General FAQ

What payment methods are accepted?

Cash, cheque and Interac e-Transfer. We also accept payments by Visa or Mastercard, except for certain soil tests.

When can you come to do the test?

We can usually do most tests within 1 to 3 business days after booking. Sometimes we manage to come the same day. Please see the section for the concerned test for more details as certain soil tests require longer turnaround times.

When is the test payable?

At the latest when our team is on site to collect the samples, except for certain soil tests for which a deposit is payable in advance.

Are your tests recognized and certified?

Yes. All of our laboratory analysis are performed by scientists who are members of their respective professional order and follow applicable protocols and methods.

What are your business hours?

Our business hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Are your reports confidential?

Yes.

FAQ on pyrite testing

What does pyrite testing involve?

Pyrite testing consists in taking a sample of backfill (crushed stone) from under the concrete slabs (floor) to determine whether there is a potential for swelling that could result in damage to the building. In applicable cases, we also check whether the concrete slab is affected by sulfation and whether the natural soil on which the building was constructed has a potential for pyrite-related swelling.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. We will contact you the business day before the test to confirm an appointment time.

How long will your technicians be on site?

Our technicians will be on site for around 45 minutes for 1 sample and 1 hour and 15 minutes for 2 samples.

A pyrite test has already been done on my house. is it worth getting another test?

In most cases, no. It may be worthwhile to have another test done in specific cases. Please call us if necessary.

My house was built in 1999. is there a risk?

Yes! Pyrite testing concerns all properties—including those built after 1999—as the National Building Code does not require builders to use non-swelling backfill (also referred to as “DB certified backfill”). For residential buildings constructed after January 1, 2016, please consult the “LEARN MORE” section in the pyrite testing section.

Is it noisy?

It is no noisier than a powerful vacuum cleaner.

What is your report’s validity period?

We will keep your report for 25 years. The Petrographic Swelling Potential Indicator (PSPI) will not change over time, but it is possible that damages may appear or evolve.

Do you repair the hole made for the test?

The concrete slab is immediately repaired using cement. However, subfloors will not be repaired if we must drill into them.

What is the ideal swelling index (PSPI)?

A Petrographic Swelling Potential Index (PSPI) score of 10 or less indicates that no swelling of backfill is expected, while an PSPI score of 11 or more indicates a possibility of varying pyrite-related damages.

Does the test cause dust or pollution?

No. The concrete drill is electric and does not produce dust. The premises stay clean.

I have a nice hardwood floor. where are you going to drill?

If the concrete slab is not accessible, we can drill in less visible locations such as inside a wardrobe, under a stove, etc.

Do you carry out remediation work if the test result is positive?

We do not perform this type of work. However, we can refer you to contractors if necessary.

FAQ on asbestos materials testing

What does asbestos testing involve?

Technical evaluation is performed in accordance with the analytical method prescribed in Québec—method 244 of the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) for materials and method 198.4 of the Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) for resilient floorings. The evaluation consists in determining whether asbestos fibres are present in the samples submitted for analysis.

  • Sampling: Using protective equipment, the Multitest technician carefully takes a number of samples (according to the type of material) from one or more homogeneous sampling areas. The technician writes down his observations and notes the location of the samples on a diagram. This document will be included in the final report.
  • Laboratory analysis: The chemist determines whether the tested material contains asbestos.
  • Written report: Multitest provides a summary report that includes our recommendations, the laboratory certificate of analysis and our sampling report.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. We will contact you the business day before the test to confirm an appointment time.

How long will your technician be on site?

It takes about 10 minutes for each sample (for example, 30 minutes for 3 samples).

Is there a risk to my health when the sample is taken?

No.

What is the acceptable percentage of asbestos?

Less than 0.1%.

If asbestos is present in the tested material, does it pose a health hazard?

