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What’s involved in asbestos surveys and what are the different types?

Last Updated on 28 September 2021

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Is an asbestos survey a legal requirement?

If you own or maintain none-domestic premises that were built before the year 2000, then it is a legal requirement for you to manage any asbestos containing materials ACM’s that are present.  This is usually done by commissioning an asbestos survey from a qualified surveyor. There are different types of asbestos surveys to choose from and these are outlined below.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 outlines a duty of care to protect anyone who visits your property. By having a survey completed you are able to start the process.

If someone is potentially harmed by asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) on your premises and you do not have one of the correct types of asbestos surveys in place, then you are at risk of facing potentially serious legal sanctions.

Therefore, to comply with the law, all ‘none domestic’ premises built before the year 2000, require some form of asbestos register or check to ensure asbestos containing materials can be safely managed

What types of asbestos surveys are there?

Historically, asbestos surveys were grouped as ‘types’.  The types of asbestos surveys available were referred to as ‘Type’ 1, 2 & 3.

The problem was this approach was confusing, and as you can imagine, not only were duty holders and contractors confused, but it lead to mistakes occurring.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 cleared up this issue and now there are just two principal types of asbestos surveys, depending on your plans for a none domestic property.

The basic or standard survey required is known as a ‘Management Asbestos Survey’.

This survey is the basic starting point for all ‘Duty Holders’.

A duty holder is the person legally responsible for ensuring asbestos is managed within a none domestic property.

Domestic properties (other than common areas such as in blocks of flats) are excluded from this ‘management’ responsibility.  However, you still need a survey prior to any work being undertaken within a domestic property).

The duty Holder is usually the owner of the property or the tenant responsible for maintenance as defined in the ‘lease’.

Management Asbestos Surveys explained

A Management Survey is required to allow you to monitor and manage asbestos-containing materials during the normal occupation and use of your premises. It will normally take the form of a visual inspection, with a minimum of intrusive work and material sampling where appropriate.

The surveyor or inspector may be able to identify ACMs without taking samples.

Most functioning commercial or multi-tenancy properties require a management survey.

Of the different types of asbestos surveys, this particular type of survey aims to ensure that where ACMs are present on the premises or in equipment, they can be managed safely and that no-one is harmed by their continuing presence.

It also verifies that sufficient measures are in place so that visitors or employees do not accidentally disturb it. It’s likely that there will be some minor asbestos disturbance in order to assess the material. 

A management survey will also provide guidance on maintaining a safe environment and what steps to take if remedial work is required.

Once you have an asbestos survey or register in place, the duty holder must then manage the asbestos to protect the occupants and any tradesmen who attend the property. This is achieved by implementing an asbestos management plan.  The asbestos management plan should also be reviewed following any material changes or at least annually

Refurbishment/Demolition Surveys explained

The second type of survey recognised by the regulations is a ‘refurbishment/demolition asbestos survey’.

A Refurbishment/Demolition Survey must take place prior to major refurbishment, remedial works or demolition of a premises.  Or another words, prior to any work that goes beyond the remit of the original management asbestos survey. Particularly where works are invasive such as new heating systems, windows, ceilings and electrical works.

A suitably qualified asbestos surveyor is normally required to carry out the survey.

Of the different types of asbestos surveys, this particular survey aims to ensure that the planned work will be carried out by a suitable contractor in the right way, and that no-one will be harmed by working around ACM in the equipment or premises.

The survey area, where possible, should be vacant while the survey takes place as it will involve disturbance of materials and destructive inspection of ACMs. 

Completing any type of refurbishment or demolition works without a refurbishment/demolition survey taking place first is potentially a breach of the CAR 2012 Regulations and can result in enforcement action.

In domestic properties, there is also a duty under Regulations 5 & 6 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

When tradesmen attend a property (commercial or domestic) they have to be protected by their employer from asbestos exposure. The only safe way to achieve this is by having the appropriate type of asbestos survey and a suitable plan of work.

Re-inspection Asbestos Survey

Should you encounter the phrase ‘re-inspection asbestos survey’, this relates to the management aspects of the Control of Asbestos Regulations CAR 2012.

As part of the ‘management plan’, any ACM’s should be reinspected following any material changes or at least annually.

This allows the duty holder to maintain chronological evidence they have dispensed their legal duty over time.

Asbestos containing materials can deteriorate over time or become damaged by contractors and maintenance staff if they are not correctly managed. We look after many clients properties around the UK and provide this service.

Get in touch for advice on different types of asbestos surveys

Any persons conducting any type of asbestos surveys should be appropriately trained and monitored, to ensure they reach the standard required by the health and Safety Guidance Document HSG 264.

All surveyors at RB Asbestos Consultants have a minimum of ten years’ experience conducting asbestos surveys across the UK, Eire and other parts of the globe.

If you need any advice at all on the different types of asbestos surveys and which is required for your property, then please call 0800 141 2676.

We help all types of organisations from Charities, Housing Associations right up to UK and international companies.

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