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Asbestos Demolition Survey

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Last Updated on 4 July 2023

asbestos demolition survey commercial building manchester

A large commercial building in Manchester where we recently carried out an asbestos demolition survey

What is an asbestos demolition survey?

Under the most recent guidance produced by the HSE (HSG 246), asbestos surveys are broken down into two main types, meaning you’ll either need an asbestos management or refurb/demolition survey.

For instance, a management asbestos survey is the basic survey all none domestic properties constructed prior to 2000 should have/hold. This reflects the day to day occupation and any maintenance activities.

Any asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) that are located must then be managed within an asbestos management plan AMP. The plan should be updated following any major changes, but at least annually, and all ACM’s must be re-inspected.

In comparison, the second type is a Refurbishment/Demolition asbestos survey. This has a fairly wide scope as the title suggests, and is aimed at covering properties where demolition or refurbishment will take place.

Most professionals break this down into its constituent parts. In particular, the refurbishment survey should be targeted at the specifics of the refurbishment and there should be an appropriate scope of works provided to assist the survey team.

In addition, the client should also provide plans showing both the current and the proposed layouts.  This would be preferable to a general “ we are going back to shell” type of conversation, which is vague and can cause confusion.

It is also important to note here that, if the scope of works subsequently changes following the survey but prior to the works, the survey should be updated to reflect the changes.

When is a demolition survey carried out?

An asbestos demolition survey is conducted prior to the demolition of the property. This often requires the survey team to use aggressive inspection techniques to get into the fabric of the building. Ultimately, the surveyor is trying to reflect, within the survey, the eventual work that will be undertaken.

Furthermore, this can involve removing floorboards, breaking through concrete floors and walls, putting larger access holes in walls, cladding and removing existing pipe or loft insulation.

In most cases, the property will be left unsightly and unusable for normal activities. Except in exceptional circumstances, the property should be empty prior to the asbestos survey and not occupied post the asbestos demolition survey.

How we prepare for asbestos surveys

At RB Asbestos Consultants, we regularly carry out these types of refurbishment and demolition surveys for clients. The initial stage will be a site visit followed by a desk top study and discussion around access and potential damage.

Within the quoted cost, we would include for MEWP access to high level parts of the building. We will also ask the client to provide specialist engineers to allow access into switchgear, lift shafts and HVAC equipment.

There are some occasions when buildings are in an unsafe state due to dilapidation or fire damage. It is important that information is passed to survey teams so that they can provide appropriate risk assessment and method statements.

In cases where the building is structurally unsafe, the HSE will allow the building to be carefully demolished with appropriate controls, and then any asbestos dealt with at that time.


asbestos demolition survey chester house

Another example of an old commercial building where we recently carried out a demolition survey

What is the legal guidance on the demolition of buildings with asbestos?

The current guidance expects all parts of a building to be accessed prior to final demolition. There may still be certain parts that are not accessible until the demolition process, such as under floor slabs. These should then be accessed carefully during the demolition phase.

Therefore, It is important to remember that demolishing a building, or even refurbishment of a property, without an appropriate survey is an offence that can result in a Prohibition Notice, Fines or time in jail.

Contact us for advice

If you want to know more about having an asbestos demolition survey, or you need general asbestos advice in relation to any properties you own, maintain or control, then please contact us on 0800 141 2676, email us at info@rbasbestos.co.uk or fill in the contact form below.

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