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Asbestos Removal reviews in San Mateo

  • A
    Z-Con Specialty Services
    The process went very well.   They are a very professional company and they surely knew what they were doing.   They also don't use scare tactics to get business.     Some other companies in this industry I called,  do that. 
    - JUDITH O.
  • F
    Synergy Co
    I thought the company did a great job in removing the popcorn ceiling and we really loved working with Jake. The issue we had with the overall job was the referal that Synergy gave us to finsih the ceiling after the popcorn was removed. They referred Mike Rath and working with him was not a pleasant experience. We wanted a smooth ceiling and he convinced us to have an orange peel finish with a "trust me, I have a lot of experience" speech. He really didn't want to listen to us, just kept on telling us that he knows best. Ultimately, we felt bullied into going with what he recommneded and we are not happy with the ceiling. On top of that, we called them back because there were 2 sections that did not look good. They patched those and now they look exactly what they are: patched areas. Not a good job at all. This resulted in the overall job not being satisfactory to us which is unfortunate for Synergy, but it is hard to separate the two jobs since we did not get the result we wanted.
    - Gerda V.
  • A
    Synergy Co
    After removing the carpet in our downstairs area we were confronted with a single layer of 9" x 9" green vinyl or linoleum tiles covering the concrete slab in our basement area.  Based on some research, it seemed likely these tiles and the black mastic adhesive contain some low levels of asbestos.   While it?s possible to remove the tiles by hand (lots of websites and YouTube videos on this), given the large area it was safer, easier and faster to have an asbestos abatement company do it.  There are a number of accredited test labs in the East Bay that will accept tile samples from homeowners to determine asbestos content (seems to run about $50-60), but rather than testing the tile we just assumed it contained some level of asbestos since the size, pattern and age were consistent with asbestos-containing tiles.  
    Photo identification websites for asbestos tiles (by year):   
    http://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos_Floor_Tile_ID.php 
    • http://www.asbestosresource.com/asbestos/tile.html 

    Asbestos Information: 
    • California OSHA:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/asbestos.html
    • US EPA: http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos
    • US National  Institute of Standards (NIST): http://ts.nist.gov/standards/scopes/plmtm.htm  (Companies
    accredited for testing samples to determine asbestos content ? see CA companies)
    We obtained 3 quotes, and aside from the the fact Synergy was the least expensive (other 2 were ~$1400 more), they also had decent reviews on on Angie's list and Yelp.  A few months after the work was completed the owner of Izimarian Roofing & Sheet Metal (San Mateo) told me (unsolicited) that Synergy is probably the best in the area ? it?s the one he refers his customers to. 
    Synergy scheduled the job within 3 business days of contract signature, and were in and out in 1 day.  Set-up involved taping sheets of plastic to the walls (covering about 2/3rds of the wall), setting up an industrial blower (vented through a window) to create a negative pressure in the work area, and setting up a series of 3 decontamination booths in front of the doorway.   The workers then used 6? iron spud bars to scrape the tile off of the concrete.  The tiles came up relatively easily, and in about 40 minutes they had removed and double bagged the tile for disposal [note:  if the tiles/mastic had been removed with a mechanical grinder - which admittedly would have left an ideal surface for adhering the ceramic tiles we had planned - the entire room would have had to have been sealed - a lower level of containment is allowed for hand removal of the tile since it creates less dust].
    Although the black mastic can be encapsulated rather than removed, we opted to have it removed since we planned to put ceramic tile on top of the concrete floor.   Removing the black mastic (which may contain trace amounts of asbestos) from the concrete was done with a soybean-based (rather than solvent based) chemical from Sentinel  Products (Formula 909 - http://www.senpro.com/pages/VinylTile), followed by degreasing with Clorox Formula 409 (yes, the product you have in your kitchen).  Formula 909 solubilizes the mastic and creates a black, sticky goo that Synergy then squeegeed into a pool, and soaked up with an absorbent material.  The black goo is messy, but Synergy did a great job making sure that the residual goo was cleaned up - there were only traces in some cracks and along the perimeter of the rooms (baseboard will cover this) where the floor meets the wall sill plate.  Bean-E-Doo from Franmar Chemicals is a similar soybean-based ester designed for removing black mastic (http://www.franmar.com).  After the goo has beep sopped up, the area had to be degreased otherwise the thinset we needed for the ceramic tiles won?t adhere to the concrete (both the Sentinel and Franmar make a degreasing agent for their products).   While we were finalizing the Scope of Work in the contract I had asked Synergy for the MSDS / Technical Data Sheet on Formula 909, which they emailed to me.
    Synergy used Formula 409 to degrease the floor, which did an ok job. However, were still shiny spots that I worried might contain some of the Sentinel 909.  Consequently, after Synergy left I mopped a solution of SuperClean (a degreasing solution I bought at the local hardware store) augmented with some additional TSP on the concrete, let it sit for a few minutes, and sucked it up with a 24? floor scrubber/vaccum I rented from AAA Rentals in Redwood City ($60/day).  I did this degreasing procedure twice, followed by about 4 clean water rinses.  It seemed to work, although there were still a few shiny spots that I scuffed up with an angle grinder. [Degreasing agents for the soy-based removers are typically high pH (alkaline) solutions.   Typical ingredients are sodium metasilicate, sodium hydroxide, and/or TSP (trisodium phosphate)].  The ceramic tiles are adhering well to the floor, so the degreasing seems to have worked.
    Synergy HEPA vacuumed the area when they were finished (they left the area very clean), took an air sample, and phoned the next day to tell us the air sampling came back negative (no traces of asbestos in the air).  They of course removed the old tile and absorbed mastic/Sentinel 909, and disposed of this material per CA requirements (we got a receipt back from the asbestos dump in Livermore confirming the disposal).  Overall, I felt Synergy provided professional service, and were a pleasure to work with.


