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Multi-Property Designated Substances and Hazardous Materials Survey

XCG Consulting Limited and Cole Engineering Group Ltd. Joint Venture (COLE & XCG JV) were retained by a government agency on behalf of the owner and manager of the facilities to complete Designated Substances and Hazardous Material Surveys (DSHMS), to update the designated substance inventory database, and to serve as a resource for the facilities in the management of their buildings within the project site. DSHMSs were required to be conducted on the residential buildings on 145 properties within the project site. 

Due to the large number of individuals sites, many of which were occupied by tenants, project management and communication between all parties was critical to the project success. XCG’s Mr. Dale White acted as overall Project Manager and Senior Technical Advisor. Ms. Pamela Cameron of XCG acted as Project Coordinator, and field activities and reporting were completed by XCG and COLE staff trained in designated substance sampling and specifically in asbestos sampling protocols. DSHMS surveys were completed at each of the 145 properties, and individual survey reports were prepared for each address. 

The scope of the DSHMS included a visual inspection of building materials and components potentially containing designated substances and hazardous materials. Field personnel collected samples of materials suspected of being asbestos containing and metals (lead/mercury) containing, as required. In addition, a representative number of fluorescent light ballasts (if available) were surveyed to determine the presence and to estimate the number of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing light ballasts, equipment containing halocarbons was identified, and hazardous chemical storage was inventoried in each building. Following completion of each of the individual DSHMS survey report, a single Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) was prepared that applies to all surveyed buildings within the project site, to ensure that asbestos-containing material (ACM) is managed and controlled to reduce the risk of damaging ACM, and potential occupant exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. The project required significant coordination efforts to ensure that all required locations were surveyed, and reporting was completed in the timeline required (approximately 7 months from project authorization). 

The key logistical requirements included:

  •  Review of all existing DSHMS surveys and determination of requirements for updating reports (without duplicating samples collected during previous surveys). 

  • Coordination of a field survey schedule with tenants of each of the 145 residential buildings with assistance from the property manager. 

  • Record keeping to accurately record observations and sample locations so that they could be readily found and resampled if needed in the future. 

  • Establishment of a DSHMS report template format for consistent reporting for each of the 145 properties.

  •  Client communication to ensure scope changes, budget changes, and tenant concerns were addressed quickly. 


The COLE & XCG JV successfully completed the project on budget within the prescribed timeframe (i.e. prior to March 31, 2019). Individual final reports were prepared in electronic and hard copy as required, and a fully compiled Asbestos Management Plan was prepared based on the finalized individual DSHMS reports. All draft and final reports were reviewed by the government agency prior to acceptance.

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