Asbestos survey needed

When is an Asbestos Survey Needed

Key Takeaways

Key TakeawayDescription
Legal RequirementsAsbestos surveys are legally required for all non-domestic premises in the UK built before 1999, as mandated by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Types of Asbestos SurveysTwo main types are the Management Asbestos Survey for normal building use and the Refurbishment and Demolition Survey for buildings undergoing changes.
Roles and ResponsibilitiesDutyholders, often property owners or managers, are responsible for assessing asbestos risk and managing its safe removal or containment.
Asbestos Survey Reports and RegistersSurveys result in detailed reports and asbestos registers, listing locations, conditions, and management plans for any identified asbestos-containing materials.
Maintenance and MonitoringRegular inspections and re-assessments are required to monitor the condition of identified asbestos, ensuring ongoing safety and compliance.
Health Risks and Safety MeasuresProper safety protocols and personal protective equipment are crucial to minimize exposure risks, given the serious health risks associated with asbestos.

Determining the need for an asbestos survey is essential if you’re managing or responsible for a property, particularly in the UK where asbestos was widely used before its ban in 1999. For non-domestic premises built prior to this year, an asbestos survey is not just advisable; it is a legal necessity under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. These regulations mandate the identification and management of asbestos-containing materials to ensure the safety of occupants and workers.

While your home may not typically require an asbestos survey, the situation changes if it has shared parts like corridors or lobbies, as is common in blocks of flats. In these cases, an asbestos survey can determine whether remedial action is needed and help produce an essential asbestos register. If you’re in a management position for such properties, awareness and compliance with these regulations are crucial to meet your legal obligations and protect health and safety.

When dealing with asbestos in the UK, you must adhere strictly to the specific legal requirements laid out by the government. These regulations are in place to ensure your safety and the safety of others, and they outline your responsibilities as a dutyholder.

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Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 is the current legal framework you need to be aware of. Under these regulations, you are mandated to assess and manage the risks from the presence of asbestos. The key objective is to protect those who might come into contact with asbestos in non-domestic premises. As the dutyholder, it is your responsibility to identify materials that contain asbestos through a management asbestos survey and to document and implement a robust management plan. This obligation applies to all types of non-domestic premises, including commercial and public buildings.

Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises

The “Duty to Manage” is a specific legal requirement focusing on the management of asbestos in non-domestic premises. If you own, occupy, manage or have responsibilities for non-domestic premises which might contain asbestos, you have a legal duty to take appropriate steps to manage that risk. This involves:

  • Identifying whether asbestos is present and determining its location and condition.
  • Assessing the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified.
  • Preparing an asbestos management plan that outlines how the risks from these materials will be managed.
  • Taking the necessary steps to put your plan into action.
  • Reviewing and monitoring the management plan and the arrangements made to put it in place.
  • Providing information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone liable to work on or disturb them.

In the UK, managing the risk of asbestos is a matter you must take seriously, ensuring compliance not just for the safety of individuals but also to avoid legal repercussions. Your management plan is a critical component and must be thorough and diligently upheld.

Types and Purposes of Asbestos Surveys

Before any work on a building takes place, it’s vital to identify any potential asbestos risks. Asbestos surveys are categorised mainly into two types: Management Asbestos Survey and Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey. Each serves a specific purpose and is essential for ensuring safety and compliance with legal requirements.

Asbestos survey

Management Asbestos Survey

Your primary goal with a Management Asbestos Survey is to manage asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) during the normal occupation and use of a building. This survey ensures that:

  • The location, amount and condition of ACMs are accurately recorded.
  • The information is used to produce an asbestos register and an asbestos management plan, which helps prevent the unintentional disturbance of ACMs.

This type of survey typically involves minor intrusive work and some disturbance. The extent of intrusion will vary between properties and depend on what is reasonably practicable for individual premises. It includes an assessment of the risk and recommendations for the management of any ACMs found.

Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey

A Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey is required where the premises, or part of it, need upgrading, refurbishment or demolition. This survey is much more intrusive than the Management Survey and involves:

  • Extensive inspection and disturbance to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach.
  • A thorough assessment of the condition of ACMs, which could be affected by the planned refurbishment or demolition work.

The purpose here is not just to identify the presence of ACMs, but also to determine the type of asbestos present. A detailed survey report will guide the removal and mitigation strategies before any structural work begins, to ensure maximum safety and compliance with The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Conducting and Responding to Asbestos Surveys

When dealing with asbestos, it’s essential to conduct thorough surveys and respond effectively. Asbestos surveys are critical for identifying locations and conditions of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in a property, and for forming the basis of an asbestos management plan.