    - TODD R.
  • F
    ALLIANCE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP

    The worst experience we've ever had with a company doing work at our home--numerous mistakes and unprofessionalism from start to finish. Do not waste your time or money with this company! They are not to be trusted. We wanted to upgrade our furnace and install a filter because my husband has a severe lung condition.

    I hired Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. (Lic #716538), based in Santa Clara to perform the abatement (removal of our asbestos heating ducts including register boots) and they performed the job on Nov. 24, 2013 (Thanksgiving week). I spoke to the salesperson, one or two days prior to work commencement to verify how work will be performed and explained that my husband has a severe lung condition so I wanted to make sure that asbestos removal will be performed using proper technique to prevent any asbestos from entering our home. She assured me that the workers will be using plastic containment around the registers, that they will use water to wet the asbestos to prevent asbestos from coming out, and that they will be careful when removing the asbestos. She also stated that the foreman will be present during the work. Three workers came to our house and I again let them know that my husband has a severe lung condition and I told them that they had to be careful when removing the asbestos from the registers and in the attic. My husband who was on oxygen met the workers and I introduced him to the workers and reiterated again to the workers that they have to be careful when removing asbestos. One young guy, who I'll designate as worker #1 spoke English well and did most of the talking, stated that they will be working carefully and they are aware of my husband���s condition. Worker #2 is the father of worker #1 and spoke minimal English. And the third worker, hardly spoke at all and probably did not speak English. Worker #1 asked me to sign a form to confirm that there are no current damages on our home prior to them starting their work.



