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The aim of asbestos surveys is to locate and assess the risks of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) found in a given property.
The resulting survey can be put to a number of uses:
- To protect staff and visitors from potential exposure to airborne asbestos fibres by identifying those materials that may pose a risk to health.
- To provide information to visiting contractors such as electricians or plumbers who might otherwise unwittingly disturb ACMs.
- To prioritise those ACMs that need urgent attention from those that just need to be monitored.
- To be used as a ‘catalogue’ of ACMs for possible use by asbestos removal contractors or demolition contractors when tendering for an asbestos removal project.
- To be used as part of a due-diligence exercise to assess any liabilities pertaining to the building/business prior to sale or let.
- To fulfil the legal obligation to have assessed the property for asbestos hazards.
The different types of Asbestos Surveys
All commercial properties require a management survey by law. This is so the information gained can be used to make an asbestos management plan. We can also provide management plans.
The aim of a management survey is to locate all ACMs that might be encountered during the normal day to day use of a building. For example, asbestos wall panels or ceilings would be logged and sampled as would pipe lagging in a boiler-room, or vinyl floor tiles in a kitchen area.
Areas that would require causing damage to a property in order to access would not be covered by a management survey. This would include areas inside wall voids, under floors or above fixed ceilings. Hard to access areas such as high ceilings would need a means of access agreed before a survey starts in order to arrange specialist access equipment.
The result is that the client gets a register of ACMs helping them to ensure the safe day to day operation of their business. The ACMs located will have a numerical ‘risk factor’ attributed to them so that the client knows where the more relevant hazards are. No significant disturbance will have taken place during the survey and there will be minimal damage to the decorative order of the building. Mostly, the survey can be carried out in an occupied property although there may be the occasional requirement to vacate an area during sampling.
Refurbishment and demolition Surveys
By contrast, refurbishment and demolition surveys set out to identify all ACMs in a building (or within a specific scope of works), both the accessible and inaccessible. Slightly different approaches are taken depending on whether the building is to be refurbished or demolished.
Before refurbishment works are carried out in a property an asbestos refurbishment survey must be completed. A refurbishment survey involves intrusive access into all areas unless the client specifically says otherwise. We would clarify what areas need to be accessed before attending site. A refurbishment survey covers everything a management survey would plus access into places like wall voids, above fixed ceilings, behind door frames and under window sills. A clear scope of works is necessary for a thorough refurbishment survey to be completed that does not cause unnecessary damage in areas that may not be affected by refurbishment works. It is best for an area to be unoccupied for a refurbishment survey.
Demolition surveys need to be completed on buildings that are doing to be destroyed or on sections of buildings that are going to be demolished. A demolition survey accesses all areas. We will offer core sampling in order to test concrete floors, walls and columns. A property needs to be vacant before a demolition survey can be carried out.
The result of both survey types is that the client gets a register of all* acm’s in the property which can be passed on to contractors who will develop a strategy and cost for removing all asbestos materials from the site prior to refurbishment or demolition.
These surveys involve inspecting previously identified asbestos materials found in a building using a management survey that has previously been completed as reference. These surveys should be carried out annually in order to monitor the condition of asbestos items and keep risk assessments up to date.
What is involved in an asbestos survey? Click here