Designated Substances Survey

A Designated Substances Survey (DSS) is most often requested for due-diligence purposes prior to planned renovation or demolition of a building. As an owner, the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires that potentially dangerous “designated substances” are identified at your property or within your building. One of the first things a Ministry of Labour inspector visiting a construction site might request to see is a DSS report. For all practicable purposes, a DSS is synonymous with a Hazardous Building Materials Assessment (HBMA).

Selected substances that have been “designated” in Ontario include:

  • Acrylonitrile
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Coke oven emissions
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Isocyanates
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Silica
  • Vinyl chloride

The following designated substances are most commonly encountered in non-industrial settings:

  • Asbestos in building materials
  • Lead in paint applications, concrete, mortar and piping
  • Mercury in thermometers, pressure gauges, electrical switches and relays
  • Silica in concrete, masonry, stone, and boiler refractory

Ontario Regulation 490/09 requires that a list of all designated substances at a project site be provided to all bidders at the tendering stage. A DSS identifies the designated substances present, their locations, and concentrations. Ontario Regulation 278/05 pertains specifically to asbestos on construction projects and in buildings and repair operations. The information provided in DSS allows contractors involved in demolition or renovation activities to take appropriate steps to control exposure of the designated substances that are present to workers and the general public.

A survey for the following hazardous materials is also routinely included Premier’s DSS:

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fluorescent light fixtures and ballasts, and transformers and other electrical equipment
  • Mould contaminated building materials
  • Ozone depleting substances (ODS) in heating a cooling appliances and equipment

The survey can also be expanded to include potentially hazardous substances such as radioactive materials, and Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI).

Premier’s standard DSS includes the following main elements:

  • Site visit to complete a visual inspection of all readily accessible building areas to identify and delineate materials and equipment potentially containing designated substances or hazardous materials
  • Sample collection for analysis by an accredited laboratory
  • Preparation of a summary report containing:
    • Floorplans depicting the locations of all materials and samples collected
    • Laboratory certificates of analysis
    • Photographic log
    • Regulatory overview
    • General recommendations and reporting of quantities if applicable

Premier’s team of qualified building assessors have completed surveys in all size and type of building, from single-family homes to high-rise office buildings, or industrial facilities such as paper mills. We have the capacity to survey your portfolio of buildings across Canada quickly and efficiently, and we will provide a Senior Professional to be a single point of contact for all properties.

When requesting a DSS, be sure to specify whether destructive sampling is possible. Additional materials are often identified when surveyors are able to view behind enclosed wall or ceiling spaces, and this can reduce the occurrence of unforeseen complications after construction has begun.

Contact Us today to learn more about our Designated Substances Survey Services.