Asbestos is a health hazard when fibres detach from materials (become airborne). If the fibres are inhaled they enter the respiratory system and can cause serious health issues after several years (asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, etc.). Airborne asbestos fibres are 400 to 2,000 times thinner than a human hair and are invisible to the naked eye.

Materials containing asbestos could have health consequences if work (maintenance, repair, renovation, demolition, etc.) or their condition is likely to result in dust being produced by these materials through direct or indirect action. Health Canada notes on its web site that materials containing asbestos do not pose a significant health risk if they are in good condition and no work is planned.

Am i required to remove asbestos-containing materials from my building?

No, there is no law requiring the removal of such materials if they are in good condition.

How many samples have to be analyzed?

The number of samples to be analyzed to confirm the absence of asbestos in a material likely to contain it depends on the type of material concerned.

Thus, for on-site mixed materials such as walls made of plaster/cement, joint compound, cement parging or mortar, the CNESST requires 9 negative samples from each homogeneous sampling area (also called zone presenting similarities of construction) in order to conclude that such area is free of asbestos and that work likely to generate dust does not have to be carried out under asbestos removal conditions.

In the case of manufactured materials such as resilient floorings, acoustic tiles (suspended ceiling) or roof shingles, the CNESST requires only 1 sample of each model and each brand.

Different quantities of samples are required for other materials such as lagging (also called heat insulation on pipes and equipment). Please contact us as needed.

For further details, please consult the following free online guide:

  • Gestion sécuritaire de l’amiante by CNESST (available in French only).

How should i take the sample?

We do not recommend taking samples yourself. However, if you decide to do so, please contact us for the recommended method and precautions.

Do you carry out remediation work if the test result is positive?

We do not perform this type of work. However, we can refer you to contractors if necessary.

FAQ on vermiculite testing

What does vermiculite testing involve?

Vermiculite insulation (marketed from 1920 to 1990 mainly under the Zonolite brand), which was used primarily in attics, could contain asbestos fibres that are hazardous to health. Click here for further details about vermiculite testing.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. We will contact you the business day before the test to confirm an appointment time.

How long will your technician be on site?

Around 30 minutes.

Is there a risk to my health when the sample is taken?

No.

What is the acceptable percentage of asbestos?

Less than 0.1%.

If the vermiculite in my property contains asbestos, does it pose a health hazard?

Under certain conditions, asbestos fibres could cause serious lung diseases and cancer. Health Canada advises that the best way to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure is to avoid disturbing the vermiculite insulation in any way. Removing the insulation by yourself is not recommended.

Vermiculite has a low asbestos content—generally between 0.1% and 5%. Health Canada notes that there is no significant health risk if vermiculite containing asbestos is present in an attic that is not used and isolated from the inhabited part of the house or sealed behind walls or under the floor. It is important to make sure that asbestos fibres do not become airborne by sealing off any gaps, cracks or holes.

Am i obligated to remove vermiculite if it contains asbestos?

No. There is no law that requires the removal of this material.

How much vermiculite is required for each sample?

Between 1 and 2 cups (250 ml to 500 ml, or around half a Ziploc type sandwich bag).

How should i take my samples?

Please contact us for the recommended method and precautions.

Do you carry out remediation work if the test result is positive?

We do not perform this type of work. However, we can refer you to contractors if necessary.

FAQ on registers for asbestos

Is it mandatory?

Yes. As of June 6, 2013, for all buildings where there are workers, a register must be established whenever there is the presence of flocking, lagging, materials tested for asbestos, or work on materials likely to contain asbestos (MLCA). Certain exceptions apply in relation to the dates of construction of buildings (see the “LEARN MORE” section above).

Who is responsible for creating such a register?

The obligation to carry out an asbestos register can be imposed on the owner of the building as well as on an employer renting premises. We advise you to check the clauses of your lease agreement. We remind you that, as a general rule, the employer must guarantee a safe workspace for his employees.

What is the purpose of an asbestos registry?

