How Much for an Asbestos Survey?

Before the year 2000, asbestos was a common construction material.  It was added to cement and used to insulate plumbing and electricals.  However, in 1999 the UK government banned asbestos because it was found to trigger certain ailments.  In 2004, it was legally mandated that commercial building owners and occupiers were responsible for asbestos.

asbestos survey cost

image of asbestos

What does this mean?  As the head of your corporate household (or as the person who signs the office lease), you should check with the local council about their rules and requirements around asbestos.  After all, a lot more asbestos-related legislation has been passed over the years.  These compliance terms have raised the demand for asbestos surveys.  

So … how much do they cost?

Type of property

Management survey

Refurbishment/demolition survey

Up to 1,000 square foot retail space (small)

£300 – £400

£300 – £400

Up to 5,000 square foot retail space (medium)

£400 – £500

£450 – £550

Up to 10,000 square foot retail space (large)

£450 – £650

£500 – £700

Up to 2,000 square foot warehouse (small)

£300 – £500

£400 – £550

Warehouse 2,000+ square feet with offices (large)

£650 – £700

£700 – £900

Up to 2,000 square foot office complex (small)

£400 – £550

£500 – £700

Up to 10,000 square foot office complex (medium)

£700 – £900

£1000 – £2000

Up to 50,000 square foot office complex (large)

£2000 – £4000

£2500 – £5000

You might be feeling a little lost in the jargon, so let’s dig deeper into the types of asbestos surveys. As you can see from the price list, there are two main types of surveys.  Here at ACS, we categorise our surveys as either management surveys or refurb-demolition surveys. Other companies class theirs as Type 1, 2, or 3.  They might also distinguish domestic from corporate.

Levels of asbestos treatment

Before we get to that, let’s talk about asbestos removal vs asbestos management.  In its original form, asbestos is fused into cement or woven into thermal fibres, as well as being present in many other materials that were used within the construction industry.  As long as it stays intact and in a good condition, it is relatively safe.  Asbestos only really becomes a problem when it disintegrates or becomes damaged and as its dust can float in the air, and it could get onto your skin, or you might accidentally breathe it in.

So in cases where the asbestos is present but not exposed, we can advise you on how to manage it and keep it from becoming a health hazard.  But in cases where the asbestos is already ‘loose’, or in situations where it is in a damaged condition and could come loose, then you need a plan to either repair it or remove it altogether.

An asbestos management survey, therefore, is carried out to identify and quantify any suspect asbestos-containing materials, record their condition and their location, and offer advice on what, if anything, you need to do to these materials, depending on their condition.  If there are areas where damage or deterioration has occurred, it may be necessary to carry out air monitoring to check if there are any free-floating fibres, if there are, then repair and/or removal, and environmental cleaning may be required.  Also, this may or may not involve a more thorough refurbishment/demolition survey, which is more invasive, but usually only carried out prior to any major refurbishment or demolition works being carried out the property.

Working your way through asbestos

On its own, refurbishment/demolition surveys are more interested in where the asbestos is located and its quantity, rather than its current condition. At this point, you’ve already run through the management survey, so what you’re doing is damage control.  You want to see where exactly the asbestos is positioned. This helps your team to:

  • Approach that area with caution, avoiding excessive asbestos exposure
  • Verify every affected area and ensure you get all of it out

Refurbishment/demolition asbestos surveys are thorough. You may destroy wiring and plaster in the process, as you search for those asbestos-laced spots. It needs to be systematic because you’ll be inspecting pipes and pulling back plaster and since the whole building is either being refurbished or demolished, it can be hard to tell what was done by the inspector and what was done by the demolition contractor.

This isn’t a problem in itself, but if your asbestos management team doesn’t have a system, they’re likely to overlook some areas.  For example, they may wander into a room and find peeled pipes, then assume these have already been checked for asbestos. However, that might just be the plumber looking for leaks before s/he pulls out any washers. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a professional team.  They have a proven process, keep good accurate records, and rather than hemming you in, they suggest asbestos management alternatives. Our ACS asbestos team has all these qualities, and we are fully insured too.

Protecting ourselves to protect you

Why does insurance matter?  Well, inhaling asbestos isn’t the only risk of this job.  Our team will be scaling wall plaster, checking crawl spaces, and assessing ceiling pipes. They may hurt themselves, so it helps to know our corporate insurance will handle any fallout, pun intended.

So whether you’re replacing your suburb with a flat or switching your bath tub for a shower cubicle, be sure to work with authorised, licensed asbestos assessors.  And don’t fall for panic-inducing schemes.  It’s pretty easy to get a nervous cough, jump onto Google, and convince yourself you’re infected, when in reality, you just choked on a bad joke.

Similarly, an inspector who walks into your building and instantly claims to ‘smell’ asbestos is probably a scammer.  Asbestos is microscopic, so you need a sample analysis to identify its presence.  Talk to your building manager and industry peers.  Find out who they use for their asbestos inspection. Call up the company and ask questions.

You want to see their licensing documents, and proof of qualifications to carry out this type of work.  You could ask if they have any customers that may be willing to provide you with a reference; it doesn’t hurt to ask.