Roles and Responsibilities

As a property owner, you have a duty to manage asbestos in your premises. This includes conducting regular inspections and arranging for an asbestos survey if required. It is your responsibility to hire a competent surveyor – often a licensed contractor – who has the necessary qualifications and experience, backed by a quality management system such as UKAS accreditation. The dutyholder – which might be you or someone you appoint – must ensure that a comprehensive asbestos management plan is in place and that all findings from surveys are properly integrated into it.

Asbestos Survey Reports and Registers

After a survey is completed, the asbestos surveyor will provide a detailed survey report. This report must include an asbestos register, which is a document that lists all identified ACMs in the property. Your response should include reviewing the report for clarity and completeness. Be certain that you understand the condition and risk level of each ACM listed, as this will inform the necessary maintenance and monitoring actions outlined in the asbestos management plan.

  • A typical Asbestos Register should contain:
    • Location of ACMs
    • Extent of ACMs
    • Condition of ACMs
    • Accessibility of ACMs

Reminder: Implementation of both the plan and further actions such as removal or containment described within should be conducted by a licensed contractor.

Maintenance and Monitoring

Maintenance and monitoring are ongoing tasks that should be regularly conducted as part of managing asbestos. The management plan must include schedules for re-inspection of ACMs to examine any potential deterioration or damage. You must ensure that all data and actions are well-documented as part of a living asbestos management plan, which ought to be updated with each inspection, changes in building layouts, and after any construction work involving potential asbestos disturbances.

When changes occur, you must communicate with everyone potentially at risk, including employees and contractors, so they are aware of the presence of ACMs and can act accordingly. Regular maintenance and effective monitoring help to preserve the safety of the building occupants and assist in preventing uncontrolled asbestos exposure.

Health Risks and Safety Measures

Understanding the health risks associated with asbestos and adhering to rigorous safety measures can protect you from asbestos exposure which could result in serious asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos can be strong and resistant to heat and chemicals, but its fibres may deteriorate over time especially if disturbed, posing significant health risks.

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When you carry out surveys or facilitate repairs in buildings, you may encounter asbestos-containing materials, which, if disturbed, release fibres into the air. Inhalation of these fibres can lead to cancers such as mesothelioma—a fatal malignancy of the chest and abdominal linings—or other serious lung conditions, including asbestosis and lung cancer. These conditions are often the result of prolonged exposure to asbestos and can manifest many years after the initial inhalation of fibres. Work-related deaths from asbestos diseases are among the highest of any work-related illnesses in the UK.

Safety Protocols and Personal Protective Equipment

To protect yourself during an asbestos risk assessment or when carrying out surveys, you must follow strict safety protocols. These include:

  • Risk Assessment: Before interacting with asbestos, perform a thorough risk assessment to determine the presence and condition of asbestos-containing materials.
  • Controlled Access: Restrict access to areas where asbestos-related work is being performed to trained personnel only.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Always use appropriate PPE, such as:
    • Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
    • Disposable coveralls
    • Gloves
    • Safety footwear

Adhering to these safety standards is essential for minimising asbestos exposure risks. Proper use of PPE is vitally important to protect your lungs from the inhalation of asbestos fibres and to avoid carrying fibres away from the site on clothing.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to managing asbestos, understanding the regulations and necessary procedures is crucial for your safety and compliance with the law.

In the UK, conducting a suitable and sufficient assessment is mandatory to determine the presence of asbestos in non-domestic premises. This asbestos audit must be completed prior to any work that could disturb asbestos.

Under what circumstances is an asbestos report mandatory for residential properties?

If you own a residential property with shared spaces, you are obliged to have an asbestos survey of the common areas, such as lift shafts, corridors, toilets, and roof spaces.

What obligations do landlords have regarding asbestos reporting?

Landlords must ensure the safety of their tenants by maintaining an asbestos survey for any property built before the year 2000, which outlines the presence and condition of any asbestos-containing materials.

In the context of commercial properties, when is an asbestos survey report necessary?

For commercial properties, an asbestos survey report is required to accurately locate and assess the condition of asbestos-containing materials and to create an asbestos management plan.

How does an asbestos risk assessment relate to the fire risk assessment process?

While both assessments are essential for safety and compliance, an asbestos risk assessment specifically focuses on the dangers associated with asbestos, whereas a fire risk assessment is concerned with all potential fire hazards.

During a Level 3 building survey, is the detection of asbestos included?

A Level 3 building survey typically includes a detailed inspection, but for asbestos, a specific asbestos survey may be necessary, especially if renovations or demolition are planned.