Client: Confidential Client 
Location: Markham, Ontario



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 following outlined the key logistical requirements:

  • Review all existing DSHMS surveys and determine requirements for updating reports (without duplicating samples collected during previous surveys).
  • Approximately 70% of the buildings had previously been surveyed. XCG reviewed all existing reports and prepared tables and figures documenting previously sampled materials for use by the field technicians completing the new surveys. Any areas that were tested adequately in the previous reports underwent a re-assessment rather than a re-survey (i.e. primarily visual observations to determine any changes in condition since the previous survey date, rather than sample collection and analyses). However, XCG determined that many of the existing survey reports did not include adequate paint samples from interior and exterior locations, and almost none of the previous floor tile samples had been analyzed using the client preferred quantitative transmission electron microscopy (TEM) method. Therefore, many of the “re-surveys” became almost full surveys.
  • Coordinate field survey schedule with tenants of each of the 145 residential buildings with assistance from the property manager acting on behalf of the facilities owner.
  • Field schedules were planned one to two weeks in advance of conducting field work and were scheduled to allow sufficient time to complete each survey. The property manager contacted each tenant and XCG and COLE confirmed that field technicians would be on-site at the schedule time. Several unoccupied “abandoned” buildings were also included in the survey and access was coordinated with the property manager to remove locked gates and boarded doors and windows.
  • Record keeping to accurately record observations and sample locations so that they could be readily found and resampled if needed in the future.
  • XCG and COLE developed a consistent sample code for identification of distinct material types and photographed each location and material sampled.
  • Establish a DSHMS report format for consistent reporting for each of the 145 properties.
  • XCG prepared a report template for initial client review to establish a generic template for all reports to follow. This allowed for consistent reporting by XCG and COLE for all sites. Report template changes were tracked throughout the reporting process, so that all reports would be revised and edited in a consistent manner.
  • Client communication to ensure scope changes, budget changes, and tenant concerns were addressed quickly.
  • Mr. Dale White (Project Manager) and Ms. Cameron (Project Coordinator) maintained regular contact with the client project managers. Periodic conference calls were held to discuss project progress and field concerns, and to address tenant concerns when raised. Budget tracking and control was required to ensure that changes in budget could be identified well in advance. Detailed monthly reporting and budget tracking was prepared and submitted to the client. A detailed summary of scope change was provided to the government agency following assessment and identification of the requirement for additional “full” surveys where previous reports did not have sufficient samples to meet the scope of the current assignment.


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.

Project Gallery – Click an image to enlarge.

Pam Cameron
Pam CameronBusiness Group Leader / Senior Project Manager


Contact Pam for help with your Site Assessment, Remediation, and/or Risk Assessment related project.