Asbestos surveys are an extremely important tool when it comes to asbestos management. An asbestos survey is an inspection of a building or structure, internally and externally, in order to locate, identify and quantify asbestos-containing materials. Whatever type of survey is employed, the ultimate aim is to assess the risk and prevent those occupying or working within the building from coming into contact with airborne asbestos fibres.
Why Are Asbestos Surveys Important?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that, before it was banned in 2000, was regularly used in buildings for insulation, roofing and flooring. Asbestos materials in buildings, if undisturbed, poses little threat. However, when it becomes damaged, the fibres are released into the air and if inhaled they can lead to a number of serious lung conditions. Examples of those who may come into contact with asbestos include the following: anyone who may disturb the fabric of buildings, people who work on contaminated land and anyone maintaining a building that may be affected by asbestos use.
To prevent this exposure, information is needed on whether asbestos-containing materials are likely to be present in the buildings so that an assessment can be made and necessary actions can be taken depending on the fact that there is any asbestos and/or the asbestos type. The asbestos survey needs to provide sufficient information to allow for a risk assessment, asbestos register and management plan to be prepared.
Do I Need An Asbestos Survey?
There are numerous reasons you might find yourself needing an asbestos survey, from whether it is your responsibility as a duty holder, or if you’re buying or selling a property. Although it is not a legal requirement, apart from in buildings built before the year 2000, it is good practice to have an asbestos survey carried out so you can be absolutely sure whether asbestos is present or not.
Asbestos is often hidden and can go undetected and undisturbed for years, either in parts of the building that are rarely seen or a part of constituent building materials. Meaning many building owners are completely unaware of its presence. Asbestos surveys can help to identify the presence before it becomes a safety risk and potentially lead to a number of legal implications.
The control of asbestos regulation makes it clear that the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises falls to the owner or any person, or organisation, that has direct responsibility for its maintenance and repair – by a lease agreement for example.
The Different Types Of Asbestos Surveys
There are different types of asbestos surveys, each suitable for different situations, and it is critically important that you choose the right one. The three main types of surveys are; management surveys, pre-demolition surveys and pre-refurbishment surveys.
Surveys can be carried out by someone in-house or a third party, but the surveyor must have a competent understanding in order to carry out the survey to the right standard. Because if done inadequately the consequences can be disastrous. As well as offering asbestos surveys, Franks Portlock also provides UKATA-certified Asbestos Awareness Training courses that are comprehensive and fully compliant with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
If your (non-domestic) property was built before 2000, there is a legal duty to have an asbestos survey in place. For properties built after 2000, it is not a legal requirement, however, it is good practice to have an asbestos survey carried out so you can be absolutely sure whether asbestos is present or not.
A management survey is the basis of any asbestos management plan. This type of survey will be required during the normal occupation and use of a building to maintain the continued management of asbestos. Management surveys work to identify any asbestos within premises that may be accessible through normal building occupancy, including basic maintenance and installation work.
To find any asbestos within premises that may be accessible through normal building occupancy, including basic maintenance and installation work. A management survey is the basis of any asbestos management plan.
Refurbishment and demolition asbestos surveys are vitally important tools in assessing the safety of contractors working with buildings. It is unlikely that information gained during a management survey will suffice unless refurbishment works are very minor and not intrusive.
A pre-demolition asbestos survey works to identify asbestos-containing materials so that they can be removed from the site in preparation for the demolition. It involves a fully intrusive inspection, to check the building fabric for the presence of asbestos that could be hidden in the structure.
A pre-refurbishment survey is typically required prior to commencing building refurbishment works. An intrusive inspection is likely required in this instance, but it is dependent on the scope of refurbishment work. This might range from redecoration to the complete removal of internal and external materials, that can help identify any asbestos-containing material.
Our Asbestos Surveys
Asbestos surveys are an important part of duty holders’, employers’ and clients’ legal responsibilities to help manage the risks from asbestos. Franks Portlock offers asbestos surveys to cover all eventualities that will be presented in an asbestos survey report.
So if you find yourself asking, do I need an asbestos survey? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team and they can help and advise you with any queries and concerns you may have.