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Asbestos Surveys are an effective in ensuring that any products which are suspected of containing asbestos are identified quickly, thus reducing exposure to friable asbestos fibres. The survey can identify the location of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s), assess the amount of asbestos and also confirm the type of asbestos such as Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Tremolite, Anthophyllite or Actinolite.
If you are a Dutyholder (someone who owns or is responsible for a building) you may have a legal obligation to ensure that you identify asbestos within the building and that you are managing it correctly through an asbestos survey. It might be that you need to ensure that staff and customers are not exposed to asbestos or because you are planning renovation or demolition work. Absolute Asbestos Solutions Ltd carry out both Management and R&D asbestos survey reports.
It is also becoming increasingly common form mortgage lenders to request an asbestos survey is carried out on a property if it is being mortgaged or remortgaged.
Asbestos can be found in many different products and forms including concrete, waste water pipes, insulation, heating ducts, textured coatings, toilet cisterns, gaskets and many other materials.
The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) separate surveys into three categories:
Asbestos Management survey – A visual inspection of a property or area of works. Samples from any exposed suspected asbestos materials (where reasonable practicable) are taken but any materials which cannot be accessed can only be presumed to contain asbestos. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘standard’ survey.
Asbestos Refurbishment Survey – A survey carried out when it’s possible that the fabric of a building may be disturbed during refurbishment or soft strip demolition.
Asbestos Demolition Survey – A survey carried our if a build or part of a building is to be demolished.
Sometimes, Refurbishment and Demolition surveys are incorporated into one (referred to as an R&D Survey by the Health & Safety Executive). R&D Surveys are particularly important for renovation or demolition work as a builder or demolition contractor may stop work if they suspect asbestos is present without a report to confirm otherwise. You may find that many companies only offer two surveys, but they can be split into three as necessary.
If you are a Dutyholder and the building was constructed prior to November 1999 you should make sure you are managing asbestos correctly – see do I need an asbestos survey for more detailed information.
Asbestos surveys should always be carried out by a competent person.
You should never break or disturb and material which you suspect contains asbestos. This could allow friable asbestos fibres into the surrounding air posing a risk to your health and those around you.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) set out clearly the requirements regarding domestic and non-domestic properties and when an analysis of a property may be required. For example, all non-domestic properties building prior to 1999 must undergo a refurbishment survey before any refurbishment, alteration, adaptation or demolition work is carried out and details of the asbestos found during the inspection must be reviewed, recorded and actioned in accordance with CAR 2012.
There may be telltale signs that a premises contain asbestos you may be able to tell by looking at builders invoices to show what materials were used in the construction or refurbishment of a building, but the only way to be totally sure is to have a professional asbestos survey completed.
If you have any doubts regarding a material in your premises you must always assume it contains asbestos – it’s the law. To be completely sure if a material contains asbestos you can have an asbestos test carried out on the suspected asbestos contain material.
We recommended that you instruct someone with the relevant training and experience in conducting asbestos surveys and that the survey is completed utilising the HSE guidance on Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials. You should also insure that, like us, they hold suitable liability and indemnity insurance.
Beleive it or not, there’s no law that says an asbestos surveyor must be qualified. This means that some surveys are produced by inexperienced people and can be substandard which may mean that some items are missed and that you have to pay for another survey to be carried out. It’s therefore important that you employ the services of a qualified person who carries either a BOHS P.402 qualification in Surveying and Sampling Strategies for Asbestos in Buildings or a UKAS accreditation.