The primary purpose of an asbestos safety management record (asbestos register) is to identify the location and condition of “at risk” (see next question for an explanation of this expression) flockings and heat insulating materials in a building.

In addition, as soon as other materials likely to contain asbestos (MLCAs) are analyzed (whether or not they contain asbestos) or work is performed on MLCAs, this information must be included in an existing register or, if there is not yet one, in a register to be created.

The asbestos register makes it possible to identify the sections of the building for which special precautions must be taken for workers in order to limit their exposure to asbestos dust (in the event of work in particular, but also for the maintenance and upkeep of materials in place).

The asbestos register must be updated every two years.

Who can make or update a registry?

Someone who will know what to look for and how to identify all the required MLCAs. This can be a trained employee or manager or a specialized firm such as Multitest that can also advise you if testing is required.

What is a flocking or lagging which is “at risk”?

It is a flocking or lagging that is not entirely enclosed in a permanent and fiber-tight structure and that access to the flocking or lagging is only possible by a destructive operation of the structure. For example, ducts with lagging located above a suspended ceiling (acoustic tiles) would not be enclosed in such a permanent structure. See the photos below showing ducts with lagging enclosed in a permanent structure:

Where can I find registry information?

We invite you to consult the CNESST website, in particular the guide Gestion sécuritaire de l’amiante (only available in French).

FAQ on asbestos air testing

Is it mandatory?

The asbestos air tests legally required by the Safety Code for the construction industry (the « Code ») are the daily testing to monitor airborne fibre concentration during work (Section 3.23.16, paragraph 4 of the Code) and the final 4-hour test (also taken in the work area) to allow dismantling of the airtight enclosure (Section 3.23.16, paragraph 12 of the Code) of a high-risk work area involving asbestos-containing materials.

Although an additional daily air test in the “clean changing room” (referred to as the “changing room for street clothes” in the Code) is sometimes performed, this is not legally required in the Code. However, this test may be required by a CNESST inspector in some cases, for example, where there are many workers or a large amount of traffic in a high-risk work area or where the inspector believes that the doors to the airtight enclosure are not being kept properly closed.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. We will contact you the day before the test to confirm the appointment time. For example, if it is an urgent final 4-hour test requiring a same-day result, we will need to be on site around 7:00 a.m., since our laboratory must receive the cassettes (samples) before 12:00 p.m.

How long will your technician be on site?

Approximately 4h30m for a final 4-hour test and approximately 1h15m for a one sample daily testing.

Is an asbestos air test good for the whole house?

No, an asbestos air test is good either for a specific area where there has been work with an airtight enclosure or for a floor of about 1,000 square feet.

If my test does not respect the applicable standard, is this a problem?

This question arises mainly for the final 4-hour asbestos air test.

Failure to comply with the applicable standard can occur in two cases.

The first is “filter overloaded”. This means that there were so many fibres (of any kind: dust, cellulose, human skin flakes, animal hair, etc.) in the sample that the laboratory chemist is not able to perform the analysis. The solution is to redo a fine cleaning (also called HEPA cleaning) of the area and perform a final 4-hour test once more.

The second is a positive result, i.e. above the acceptable standard (therefore 0.01 fibre/cm3 or more). Two solutions are then possible: (1) redo a fine/HEPA cleaning of the premises and perform a final 4-hour test once more; or (2) do a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis on the sample we have already taken to verify if this positive result is due to a concentration of airborne breathable asbestos fibres exceeding the standard or to other types of fibres (in the latter case, it is then considered non-problematic). If TEM result shows that the positive result from the first step is due to asbestos fibres, then a fine cleaning (also called HEPA cleaning) of the premises should be done again and the final test performed another time.

Walls and ceilings that may contain asbestos were demolished a few months ago, is an asbestos air test relevant?

In principle, no.

The right thing to do, if there are still walls or ceilings made of the same materials as those demolished, is to test these materials since they may not contain asbestos. If the test of these materials was negative (no asbestos fibres detected), this would be good news and the process would stop there.

