How Do I Know If I Need an Asbestos Survey?

How Do I Know If I Need an Asbestos Survey?The topic of asbestos and asbestos surveys is sometimes confusing. Many building owners are uncertain about whether their buildings need an asbestos survey or not.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and it was widely used in the past as an additive to building material. Offering great properties such as chemical and heat resistance, along with increased insulation and strength; it was added to a wide variety of materials used in the building industry.

In fact, many items in a building that we take for granted are likely contain asbestos.  These range from the ceiling, flooring tiles, insulation, cisterns and more, asbestos can be found in many parts of a building.

Why is an asbestos survey necessary?

As asbestos was extensively used in the building and construction trade, it is still evident in many buildings today.  While it was banned from use, if a building was erected before 2000, it most probably contains asbestos within its structure.

Asbestos can be dangerous; however it is not harmful if in a good condition and left alone.  It is however, dangerous when it deteriorates or is disturbed. What happens is that its microscopic fibres become airborne, increasing the risk of exposure through inhalation by those in the building.

A survey will determine the amount, the location and condition of any asbestos-containing material in the building.

It is a legal requirement

All non domestic properties and public areas of domestic properties that were constructed in the years before 2000 require an asbestos survey.  This is a legal requirement.  When an asbestos survey is completed, it provides the necessary information to help better manage any asbestos-containing materials within the building.  This, in turn, can help save lives.

The effects of asbestos

Asbestos is known as the hidden killer.  With good reason as it is many years after a person has inhaled asbestos fibres before they begin to display symptoms of an asbestos-related disease. By then, there is nothing more that can be done.

An asbestos survey can indicate where the dangers lie and these can be removed and disposed of as necessary.

Asbestos fibres are small.  In fact, they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some fibres are also strong and needle like.  When they’re inhaled, they lodge in the lining of a person’s lungs.  As the body cannot break them down, they remain permanently, causing both disease and cancer such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Not sure whether your building needs an asbestos survey?

If your building is an old building, it likely has asbestos-containing materials in it.  Additionally, if your building was constructed before the use of asbestos was banned, the chances of it having asbestos in it are extremely high.

An asbestos survey can determine the amount and condition of any asbestos in your building.

Is there more than 1 type of asbestos survey?

There are 2 types of asbestos surveys available to property owners.

  • The first is called a Management Survey. This survey is the most popular survey.  It serves to locate the presence and extent of any asbestos-containing material in the building.  It includes the asbestos that is likely to be disturbed during normal occupancy of the building.  Normal occupancy should also include regular maintenance of the building.
  • The second asbestos survey is called the Refurb/Demo survey. This survey is more intrusive than the management survey. It is required if any refurbishment or alterations are planned or if the building is scheduled for demolition.

Which type of asbestos survey is the right one for my building?

All old buildings need an asbestos survey.  The asbestos survey assists with preparing a management plan. The management plan is also required by law.

It provides the information on how the building owner or the person or organisation responsible for the maintenance or repairs – also called the duty holder – will manage any asbestos-containing materials in his building so that the occupants are not at risk.

If your building is used for daily commercial purpose such as an office or shop, it needs a Management Survey.

However, if you are planning on alterations or refurbishment work, a Refurb/Demo Survey is necessary.  The reason for this is that any work done on the building is likely to disturb the asbestos within it.  This may then cause the release of the asbestos fibres, increasing the risk of exposure to anyone working in the building.

Domestic buildings do not need an asbestos survey except in certain instances. These include the common areas in a block of flats such as the foyer, stairwell and laundry rooms.

An asbestos survey requires a surveyor that has the right accreditations, experience and knowledge to perform the survey.

Who can assist me with the right asbestos survey for my building?

As exposure to asbestos fibres is lethal, it is essential that a qualified and experienced surveyor conducts the survey.  They have the experience in dealing with all types of asbestos surveys.  They also have the appropriate training and skill.

If you are searching for the right team for an asbestos survey for your building, we can assist.  We have a professional team of surveyors, all of whom have the training, experience, knowledge and skill to conduct a safe and reliable asbestos survey.

Our surveyors can provide the survey that is most suitable for your needs.  In addition, the information our surveyor obtains from the survey is essential in creating a valuable management plan.  Our survey will ensure that the information you receive is relevant, easy to understand and is appropriate for the best course of action for your building.

Moreover, if any of the asbestos-containing materials need to be removed and correctly disposed of, we can refer you to the appropriate asbestos removal company.

Furthermore, all the asbestos surveys we conduct are in accordance with the guidelines set out by the HSE survey guide HSG264.

If you are uncertain about whether you need an asbestos survey, speak to our experts.  We’re happy to provide the right advice and suggestions for a safer building for you and your employees.

You can rely on our expert team of surveyors to provide the right asbestos survey for your building, safely and effectively.