The Duty to Manage Asbestos is contained in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It states that the Duty Holder (which in residential blocks is likely to be the Property Manager of Landlord) is responsible for reducing the risks of exposure to asbestos.
Although the Duty refers to non-domestic premises, those responsible for residential property have a duty to manage the risk from asbestos in the communal areas of residential property; for example: corridors, stairways, door entrances, lifts, parking areas, and bin stores in a block of flats.
The Duty outlines that if you own, occupy, manage or have responsibility for a building that may contain asbestos, then you are legally obliged to assess and manage the risk. You will also need to make decisions regarding the retention, remediation and removals of any asbestos containing materials (ACMs); with the assistance of the Asbestos Management Survey.
Where is Asbestos likely to be found?
Asbestos can be found in a number of different areas of a property, some of the lower risk asbestos containing materials (ACMs) include: floor tiles, cement flues and sheets, and textured Coating.
Whilst some of the higher risk ACMS are sprayed coating, loose fill, dust/debris, and AIB Ceiling tiles.
Do materials need to be tested to confirm they are Asbestos?
There is no way to definitely identify asbestos by sight, it needs to be tested by an expert. Many materials that do not contain asbestos look just the same as materials that do. Which is why you should treat all suspect materials as asbestos unless proven otherwise. When samples are taken by our Surveyor during an Asbestos Survey, they are taken to a UCAS Accredited Lab for testing.
What should Property Managers and Landlords be doing?
If you are Duty Holder you should have an Asbestos Management Survey carried out by an experienced Surveyor, who will assess the premises to find out if it contains asbestos and take samples where necessary to confirm. You should then be acting on the findings and evaluating the risks, and seeking expert advice on recommendations.
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.
You can find out more about what to do next, here.