    Worker #1 explained that his dad will work from the attic and his dad will pull the ducts and a vacuum will suck the asbestos particles. I showed the third worker the registers and he began removing the register plates. When it was time to take out the ducts the third worker went to the living room to begin the work. At the same time, worker #1 was asking me questions in the kitchen almost as if to distract me from checking on the third person in the living room. I decided to check on the third person in the living room. He was loosening the boots on the second register but to my surprise he was not using any plastic covering or containment. He wasn't even wearing any protective gear. I asked worker #1 why there were no plastic barrier to contain the asbestos particle? I reminded him that I was told a plastic barrier and water would be used. worker #1 said and quot;Nah, it's ok, see you can't even see anything. It's fine. Just let us do our workand quot;. I told him that you cannot see asbestos fibers with your own eyes. I insisted that they use water and a plastic barrier. Then the father was yelling something in Spanish but I couldn���t tell what he was saying. Worker #1 said, and quot;Look do you want us to finish this job? Cause we can leave if you don't want us to finish. He eluded that this is what his father is yelling about, however, I don't know if this is the case. Worker #1 kept telling me, almost threatening me that they can just leave. He said something to his dad and that's when his dad came down. By this time, they started working on the office vents (the living room and dining room returns were already done improperly). When the father came down, he asked what the problem was and I told him that they were supposed to use water and plastic barriers. Only then did they prep the returns with plastic and used water when I was present. So I had to watch everything they did to make sure it was done correctly. I was so upset. I told them they need to complete the job and leave. I called the sales rep to let her know what was happening and I asked which one of them is the foreman and she said that she would look for him. Later I called her again only to find out that the sales rep was in class.



    When all the vents were done, they started working on the ducts in the ceiling. At this time I was in the kitchen and can hear them making so much pounding noise in the attic. From the kitchen I looked up at the ceiling near the door to the garage and noticed that the ceiling was beginning to protrude downwards and I noticed an opening. l went outside to let them know and worker #1 who was in hazmat gear in the plastic containment stepped out and said again, and quot;Just go inside and let us do our job. I know about the ceilingand quot;. I asked him how would he know if the ceiling is being damaged, since he can't see it. I told him that I have to let him know so he doesn't make it worse. I can't believe this was happening. He continues to tell me to go inside and let them do their job. During our conversation, the third worker was going in the plastic containment that worker #1, was in but this third worker had no protective gear. He did go in and out of the plastic containment and has been going in and out of our house afterwards.



    I called the sales rep and told her of the issues above. I asked where the foreman was and she said that she will try to look for him. I also asked to speak to her manager but was told he was in class. Later, the sales rep said that the foreman was in a class too and could not come to the site. I don���t know why I was told Gus would be present only to find out later that he was also in a class on a Sunday.



    Alliance Environmental workers created a very serious air quality and health hazard for me and my family. My husband and I were very concerned and stressed out about the asbestos that may be lingering in the air and the surfaces of our home and potential health problems this may cause me and my family especially our daughter. Therefore we stayed at a near by hotel until asbestos testing can be done. The workers left some traces of asbestos on the floor inside the house and I had to clean it myself and in the garage and driveway. We watered the floor in the driveway and part of the garage but not sure if this is the way to get rid of it. We also had to throw our carpet at the entrance and hallway (about $300 worth) because of the third worker going in and out of the house after going in the plastic containment in the garage.

    A few other issues we realized later that week, after some thought:







    1) There was insufficient negative pressure when the register boots were being removed because all nine registers were not sealed. They were all open and therefore no negative pressure. The register holes should have been taped so that the negative vacuum would suck up the asbestos.



    2) The plastic barriers/containment that were used were not sufficient. There were no plastic or drop cloths on the floor and this applied to all the rooms except for the office and even that was flimsy. The plastic barriers also were not well sealed and the one in our master bathroom kept falling off so essentially no plastic barrier existed.



    3) The third guy who was prying off the register boots from inside the house did not apply the water correctly. He sprayed the inside metal of the boots instead of applying it around the boots were the asbestos was. I again tried to tell him but he just ignored me.



    After reading my complaints, Titan, a Certified Asbestos Consultant, (recommended by Alliance) notified Alliance that a TEM test for asbestos was required which cost $695. The VP of Alliance, Shaun Murphy, initially did not want this testing. Instead he wanted to do a PCM test which was abot $70 and he was willing to pay for this but it does not test for asbestos. We obviously declined. Titan strongly recommended the TEM test and when the VP found out, he called us and immediately and told us that he approved payment for this testing. Titan/Alliance suggested that we pay for this testing initially so that we can get the results first hand and so that there wouldn't be any bias. The test came back negative and now the VP does not want to pay for the test. The Alliance workers also damaged our ceiling since the workers were not careful in stepping only in areas that they're supposed to in the attic. Pls save yourself from any headache with this company. They may be cheaper than other places but you get what you pay for. We paid more than we're supposed to: $695 for the TEM test plus hotel costs of $500 and fixing our ceiling which we have to get quotes for. Alliance refused to pay and threatened to file a mechanic's lien. Now we have to go to small claims court. Terrible workmanship!!! If the VP lies about paying for something, that says a lot about this company--they are not to be trusted!





