What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was widely used in building materials up until 2000 due to its heat resisting and durability properties. Asbestos is also harmful to health when disturbed fibres are breathed in. As such, the law requires that Asbestos Surveys are carried out on all non-domestic buildings such as, offices, schools, hospitals or the common areas of residential flats constructed before the year 2000.
Those responsible for such properties, have a duty under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to manage Asbestos in non-domestic premises.
There are various different types of Asbestos Surveys. Asbestos Management Surveys (and in some cases Refurbishment and Demolition surveys) should be used as the primary means of managing Asbestos. If asbestos is present in a building and recommendations are not made to have it removed, yearly Asbestos Re-inspections are required to manage it. Below, we have briefly outlined the different types of Asbestos Surveys and when they would be used.
Different types of Asbestos Surveys
- Asbestos Management Surveys:
An Asbestos Management Survey is a standard survey that is required on any building built before the year 2000. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspected Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy. Asbestos Management Surveys will likely involve minor intrusive work as samples will usually be taken to confirm if Asbestos is present.
In cases where access cannot be gained, the area will be marked as no access on the report and presumed asbestos until the Surveyor can gain access at a later date/ in the next re-inspection. Areas such as lift shafts and electric cupboards will require a professional to help the assessor gain access (a lift engineer or electrician) and this will need to be arranged by the responsible person for the building.
- Asbestos Re-inspection Surveys:
Having an Asbestos Management Survey carried out is not the end point in managing Asbestos. If Asbestos is present and is in a manageable condition, annual Asbestos Re-inspections are required to update the register of the condition of any ACM changes.
If Asbestos is found to be in a poor condition, or is in an area that will likely be regularly disturbed, then recommendations will be made to have it removed.
- Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys:
Asbestos Management Surveys should be sufficient for simple routine maintenance work, however, where more extensive work is going to be taking place, a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey (commonly referred to as an R&D Survey) is likely to be required.
An R&D Survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach. If you require a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey, please get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss this further with you.
- Asbestos Removal
Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, there is a requirement for all Asbestos Containing Materials to be removed, as far as reasonably practicable, before major refurbishment or demolition takes place. This may also be required in smaller refurbishment situations where structural or layout changes are going to be made to a building.
However, where Asbestos is unlikely to be disturbed and is in a manageable condition, it is often safer to leave any ACMs and review their condition over time than to have them removed.
- Asbestos and Contractors
As the dutyholder for the site, it is your responsibility to ensure contractors have access to the sites Asbestos Surveys and the Register, however, it is also their responsibility to ensure they are checking this before starting any works on the building!
The Asbestos Register must be viewed and acknowledged by all contractors before any work commences onsite, to ensure they are aware of any Asbestos present. If you are sending contractors the Asbestos Register by email, it is recommended that you ask that they reply to the email to confirm they have received this and understand the contents in relation to the works they are doing.
If you would like further advice and guidance on managing the Asbestos in your building, please get in touch and we’d be more than happy to discuss further. You can reach us on 01376 572936.