Skip to main content

Facilities Planning

AHERA Definition of School Buildings That Must Be Inspected


The Federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires all public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools (K-12) to complete an initial inspection for asbestos and a reinspection of known and assumed asbestos at least once every three years in each building which is owned, leased, or otherwise used as a school building.

In the State Education Department's "1995 Triennial Asbestos Reporting Forms" which were sent to all schools, the first question on the form asks: Is this building still in use as a school? While this appears straightforward, the AHERA definition of a school building must be referenced.

AHERA Section 763.83 defines the following as school buildings:

  1. Any structure suitable for use as a classroom, including a school facility such as a laboratory, library, school eating facility, or facility used for the preparation of food;
  2. Any gymnasium or other facility that is specially designed for athletic or recreational activities for an academic course in physical education; or
  3. Any other facility used for the instruction or housing of students or for the administration of educational or research programs; and
  4. Any maintenance, storage, or utility facility, including any hallway, essential to the operation of any facility described in (a), (b), and (c).

Please review the above definitions carefully. Any building that meets the above-noted definition of a school building is covered under AHERA and must be inspected for asbestos. If any asbestos-containing building material (ACBM) is found during the initial inspection, these buildings must be reinspected triennially for asbestos. The 1995 AHERA triennial reinspection must be completed no later than July 9, 1995.

Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please contact the local BOCES Health and Safety Office or the Department's Office of Facilities Planning at (518) 474-3906.