    - Nora Y.
  • F
    Alliance Environmental Group

    Would never use this company ever again. They are not to be trusted.

    I hired Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. (Lic #716538), based in Santa Clara to perform the abatement (removal of our asbestos heating ducts including register boots) and they performed the job on Nov. 24, 2013 (Thanksgiving week). I spoke to the salesperson prior to work commencement to verify how work will be performed and explained that my husband has lung issues so I wanted to make sure that asbestos removal will be performed using proper technique to prevent any asbestos from entering our home. The salesperson assured me that the workers will be using plastic containment around the registers, that they will use water to wet the asbestos to prevent asbestos from coming out, and that they will be careful when removing the asbestos.  She also stated that the foreman will be present during the work. Three workers came to our house and I again let them know that my husband has a severe lung condition and I told them that they had to be careful when removing the asbestos from the registers and in the attic. I found out later that none of them was the foreman. My husband who was on oxygen met the workers and I introduced him to the workers and reiterated again to the workers that they have to be careful when removing asbestos. One young guy (worker #1) who spoke for the three since he spoke English fluently, stated that they will be working carefully and they are aware of my husband?s condition. Another worker, (worker #2)., is the father of the first worker and spoke minimal English. And the third worker (worker #3), hardly spoke at all and probably did not speak English. Worker #1 asked me to sign a form to confirm that there are no current damages on our home prior to them starting their work.



    He explained that his dad will work from the attic and his dad will pull the ducts and a vacuum will suck the asbestos particles.  I showed the third worker the registers and he began removing the register plates. When it was time to take out the ducts the third worker went to the living room to begin the work.  At the same time, worker #1 was asking me questions in the kitchen almost as if to distract me from checking on worker #3 in the living room. I decided to check on the third person in the living room.  He was loosening the boots on the second register but to my surprise he was not using any plastic covering or containment. He wasn't even wearing any protective gear. I asked worker #1 why there were no plastic barriers to contain the asbestos particles?  I reminded him that I was told a plastic barrier and water would be used.  He said "Nah, it's ok, see you can't even see anything. It's fine. Just let us do our work". I told him that you cannot see asbestos fibers with your own eyes. I insisted that they use water and a plastic barrier. Then the father was yelling something in Spanish but I couldn?t tell what he was saying. And the son (worker #1) said, "Look do you want us to finish this job? Cause we can leave if you don't want us to finish. He eluded that this is what his father is yelling about, however, I don't know if this is the case.  Worker #1 kept telling me, almost threatening me that they can just leave.  So I said ok, I'll call the sales rep. He said something to his dad and that's when his dad came down. By this time, they started working on the office vents (the living room and dining room returns were already done improperly).  When the father came down, he asked what the problem was and I told him that they were supposed to use water and plastic barriers. Only then did they prep the returns with plastic and used water when I was present. So I had to watch everything they did to make sure it was done correctly. I was so upset. I told them they need to complete the job and leave.



    When all the vents were done, they started working on the ducts in the ceiling. At this time I was in the kitchen and can hear them making so much pounding noise in the attic. From the kitchen I looked up at the ceiling near the door to the garage and noticed that the ceiling was beginning to protrude downwards and I noticed an opening. l went outside to let them know and worker #1 who was in hazmat gear in the plastic containment stepped out and said again, "Just go inside and let us do our job. I know about the ceiling". I asked him how would he know if the ceiling is being damaged, since he can't see it. I told him that I have to let him know so he doesn't make it worse. I can't believe this was happening. He continues to tell me to go inside and let them do their job. During our conversation, the third worker was going in the plastic containment that worker #2, was in but this third worker still had no protective gear. He did go in and out of the plastic containment and has been going in and out of our house afterwards.



