So, you have had an Asbestos Management Survey carried out on a building you manage or own and may be wondering what the next step is.
In most cases, it is often safer to leave ACMs and review their condition over time, with an annual Asbestos Management plan of annual Asbestos Re-inspection Surveys, however, this is dependent upon the condition of the Asbestos identified. The Asbestos Management Survey will have established this by identifying if ACMs are in a friable or non-friable state.
This article aims to answer some of the frequently asked questions surrounding Asbestos, and what to do after a Management Survey.
Does Asbestos always need to be removed?
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), if Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) are in a good condition and are undisturbed, they are usually considered low risk (as it is unlikely that airborne asbestos fibres will be released into the air). Therefore, it is often safer to leave the ACMs in situ and review their condition over time rather than removing them. In fact, the removal of existing ACMs can actually pose a significant risk of exposure to Asbestos. It is important to note that if Asbestos is not removed then it is vital that the conditions of the ACMs are reviewed regularly, as the state of the product can change over time through use and deterioration.
What is an Asbestos Re-inspection Survey and when is it required?
Where Asbestos does not need to be removed and is safe to stay in situ, annual Asbestos Re-inspection Surveys are required to update the Asbestos Register of the condition of any ACM changes.
Furthermore, it is vital that contractors carrying out work on a site have access to the reports, before any work takes place. As the Property Manager or Landlord, you should be ensuring that contractors working on your building have access to the Asbestos Register. Likewise, contractors should be ensuring they are asking to see the Asbestos Register before they begin works.
What is Asbestos Encapsulation?
In cases where it is not necessary to have the ACMs removed but they are lightly damaged or exposed then , it is possible to have them protected or encapsulated by applying an impervious material, which is secured over or around the ACM, and is designed to prevent the release of fibres under foreseeable conditions, such as vibration, impact and age degradation.
In order to decide what the best approach is, the responsible person for the building should consult the recommendations from their latest survey report and consider the type and condition of the ACM and whether it is possible for further damage to occur. It is also important to consider whether encapsulation is being used to defer removal which may eventually need to take place anyway!
When is it Necessary to Remove Asbestos?
It becomes necessary to remove asbestos when ACMs are too damaged to encapsulate, and there is a foreseeable risk of releasing fibres. This can occur if ACMs such as ceiling tiles, pipe lagging, or cement sheets are in bad condition and likely to be disturbed; usually during contractual works.
In addition to this, if a property is being demolished, or is due to have works carried out any ACMs will need to be identified and removed beforehand. In this case, a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey will need to take place in order to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs within the building so that they can be removed. These types of surveys are intrusive and involve an element of destruction in order to gain access to areas and remove any ACMs present. If you would like further advice on Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys, please do not hesitate to get in touch in with our team who are happy to help.
Who Can Remove the Asbestos Containing Materials?
If the Asbestos Management Survey makes recommendations to have ACMs removed, then the responsible person will need to contact a third-party asbestos removal company in order to have this carried out. In most cases, cases a licensed asbestos removal company will be required who, before undertaking such a project, will need to contact the HSE to notify/ request authorisation via an ASB5 notification form.
Do you have some more questions? Or do you require an Asbestos Survey to be carried out? Please get in touch today! Alternatively, you can give our team a call on 01376 572936.