Is a tenant responsible for an asbestos survey?

Asbestos SurveyAn asbestos survey is necessary for any old building constructed before 2000. Asbestos-containing materials are still present in many buildings. However, not everyone is aware of what they look like, or where they can be found. Thus, an asbestos survey by a professional company is necessary.

Asbestos was highly popular as an excellent additive to many materials. It was extensively used in the building trade as asbestos offered numerous positive properties. These include strength, chemical and heat resistance and more. Unfortunately, it also had negative properties, causing deadly disease and cancer.

As the symptoms of these diseases and cancers only manifest later in life, it is essential to be aware of the amount, extent, and condition of any asbestos-containing materials within a building.

That brings us to the question of who is responsible for an asbestos survey. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 clearly states that a duty holder or an owner of a building must manage the asbestos within a building.

What is a duty holder?

A duty holder is the owner of a non-domestic premises. It can also be the person or organisation who has the responsibility for the maintenance and/or repair of the building. This is typically set out in an agreement such as a contract or tenancy agreement.

Asbestos SurveyHowever, there may not be an agreement or contract. In this case, or if the building is unoccupied, the duty is then placed on the owner of the non-domestic building.

What does a duty holder do?

The duty holder has numerous responsibilities. These include:

  • taking steps to find out if there are asbestos-containing materials within the building, along with their condition, extent and location;
  • prepare and maintain up-to-date records of the asbestos-containing materials as above;
  • assess the risk of anyone who is likely to come into contact with the asbestos-containing materials;
  • prepare a detailed plan on how these risks will be managed;
  • ensure the plan is put into action;
  • regularly review the plan and update as required;
  • provide this information to anyone who is liable to work on or in the building, such as maintenance workers.

How can this be done?

The very first step is to contact a professional company that offers asbestos surveys. There are two types of asbestos surveys – the management survey and the refurb/demo survey. The latter is mandatory before any planned demolition or renovation work on a building.

A management survey is the right choice if the non-domestic building is being used as a workplace. This survey is not intrusive. It will determine the location of any asbestos-containing materials. In addition, it will determine the quantity of these materials as well as their condition. The survey will determine if any of the asbestos-containing materials pose a risk during the normal day-to-day occupation of the building.

What happens if there are asbestos-containing materials that pose a risk?

Asbestos surveyIf any of the asbestos-containing materials pose a risk, they will have to be sealed, encapsulated, or removed. Prior to this, it may be necessary to have the suspected materials tested. Once it has been established that the asbestos-containing materials do pose a risk, further plans are put in place.

The asbestos-containing materials may be a low risk, for example, asbestos cement sheets and roofing. If this is the case, an unlicensed but competent contractor can remove them. However, if they are a high risk, such as pipe insulation and asbestos insulating panels, a licensed contractor must remove them.

I lease a building for my workspace – am I responsible for an asbestos survey?

If you are not the owner of the building, the responsibility to manage asbestos, including asbestos surveys, is the duty and responsibility of the owner.

However, if there is a separate entity or person appointed for the maintenance of the building, he/they are the duty holder.

Unless there is a contract between you and the owner stating that you are responsible for the maintenance of the building, the owner remains responsible for an asbestos survey.

On the other hand, if you own the building, it is essential that you speak to a professional company for an asbestos survey as soon as possible.

Exposure to asbestos fibres is lethal. As the effects of the exposure only become apparent years after the initial incident, it is imperative to ensure that the building is safe for use by its occupants.

The first, essential step is an asbestos survey.

Who can assist with an asbestos survey?

An asbestos survey should be completed by a company with trained and experienced surveyors. The information gleaned from the survey will form part of the management plan. Thus, the company that you choose for the asbestos survey is aware of the necessity of a comprehensive and detailed report.

For assistance with a professional and efficient asbestos survey for your building, speak to our team. We have many years of experience in providing asbestos surveys. Hence, our surveyors have the right training and skill to ensure a comprehensive, yet professional survey.

Furthermore, our experts can assist you with the preparation of the management plan. This plan is also a requirement as part of the duty to manage.

You are more than welcome to contact us at ACS for more information regarding our asbestos surveys. We’re happy to answer any of your queries and will provide sound advice.

An asbestos survey can help save lives

Asbestos Survey Many buildings still have asbestos-containing materials within them. While asbestos on its own is not dangerous, it is when it is disturbed, aged or damaged that it poses a threat. It releases its tiny, unseen by the naked eye fibres which can then be inhaled.

The responsibility for an asbestos survey remains the duty of the owner of the building, or the duty holder where stated. A tenant is not responsible for an asbestos survey.

Our experts are available to provide a comprehensive asbestos survey for a non-domestic building.