If the demolished materials contained asbestos, or if it is no longer possible to test for asbestos (in which case it should be assumed that they did contain some), there should have been daily air tests during the work and a final 4-hour test (one per floor and/or per work area) after the work was completed, but before the airtight enclosure protecting the rest of the building was removed. The purpose of the final air test is to allow the contractor to remove the protection in place to prevent asbestos fibres from spreading elsewhere in the building during the work. If these tests had been done at the right time, we would not be asking this question.

However, several weeks, months or years after the work was done, if no asbestos air test was performed when it should have been, a final 4-hour test is the only test we can offer you to give you some comfort that the total fibres concentration is within the applicable standard for airborne breathable asbestos fibres in the air. It is important to know that if the area where we test is cleaned “regularly”, the test result will meet the standard in most cases.

A recent inspection report mentions that there is insulation on some parts of the ventilation ducts... is it a good idea to do an asbestos air test?

No, since the asbestos air test is not designed for this purpose and will not tell if this material contains asbestos or not.

The right thing to do would be to test the material since it may not contain asbestos.

Normally, when asbestos lagging removal work is done, it is done with glove bags and an asbestos air test is not legally required. However, a fine cleaning (also known as HEPA cleaning) of the area where work has been done is strongly suggested.

Although lagging in good condition can legally remain in place, we believe that it presents a health risk since the air inside the building circulates near a material that is likely to emit asbestos fibres at some point as it ages. We recommend that you consult an asbestos removal professional to have it safely insulated.

I had vermiculite removed from my attic a year ago without doing an air test and the buyer of my house is asking for one today... is this relevant?

In principle, no.

The right thing to do would be to go and check in the attic (wearing proper personal protective equipment) at 10-20 different places if there is any vermiculite left (when it is the case, it is usually located deep under the insulation, near the joists), in order to test the vermiculite since it may not contain asbestos. If the vermiculite test was negative (no asbestos fibres detected), this would be good news and the process would stop there.

If the vermiculite did contain asbestos, or if it is no longer possible to test for it (in which case it should be assumed that it did contain some), there should have been at least one final 4-hour air test after the removal work was completed, but before the removal of the airtight enclosure protecting the rest of the building and the re-insulation. The purpose of the final 4-hour air test is to allow the contractor to remove the protections in place to prevent asbestos fibres from spreading elsewhere in the building during his work. If this test had been done at the right time, we would not be asking this question.

However, several weeks, months or years after such work, if no asbestos air test has been performed when it should have been, a final 4-hour air test is the only test we can offer you to give you some comfort that the total fibres concentration respects the applicable standard for airborne breathable asbestos fibres. It is important to know that: (1) since the attic has since been re-insulated and therefore there are many fibres circulating in the air, we will not test in the attic, but rather in a room in the living area below where the access hatch is located; and (2) if the area where we test is “regularly” cleaned, the test result will meet the standard in most cases.

FAQ on environmental testing

I need to do a soil test, what does it involve?

It is important to identify your needs. Click here to learn more on our environment soil tests.

Phase I, environmental testing, soil characterization... what is it all about?

There are different types of soil tests. Click here to learn more on our environment soil tests.

Is my test result confidential?

Yes.

Do i have to decontaminate if my test results is positive?

No. However, you will have to disclose it to any potential buyer.

FAQ on geotechnical studies

Is it mandatory?

For “small” buildings (maximum of 600 m2, i.e. approximately 6,500 ft2, and three stories), some municipalities may require geotechnical studies; this is often the case for:

  • Building extensions or new constructions located on the waterfront or on a mountainside;
  • Known areas with low soil bearing capacity;
  • Areas where significant backfill activity has occurred in the past;

Except for the situations mentioned above, for such “small” buildings, it is often at the discretion of the owner, but we strongly recommend it for any construction project to secure your investment and avoid unpleasant surprises.

