Within a comprehensive asbestos management plan, asbestos surveys are often the most important tool in establishing the risks present and enabling those with duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to fulfil them – but to do so efficiently. Whilst the emphasis is always on safety, it’s also important to remember that without evidence a building doesn’t contain asbestos, it must be presumed to do so, which is likely to mean non-asbestos materials are being managed as if they are. This leads to unnecessary effort and costs.
Below, you will find a step by step guide outlining the standard practice of an asbestos survey, and what is involved.
The first step to completing a successful asbestos survey is to understand which survey is needed. At Franks Portlock we offer the full range of UKAS-accredited asbestos surveys that cover all eventualities.
We offer three types of surveys:
At the beginning of a survey, although most pertinent information should already be in-hand for large sites, there will be an initial walk-through. This is required to, among other things, identify anything that may obstruct the project, to check the validity of plans and risk assess the site. During the survey, surveyors will work methodically through the premises and use their skill and judgement to identify suspect asbestos materials. They will collect a sample for lab analysis to definitively verify the asbestos content.
If necessary, a water absorption test will be completed as a part of this analysis, this is used to ascertain the density of a material and whether it is a cement-based product or a less dense insulating board type material. During surveys, the work areas should be free from anyone but the survey team and for refurbishment or demolitions surveys, the premises should be vacant unless tight controls are in place. Air testing can also feature in an asbestos survey, depending on the investigation’s initial findings.
This may be in the form of background testing prior to commencing work, reassurance testing after the discovery of asbestos in poor condition, or personal monitoring to our staff.
As per the current industry guidance the air testing we offer is as follows
An air test is used to detect airborne asbestos particles by drawing in a known volume of air through a filter over a measured period of time. Any airborne particles collected in the filter are then prepared for examination by microscopy.
At Franks Portlock, our lab analysis and air testing are fully compliant with the asbestos Health and Safety Guidelines (HSG) 248, accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 by UKAS and in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
After the survey you will receive a survey report that details all asbestos materials found, along with photographs and recommendations on how to manage the asbestos safely.
Although surveys are handled by licenced contractors, there are many ways that you can prepare for and streamline an asbestos survey:
Find out more about how you can plan for an asbestos survey here.
Its important to note that an asbestos management survey is just the first step and you’ll need to act upon any immediate actions raised. The information provided will give you everything you need to go on to create an asbestos management plan, should it be found in your premises, to ensure that it is does not pose a significant risk to occupants, visitors or contractors.
As part of the ongoing management, ACMs should be periodically reinspected to check their condition hasn’t deteriorated, or they have become vulnerable to damage.
Franks Portlock are more than happy to assist you with all of this, including costings for removal/remediation and carry our air testing and clearance certification.
Don’t forget that if future refurbishments are required, a management survey is unlikely to suffice and a project specific refurbishment survey will need to be arranged for a more intrusive inspection.