Duty To Manage Asbestos
Last Updated on 14 December 2022
Who has the ‘duty to manage’ asbestos in buildings?
A building owner or manager has a ‘legal duty’ to manage asbestos in non-domestic buildings under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. What does this mean in practice? And, more importantly, what do you need to do to ensure you are complying with the law?
This article provides an overview of the key duties relating to the management of asbestos in non-domestic premises, and outlines some steps that you can take to meet your obligations.
So, If we start at the beginning, under the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 there is a legal duty to manage asbestos in buildings you control.
This duty applies to all non-domestic property, but does it apply to you personally?
Duty to manage applies if:-
- You own the building;
- You are responsible through a contract or tenancy agreement;
- You have control of the building but no formal contract or agreement;
- You are the owner and have taken responsibility for maintenance and repairs for the whole building in a multi-occupancy building.
What is the duty to manage asbestos?
Asbestos is a hazardous material that, if improperly managed, can be harmful. The legal obligation for building owners and managers to take action to locate and manage asbestos in their buildings is known as the “duty to manage asbestos.”
In order to protect the safety of building occupants and employees who may be exposed to asbestos, this usually entails completing an asbestos survey to identify the presence and location of asbestos, devising a plan for managing asbestos, and putting that plan into action.
To summarise, the duty to manage asbestos requires the person who has the duty to:-
- take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in
- presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
- make and keep up-to-date, an asbestos management plan
- periodically review and monitor the plan
In addition to conducting an asbestos survey and developing a plan for managing asbestos, property owners and managers who have a duty to manage asbestos are also required to:-
- provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them
- Take measures to prevent or reduce the airborne discharge of asbestos fibres.
- To make sure ACMs are safe and not discharging asbestos fibres, and to examine them frequently.
- If ACMs are damaged or disturbed, take quick steps to stop the release of asbestos fibres.
- If ACMs are in poor condition or may be disturbed during building activity, arrange to remove or encapsulate them.
- Use legal and safe disposal methods for ACMs.
What types of buildings are affected by the Duty?
Most building types, including commercial, industrial, and public buildings, are subject to the duty to manage asbestos in the UK.
Due to the widespread use of asbestos in building materials prior to 2000, it is especially crucial for buildings constructed before that year.
It is also vital to keep in mind that anyone who has responsibility over the upkeep or repair of a building, such as facility managers and landlords, are equally responsible for managing asbestos.
So to summarise, here are all the types of buildings that are affected:-
- All non-domestic buildings, whatever the type of business.
- The common areas of domestic buildings, e.g. halls, stairwells, lift shafts, roof spaces etc.
- All other domestic properties are not affected by the duty to manage.
Are there any other requirements under the Duty to Manage?
Yes – if you are not the ‘duty holder’ but have information about the building, you must co-operate with the duty holder. For example ‘leaseholders’ must allow managing agents access for inspection.
It is important for property owners, managers and non duty holders to understand and comply with these requirements to prevent the potential risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Now you know who is responsible and has the duty to manage, how do you meet that legal obligation?
The first thing to do is contact us to Arrange Asbestos Management on your property.
Please also read our blog post ‘How do I manage Asbestos?’ for the simplest way to proceed in managing any asbestos in your property’.
Organise an asbestos survey for your property today!
We can assist you with your duty to manage in your commercial property or non domestic building.
Whether it is a single property, or a portfolio of properties, RB Asbestos can carry out a comprehensive asbestos survey for your premises regardless of what industry sector you operate in.
The RB Asbestos team have three decades worth of experience in carrying out asbestos surveys, so you can have full confidence in us to handle your asbestos-related issues.
To discuss our services with a dedicated RB asbestos advisor, please call 0800 141 2676.
Alternatively, if you are unable to speak to our team over the phone right now you can arrange for us to contact you at a more suitable time by completing our online enquiry form.