For larger buildings, a geotechnical study is mandatory according to the National Building Code.

Garantie construction résidentielle (GCR) requires a geotechnical study for certain buildings, notably divided condominiums of more than 5 units. For more details, refer to section 87 of the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings (chapter B-1.1, r. 8).

What type of equipment do you use?

The equipment chosen depends on several factors (type of test, type of building, regional soil types, etc.). For example, for soil bearing capacity, when possible, we use an excavator to minimize the cost of the study; however, some files require much more expensive drilling machinery (geotechnical drill rig).

How can i get the lowest possible price?

If you provide the equipment required for the surveys (test pits with an excavator or boring with a geotechnical drill rig, as recommended by our engineer), this can reduce the cost of our work. The type of equipment required is established on a case-by-case basis for each file and is confirmed before the contract is signed.

Will you determine the water table (groundwater level)?

This depends on the type of study. For the bearing capacity of the soil carried out with an excavator by way of test pits (also called trenching or exploration wells), the level of the water table, if it is not encountered during our work, will be estimated by the visual observations of the specialist in the test pits. In the case of a soil bearing capacity study carried out with a geotechnical drill rig, it will be measured with a water well(s) installed in any borehole done. Remember that the groundwater level varies during the year (mainly seasonally) and can therefore change.

Who uses this report?

It is used primarily by the designers of the proposed building (architects, structural engineers, civil engineers and builders); therefore, it is essential to ensure that a copy of the geotechnical study is forwarded to them as soon as possible, as the results can have a significant impact on aspects such as site preparation, type of foundation or location of a proposed building.

In the case of an existing building, this study is used by the expert conducting the investigation of the identified building problem.

What types of recommendations do the most common geotechnical studies offer?

  • Identification of geotechnical issues related to the project
  • Preparation of the site according to the construction project
  • Recommendations regarding the foundation: types of footings, raft foundation (slab serving as foundation), piles, etc.
  • Building drainage
  • Specific characteristics of commercial, industrial or institutional buildings
  • Temporary support structures (e.g. decontamination under a building or near the public domain; construction of a building with several underground levels or near the public domain) or permanent support structures (e.g. construction of a building with underground garages or of a retaining wall on a sloping ground)
  • The type of wastewater treatment system (septic installation) if applicable
  • The stability of a slope on the property (risk of destabilization)

FAQ on iron ochre testing

What is an iron ochre test?

Whether biological (bacteria in the soil react to iron) or chemical (oxidation of certain minerals in the soil), the formation of iron ochre (also called ochre deposits) can clog the French drain (weeping tile). This clogging could lead to excessive humidity around the foundations which can lead to mold growth inside the building. The test consists of analyzing a water sample taken from the sump pump or a soil sample to determine whether there is a risk of clogging the French drain.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. We will contact you the business day before the test to confirm an appointment time.

How long will your technician be on site?

Approximately 30 minutes.

If my test result is positive, is it a problem?

This confirms that there is a clogging potential. The important thing is to regularly check that the French drain is functional and in good condition by means of a camera examination (approximately $500 if accessible without excavation). If there is a clog, a pressure cleaning (with or without gas) will be necessary (approximately $500 if there are cleaning chimneys). We do not offer inspection and cleaning services, but can refer you to contractors if necessary.

If my test result is positive, how often should my drain be cleaned?

Depending on the degree of clogging potential (low, medium or high), the time between cleanings can vary from approximately 6 months to 3 years.

How should i take my sample?

Please contact us for the recommended method and precautions.

Do you carry out remediation work if the test result is positive?

We do not perform this type of work. However, we can refer you to contractors if necessary.

FAQ on mold air testing

What is a mold test including an air quality test?

