It is the responsibility of the duty holder to manage any asbestos within his building. The duty holder is either the owner of the building, or the person responsible for managing the building. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 clearly state the responsibilities of the duty holder.
That said, the regulations require that all commercial buildings erected before the year 2000 should have a management of asbestos plan in place. This essential plan can be put into place once a survey has been conducted. Domestic buildings are not included in this mandate except for areas that are in use by the public such as common rooms and foyers.
However, as many domestic properties were also constructed prior to 2000, it is highly likely that they too contain asbestos. Thus, homeowners may feel that an asbestos survey is necessary for their buildings.
Why is an asbestos survey mandatory?
The reason for an asbestos survey is to determine the amount, the condition and the location of any asbestos-containing materials within a building. Any asbestos-containing materials are assessed to determine their condition, and whether they are likely to be disturbed or damaged in day-to-day use of the building.
It is when asbestos is disturbed that is poses a problem. Some asbestos, when it ages or is damaged, becomes friable and can release its fibres into the air. These fibres are needle-like, microscopic and extremely sharp. Unsuspecting people, such as workers in the building may inhale these fibres.
The fibres can attach to the lining of a person’s lungs. In fact, because they are so small, they can be pulled deeper into the lungs with every breath. They are so strong that the body cannot break them down. This can lead to incurable diseases and cancer.
However, exposure to asbestos doesn’t have an immediate effect. It takes years for the symptoms to develop. Unfortunately, disease and cancer caused by asbestos is incurable.
Exposure to asbestos can cause serious, lethal disease and cancer. These include mesothelioma, pleural plaque, asbestosis, and lung cancer. In fact, asbestos-related disease kills up to 5000 people annually. Known as the ‘silent killer’, symptoms are evident only later in life after exposure. Thus, it is essential to ensure that every workspace is safe for employees. The use of asbestos in construction is now banned.
Asbestos offered many favourable benefits when added to construction materials. It was cheap and easily accessible. Asbestos added strength to building materials, along with excellent insulation properties. Furthermore, adding asbestos to building materials ensured good fire protection and provided anti-corrosion properties.
How can you keep your building safe?
The first step is to contact a professional asbestos survey company. There are 2 types of asbestos survey, each designed for a specific need. If your building is a commercial building and is also your work premises, a management survey will be necessary.
Asbestos on its own is not dangerous. It is only when it ages, or is damaged that it becomes lethal. An asbestos survey can help determine what state the asbestos is in. It can also determine how much of it there is and where it actually is in the building.
The 2nd type of asbestos survey is called the refurb/demo survey. This particular survey is essential if you are planning on renovations to the building, or, if you are planning on having the building demolished. Any type of construction work on a building can cause damage to any asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos can be found in a huge number of parts within a building. Ceiling boards, flooring tiles, insulation and guttering are but a few of the places asbestos can be found.
A refurb/demo survey is mandatory prior to any building work taking place on a building.
Types of asbestos surveys – which is best?
The 2 types of asbestos surveys are the management survey and the refurb/demo survey. The type of survey necessary for your building depends on how you will be using your building.
- A management survey is a non-intrusive survey. It is mostly a visual inspection and locates the type and condition of the asbestos. Furthermore, it provides guidance on any necessary remedial action. The management survey is for normal building occupation and finds any asbestos that could be disturbed by normal activities.
- A refurb/demo asbestos survey typically includes destructive inspection. It is also required for all areas where any construction will take place on the building. Furthermore, it locates and identifies all asbestos-containing materials. Samples of these may be collected and sent for testing.
A registered company can provide the right asbestos survey for your building. A trained, experienced asbestos surveyor will conduct the survey. The survey will be conducted in accordance with the requirements as set out by the HSE, Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
If your building is an old building and you need an asbestos survey, reach out to ACS. Our professional surveyors are available to assist with the right asbestos survey for your building. In addition, our surveyors will provide a cost-effective and comprehensive asbestos survey. Moreover, our surveyors will provide important advice on the best course of action. The information gleaned from the asbestos survey is then also used to compile an inclusive asbestos management plan. An asbestos management plan is also a mandatory requirement.
At ACS, we provide a full, comprehensive asbestos service. This includes the right survey, along with asbestos testing. Furthermore, should any asbestos-containing materials need to be removed and disposed of, we can refer you to a professional, experienced company with the necessary credentials.
An asbestos survey is thus mandatory. It is the right thing to do to ensure the safety of the occupants of your building. Get in touch today and find out how our surveyors can assist with a mandatory asbestos survey for your building.