Services Utilized
Asbestos Abatement | Lead Abatement

The Challenge

The West Valley College Library modernization project in Saratoga sought to renovate a one-story library building, reorganizing its interiors, improving accessibility and updating the structure. PALS was responsible for hazardous materials abatement and site clearance to pave the way for the soft demo of the building. The initial work included the remediation of diverse materials within drywall, adhesives, pipes, windows and the roof, as well as freon extraction and other yet unidentified hazards. The idea was to clean everything so the soft demo contractor could bring the library down to its shell and then build it up again.

About 2/3rds of the way through the project — with a 12-man crew working hard to make up for previous delays created by another party — it was determined that there was asbestos in the fireproofing throughout the building. This immediately halted the project as it created potential exposure to hazardous materials for dozens of trades who were doing a variety of work on the project. After extended testing, the college determined that they had to remove all the fireproofing.

Unexpectedly and suddenly, the scope of work for this remediation had grown to now include cleaning the structural steel beams and corrugated decking of all the fireproofing material. To add to the matter, concerns then grew that there might be lead in the primer on the beams.

The Solution

Fireproofing is not common in today’s buildings, so it was PALS’ long-term experience that enabled them to find a proper abatement process to complete the job safely. The cleaning was very technical and labor-intensive work, and PALS had to double their crew to get the required job done. They had to scrape off the fireproofing from all surfaces, power wash it, capture all the water run-off and get it down to its bare structure.

The concerns over the presence of lead necessitated the removal of all primer on the beams using caustic paste. Given that the 65,000 sq. ft. library was so vast, the PALS team segregated the job into four distinct containment areas, tackling the fireproofing removal and then circling back to chemically strip the lead-containing primer from the structural beams.

These drastic changes in the renovation project required extensive changes to the original estimate while the work was ongoing. However, to make it all go seamlessly, PALS openly collaborated with the general contractor to redo the pricing and qualifications, as well as troubleshoot a solution without hindering the West Valley College Library’s modernization.

PALS received stellar feedback for their responsiveness to every setback and new discovery, finding solutions and adding labor to get the job done. Few remediation companies would have the knowledge to troubleshoot the escalating situation and work collaboratively with the consultant and construction manager to help them understand the complexity and variety of solutions, and then implement them successfully.