What is Asbestos Surveying?

What is Asbestos Surveying?You’re undoubtedly aware that if you have an older building, it needs an asbestos survey prior to beginning any renovation work. But, what is asbestos surveying exactly?

In a nutshell, an asbestos survey is a survey conducted by a professional surveyor to determine the location and extent of any asbestos in your building.

The first step is to contact a professional company with the qualified and experienced surveyors to conduct the survey. You may have some information about your building. This could prove to be useful in sourcing any asbestos-containing materials within it.

The surveyor will do an initial walk-through of your building, observing any potential asbestos-containing materials. As asbestos was widely used as a building material additive, it is found in many parts of a building. The insulation, for example, is likely to contain asbestos. The flooring tiles, ceiling boards, gutters and drain pipes are also prime examples of materials that contain asbestos.

During the walk-through of your building, the surveyor will also have a look at anything that is likely to hinder the project, ensure the plans of your building are valid, and risk assess the site.

After the walk-through, the surveyor begins his survey. He will methodically and carefully move through the entire building. The surveyor will take a look at everything that could possibly contain asbestos. He will also note if there are any hard to reach areas and whether there is a possibility that they also contain asbestos. It is always safer to assume that a material contains asbestos than not.

The surveyor will take photographs of the inside of the building as evidence of where the suspected asbestos-containing materials are. This will be added to his report.

Different types of surveys

There are different types of asbestos surveys. These depend on what is going to happen to the building. If it is to be used as a day-to-day working environment, a management survey is most suitable. However, if the building is due to be demolished or refurbished, a refurb/demo survey is necessary.

  • A management survey is the standard survey on offer. The main purpose of this type of survey is to locate the presence and extent of any suspected asbestos-containing materials within a building. These are the asbestos-containing materials that are likely to be disturbed or damaged during normal occupancy of the building. This includes possible maintenance and refurbishment works in the future. This survey also assesses their condition.
  • A refurb/demo survey is a little more extensive. A fully intrusive survey, it will include destructive inspection in order to gain access to all areas. This survey is mandatory if any construction or demolition work is planned for the building. A refurb/demo survey does not assess the condition of the asbestos-containing materials. Rather, it notes the areas of damage and where additional asbestos debris is likely to be found.

Why is an asbestos survey necessary?

What is Asbestos Surveying?Asbestos as regarded as the ‘wonder’ material in the past. It was added to building materials because it offered a number of attractive properties that were ideal for the construction industry. These included strength, insulation, heat and chemical resistance among others. It is easy to see why asbestos as given this accolade.

However, exposure to asbestos fibres has a lethal effect on those who inhale or swallow them. It was found that workers exposed to asbestos fibres suffered from incurable disease and cancer years after exposure to the asbestos fibres.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. However, when it is old or damaged, it will release its fibres into the air. The fibres are tiny and cannot be seen with the naked eye. In addition, they are hard and sharp, and when inhaled can lodge in the lining of the lungs. The human body cannot dispel these fibres.

If an asbestos survey is conducted, the location and the condition of the asbestos-containing materials are determined. This in turn provides the necessary information to compile a comprehensive management plan.

A management plan is the course of action that a building owner/manager will follow to ensure that the occupants of the building g are safe from exposure to asbestos fibres.

What to do if there are suspected asbestos-containing materials in a building

As it is the responsibility of the building owner or manager to ensure that the building is legally compliant, he must first arrange for an asbestos survey to take place.

Speak to a professional company that provides asbestos surveys. They can assist with the necessary information the building owner requires about an asbestos survey. In addition, they’ll confirm the decision regarding the most suitable asbestos survey needed for the building.

The asbestos surveyor will visit the building for an initial assessment for the best course of action. The right asbestos survey will be decided on.

The building may need a management survey, or it may need a refurb/demo demo survey. When this has been decided on, a date will be scheduled to conduct the survey. If a refurb/demo survey is the necessary survey, the building needs to be vacated during the survey because of the intrusive destruction that may take place.

The survey will be conducted according to the guidelines as set out by the HSE. This ensures the safety of all concerned. If there are suspected asbestos-containing materials, samples may be removed for testing.

In addition, if there are asbestos-containing materials that must be removed, an authorised asbestos removal company will be contacted to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos-containing materials.

We can assist

If you are looking for a professional company with many years of experience for the right asbestos survey for your building, we are available to assist.

Give us a ring at ACS to schedule a site visit and to learn ho our professional team of surveyors can assist you with the right asbestos survey for your building.

We have the experience, knowledge, skill and credentials to ensure peace of mind and a thorough, professional asbestos survey for the building.