It consists of a visual inspection performed by a chemist or a microbiologist (university-level science training that enhances the report’s credibility) to look for visible fungal growths or excessive humidity. Humidity levels of indoor air and certain building materials are measured using a hygrometer, an electronic tool that is non-intrusive (as it does not damage materials).

In addition, at least two air tests will be performed: one outside (weather permitting) to serve as a reference (baseline) value to compare with the results of the air test(s) taken inside the building (at least one test per floor). The number of spores in the building should ideally be lower than, but at most equal to the number of spores outside.

Finally, at least two surface tests (also called tape tests or swabs) will be done. This type of test is particularly useful since certain types of molds sometimes emit very few spores, making it difficult to interpret the results using air tests.

It is important to note that an air test is only valid for one floor (sometimes less than one floor). The expert may recommend an additional air or surface test, which will represent an additional cost.

Can i choose a testing time?

No. Our expert will contact you to schedule the appointment.

How long will your expert be on site?

Approximately 2 hours.

If it is contaminated, is it dangerous for my health?

According to Health Canada, excessive humidity and mold may aggravate the following conditions:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation;
  • Coughing and phlegm;
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath;
  • Asthma symptoms;
  • Allergic reactions.

Reactions to mold depend on the degree of exposure and people’s general health. Certain people are more vulnerable, such as children, senior citizens and people who have a weakened immune system or other health issues such as asthma, acute allergies or other respiratory illnesses.

Do you carry out remediation work if the test result is positive?

We do not perform this type of work. However, we can refer you to contractors if necessary.

FAQ on UFFI testing

What does the uffi look like?

See photo below. It looks like urethane (insulating foam) or shaving foam with a pale yellow color. Unlike urethane’s styrofoam-like texture, UFFI, which is an insulation that does not age very well (drying out), normally breaks down into chunks or even a fine powder when handled.

Is one air test enough?

It is recommended to take two to three air samples in a residential building in order to have them analyzed. The goal is to have a certain representativeness of the situation prevailing in the whole building, because if only one test is made, its result could be biased by a formaldehyde emanation not coming from the UFFI.

Indeed, the health risk related to UFFI being the emission of formaldehyde, it is important to know that this gas is commonly found in the indoor air of buildings. It can be emitted from building materials or furniture, particularly those made from particleboard products containing urea formaldehyde adhesives. It can also be emitted from sources such as tobacco smoke, potpourri, exhaust, fireplaces and wood stoves, and gas or oil appliances with faulty venting systems.

How do i know if my home has been insulated with UFFI?

The best known visual clue is the presence of finishing points at more or less regular intervals in the mortar joints of exterior brick walls (see photo below). These finishing points seal the holes where the UFFI was injected to insulate the space between the exterior cladding (usually the brick walls) and the interior walls of the building.

Also, there may have been references to the house being insulated with UFFI in previous deeds of sale or sellers’ declarations.

Which is better: testing the air or the material?

For the air test, the results will confirm whether the building’s indoor air is safe according to applicable standards, but will not confirm whether the building has been insulated with UFFI. In addition, since formaldehyde can emanate from sources other than UFFI (see the “Learn More” section under ” OTHER SOURCES OF FORMALDEHYDE EMISSIONS” and the previous FAQ under “IS ONE AIR TEST ENOUGH?”), it is possible to have a problematic test result that is not due to UFFI (called a false positive result).

Where is UFFI found?

UFFI has been used primarily for insulating the exterior walls of buildings, between the exterior cladding (usually brick walls) and the interior walls. However, UFFI can also be found in other areas such as the interior of concrete blocks in the exterior walls of commercial buildings or other cavities in a building that need to be insulated.

Is UFFI still in use?

UFFI was banned in Canada in December 1980 under the Hazardous Products Act. Notwithstanding the above, there are still many buildings insulated with UFFI since owners have never been required to remove this material, which, in most cases, no longer poses a significant risk of formaldehyde release since it was installed a long time ago (except if the UFFI comes in contact with moisture or if work in performed on it).