Dutyholders are required to identify and manage any asbestos present in their buildings, as well as any potential ACMs that may be disturbed during demolition or refurbishment works. An asbestos survey is required in all non-domestic premises constructed up to 1999 unless there is evidence to prove that no asbestos is present. Those responsible for the management of asbestos in buildings including building owners, managing agents and employers need to be clear on the type of asbestos survey required, where and when the survey is needed, and the information required. This information will also be of interest to architects, surveyors and those involved in property development and refurbishment.
The purpose of the survey is to help manage asbestos in the dutyholder’s premises. It must provide sufficient information to allow an asbestos register to be prepared, an appropriate risk assessment to be carried out and an asbestos management plan to be written to manage the risks resulting from the presence of any ACMs.
The survey undertaken must:
- As far as reasonably practicable locate and record the location, extent and product type of any presumed or known ACMs.
- Inspect and record information on the accessibility, condition and surface treatment of any presumed or known ACMs.
- Determine and record the asbestos type, either by collecting representative samples of suspect materials for laboratory identification, or by making a presumption based on the product type and its appearance etc.
- There are two types of survey relating to asbestos containing materials (ACMs): a management survey and a refurbishment or demolition survey.
- Additionally if asbestos is identified and left in situ it must be managed appropriately. This will involve conducting regular re-inspection surveys to check the condition of the asbestos.
Asbestos Management Survey
A management survey is the standard type of survey required to locate as far as is reasonably practicable and determine the extent of any suspected asbestos containing materials (ACMs) present which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation. The condition of the ACMs and their ability to release fibres into the air should also be assessed.
The survey will involve sampling and analysis to confirm the presence of asbestos and may as a result entail minor intrusive work and some disturbance. The amount involved will depend on the type of building, the nature of its construction etc.
Asbestos can alternatively be presumed to be present. However presuming the presence of asbestos may result in additional cost and time delays as it may only defer the need for sampling and analysis until a later date such as at a time when any work is carried out.
It is advised to carry out sampling and analysis to ascertain whether any presumed materials positively identify as asbestos prior to undertaking any work, as any work carried out on presumed materials would need to involve appropriate contractors and work methods in compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 irrespective of whether the material was actually an ACM or not.
Once you have undertaken a survey it does not need repeating but as part of your on-going asbestos management plan there is a requirement to monitor the condition of any asbestos present in your building.
The condition of any known or presumed ACMs should be checked periodically in order to ensure that they have not deteriorated or been damaged. The frequency of monitoring will depend upon the location of each ACM along with other factors which could affect its condition.