter due to asbestos and lead regulations they may have overlooked. You may also consider joining us at the annual Wisconsin Asbestos Conference on December 9, 2016 to gather helpful information from the speakers and meet our team and the state regulators in person.

Thank you for the great question. It is so important to reduce our environmental footprint these days, so we also like to consider this option when proposing projects for our clients. Clean concrete can easily be used for all types of recycling. Painted concrete on the other hand needs to pass certain requirements and potentially requires a written exemption or approval first. The most important element to consider is whether there is lead bearing paint on the concrete. If your structure was built before 1978 and you intend to use the concrete for fill, aggregate, or concrete to concrete recycling, it must be tested for the presence of lead. Please follow our Resources link to the WDNR “Concrete Recycling and Disposal Fact Sheet” form WA-605 2004 for more guidance. It is helpful even if your project is not in Wisconsin.

Our website is an excellent source for you. We have links to the state regulations under our Resources tab (see General Resources). A retail store would be a WDNR regulated facility and would require a full pre-construction/renovation inspection prior to disturbing any building materials. This is very important to do before you let anyone salvage the materials inside, regardless if they are ornamental or structural. You may also consider joining us at the annual Wisconsin Asbestos Conference on December 9, 2016 to gather helpful information from the speakers and meet the state regulators in person.

Unfortunately no; the EPA through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health Services will require notification. Your project is considered “regulated” by the WDNR because it is over 260 lineal feet/160 square feet/35 cubic feet of removal. A notification needs to be filed with the WDNR along with a fee and you must allow for a 10-working day waiting period. You can find links to both department regulations (NR447 and DHS 159) in our Resources section under General Resources.

We hear this same concern quite often from home owners. If the siding is in good condition it can be left as is for many more years. It sounds as though there may be small damaged areas that should be replaced if there is a chance they may further degrade or fall out. A non-asbestos caulk may be used to fix a split and seal up the exposed edges or if you can find a suitable non-asbestos replacement piece that would be a good solution as well.

When planning to disturb any of the shingles, attention needs to be paid to how the transite is handled - avoid cutting, sawing, grinding or drilling as this will cause the material to release fibers. Transite is a material that does not easily become “friable”, in other words pulverized by hand pressure, so it is not as much of an asbestos concern as pipe insulation can be. It is recommended that the transite be removed rather than covered by a new layer of siding. The method of attaching new siding as well as the typical wiring installation or insulation activities performed by contractors  or home owners would render it to be in a friable state. Protective measures need to be taken when doing so, such as - but not limited to - keeping the material wet, wearing a respirator (not a dust mask) and working with HEPA vac equipped tools.

A sample of the material for the presence of asbestos fibers may put your mind at ease. You may want to request sampling prior to making the purchase of the home and write some contingencies into the purchase offer for removal. Good luck with your endeavor!

Learn more about the services Balestrieri offers.

The age of a building does not exclude it from the requirements of chapter NR 447, Wis. Adm. Code. A building being demolished or renovated must be inspected regardless of age. Asbestos containing building materials are still made and available. Furthermore, the reuse of materials also increases the possibility that asbestos containing materials may be in a newer building.
Additional information on asbestos abatement can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Demo/AsbestosFAQ.html#a02.

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