    I called the sales rep and told her of the issues above. I asked where the foreman was and she said that she will try to look for him. I also asked to speak to her manager but was told he was in  class. Later, she said that the foreman was in a class too and could not come to the site. I don?t know why I was told the foreman would be present only to find out later that he was in a class on a Sunday.



    My husband and I were very concerned about the asbestos that may be lingering in the air and the surfaces of our home and potential health problems this may cause me and my family especially our daughter. Therefore we stayed at a near by hotel for 5 days during Thanksgiving until asbestos testing can be done and resulted.  



    Workers also left debris on the floor inside the house and I had to clean it myself and in the garage and driveway. We watered the floor in the driveway and part of the garage but not sure if this is the way to get rid of it. We also had to throw our carpet at the entrance and hallway because of the third worker going in and out of the house after going in the plastic containment in the garage. 



    Alliance workers created a very serious air quality and health hazard for me and my family.  We could not sleep, we were very stressed and we had to take time off from work. I had to research and call several Certified Asbestos Consultants (CAC) to see what type of asbestos test they can recommend, if they are available to test our house for asbestos, and cost. However, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, not many of them were available. Most CACs I called recommended the TEM test specific to asbestos but ranged from $650-800. Alliance would not pay for the test until I listed all the problems their workers caused and until after Titan, a CAC recommended by Alliance recommended that a TEM test was needed. The VP of Alliance, Shaun Murphy, after reading my email of all the issues and after hearing Titan recommended a TEM test, verbally approved payment for this test. We were so tired and wanted to go home soon and thought we could trust Shaun to keep his word that we did not get his approval in writing. Titan did the TEM test which came out negative and when Alliance found out the test was negative, they no longer wanted to pay for the test. We don't even know how Alliance found out the results because we initially paid for the test as recommended by Titan/Alliance so that there would not be any bias with the results, but now I'm not so sure if there wasn't any bias.

    Later that week, after some thought, we realized other problems:

     

    1) There was insufficient negative pressure when the register boots were being removed because all nine registers were not sealed. After removing the register face plate, the register holes should have been taped so that the negative vacuum would suck up the asbestos. But since the registers were open, the vacuum was not enough.

    2) The plastic barriers/containment that were used were not sufficient. There were no plastic or drop cloths on the floor and this applied to all the rooms except for the office and even that was flimsy. The plastic barriers also were not well sealed and the one in our master bathroom kept falling off so essentially there were no plastic barrier existed. 

    3) The third guy who was prying off the register boots did not apply the water correctly. He sprayed the inside metal of the boots instead of applying it around the boots were the asbestos was. I again tried to tell him but he just ignored me.

    4) If the foreman was present at our home during the abatement to monitor the crew's work, these problems may have been avoided.

    We have asked for the following to be paid by Alliance but all they did was threaten us with a Mechanic's Lien so we had to pay and will now have to sue them in Small Claims court.

    1) TEM test $695

    2) Hotel costs for two days worth even though we stayed for five day ($188 for 2 days)


    - Nora Y.
  • A
    P W Stephens Environmental Inc
    They were prompt and friendly with their consultation.  They came in with a good price compared to others.  They handled the removal for us at a job site while we were away on vacation and were very responsive in communicating by phone and email (we had to electronically sign a contract and email it to them).  We came back from our vacation and the work was done.  Just by looking at the remains, we believe the quality of the work was good.  Painless process for us.  Would recommend this company.
    - Kristi P.
  • A
    SERVPRO San Mateo
    They were great to work with. Very dependable and prompt.
    - Addie M.
  • A
    Synergy Co
    They arrived on time, were neat and thorough. All ducts and piping were dismantled and taken away.
    - Karen B.
  • A
    Z-CON SPECIALTY SERVICES
    unknown
    - JUDITH O.
  • C
    Synergy Co
    Did not hire them because they did not respond.
    - JUDITH O.
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