Asbestos SurveysWe offer a full range of asbestos surveying services to businesses throughout the UK
At Oracle Solutions, we offer a full range of asbestos surveying services covering the latest survey types and techniques – and including all premises, buildings and locations. You can rest assured that our services cater for all survey requirements and eventualities.
As a leading quality-approved asbestos consultancy, all our asbestos surveyors and consultants are trained to the highest standards and hold (as a minimum) BOHS P402 Asbestos Survey/Surveying Certification with at least two years’ survey experience.
All our surveys, results analysis and reporting is carried out to the highest standards, and in full accordance with HSG264 Asbestos: The survey guide and HSG248 Asbestos: The analysts’ guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures.
Oracle Solutions delivers a complete, professional asbestos survey solution to commercial customers throughout the UK. No matter where you are located, we have the experience and capability to help you to address all your asbestos issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about asbestos surveys. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Try the ‘What is asbestos’ section of our website, or contact us with your question and we’ll be happy to help.
What types of property or premises may contain asbestos?
The full ban on asbestos came into force in the UK in late 1999. It is generally accepted that any building, premises or property constructed before the year 2000 could potentially contain asbestos. This includes every single type of property or premises, including houses, garages, barns, hospitals, factories, retail units and offices. The list goes on.
What is an asbestos survey?
In layman’s terms, an asbestos survey is an inspection of a property or building which is designed to locate and identify materials which contain asbestos. The survey should detail the exact location of any asbestos – its extent (or amount), and its condition. In addition, the survey should identify the type of material that the asbestos is present in, and the actual type of asbestos used.
Once this information has been gathered (location, extent, condition, material & asbestos type), the survey should then assess the risk of any asbestos which has been identified.
Asbestos surveys are undertaken for several reasons which are discussed in the ‘asbestos survey type’ section. Whatever the reason for the asbestos survey, the risks should be highlighted, and should be relevant to your needs. Having identified the risks, the survey should give you recommendations on how to proceed. These recommendations should be tailored to your needs, and in line with why you had the survey conducted in the first place.
Why would I need an asbestos survey?
There are several reasons why you might need an asbestos survey, but the main reason for having an asbestos survey is to protect people from the harmful effects of asbestos.
People can be at risk of exposure to asbestos for a variety of different reasons. You may think that the only people at risk exposure to asbestos are workers or contractors within the building or construction industry, but this is not true. If asbestos isn’t managed correctly, everyone is potentially at risk. This includes visitors, and anyone entering buildings or any other places where asbestos isn’t managed correctly.
This is why there are laws in place to ensure that asbestos is managed properly by anyone managing premises or processes – such as construction, refurbishment or maintenance work.
So if you manage a building or property – or you’re involved in maintenance, refurbishment or construction in any shape or form – you have a legal duty to manage the potential risks from asbestos.
To manage these risks, you need to know where the asbestos is and what the risks are. The only way to understand this is to have an asbestos survey.
What types of asbestos surveys are there?
Is having an asbestos survey required by law?
If you’re managing a property – or you’re involved in a process where asbestos could pose a risk to the public – and you don’t have the required information to reduce or eliminate that risk, the answer is simply ‘yes’.
The current asbestos regulations are ‘The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012’ (CAR). Although asbestos survey work and requirements are not restricted to any single regulation, there is a principal section about surveys. This is Regulation 4: The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises. Details of this regulation can be found in L143 Managing and working with asbestos Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
In brief, Regulation 4 says that anyone in control of premises or property has a legal duty to manage any risk from asbestos. To do this they must identify the risks. The only sure way of identifying these risks is by having an asbestos survey.
Is there a legal standard for an asbestos survey?
Yes. There is a Health & Safety Executive guidance document about this. It details the required quality for carrying out an asbestos survey. It also details the exact information that an asbestos survey report should contain.
This HSE guidance document is Asbestos: The survey guide HSG264.
How can I be sure that I will get a quality asbestos survey?
All asbestos surveyors and asbestos surveying companies should carry out asbestos surveys in line with the HSE survey guide, but there are many that do not. The problem is, if you are buying an asbestos survey from a company, you have a legal duty of care to make sure that they know what they are doing. Just using a company that says they know what they are doing is not enough.
This can cause you a big problem. Firstly, you may not be getting the information you need to comply with the law, and people may be put at risk.
Secondly, you will be paying for something that may not be what you actually need. This would be wasted money, and you will probably end up having to pay for another survey.
There are two ways to make sure you’re getting a quality asbestos survey in line with HSE guidance.
The first way is to undertake your own due diligence on the company. For this, you will need to read and understand the regulations and guidance, and make sure you ask all the right questions. You will then need to gather evidence about the company’s experience, training, quality processes, etc. The list goes on.
The second way is much easier, and covers your legal duty of care – use a UKAS-accredited surveying company. You need to make sure that their UKAS accreditation is specifically for surveying. This is easily done by asking for their UKAS number or certificate, which will show what’s covered. The UKAS accreditation for asbestos surveying is ‘17020’ and this should be detailed on the company’s certificate.
UKAS regularly check and do due diligence on surveying companies in line with the legal requirements of any surveying regulations and guidance. They only award the accreditation to companies that meet the required standard. This means that UKAS do the hard work for you. So remember, if you want to get a survey, you must check the company’s UKAS accreditation.
What happens during an asbestos survey?
There are four main steps to take during an asbestos survey:
Step 1: The surveyor will gather as much information from you as possible to make sure the survey will give you what you need. This includes information about why you need the survey, details of the property (including who will be there) and any access problems which may be encountered, such as locked doors.
Step 2: The surveyor will visit the site to undertake the inspection. The nature of the inspection will depend largely on the type of survey being carried out. However, in general, surveyors will check every area of the property. This is carried out methodically, one area at a time, inspecting the floors, walls and ceilings.
Step3: If the surveyor locates anything which they believe to be asbestos, they will take a small sample which can be sent to a laboratory for analysis. When taking samples, surveyors try to take them from inconspicuous areas. Samples are usually about the size of a 50p coin. They are then sealed in a small bag ready to go to the laboratory.
During the inspection, the surveyor will take relevant notes and photographs – and if not already provided, they will draw a floor plan which can be marked with any sample or asbestos locations.
Step 4: The final step is to produce the report for you. Reports are usually electronic, and include photographs, plans and sample results. See ‘What will my asbestos survey report contain?’ for more details. Once the report has been quality checked, it will be sent to you.
How do I know what type of asbestos survey I need?
There are three types of asbestos survey. Knowing which one you need is key in managing any risk from asbestos.
1: Asbestos management survey
This type of survey pretty much does what it says. It’s designed to help you manage your asbestos. The survey will locate and identify asbestos materials which may pose a risk from everyday usage and occupation of the property. This includes everyday maintenance – such as changing light bulbs or cleaning.
This survey is designed not to cause any major damage to the property. All areas which can be checked and surveyed without causing damage will be inspected.
The survey report will contain risk assessments for any identified asbestos, and recommendations of any actions you need to take. This asbestos survey is the first step in managing your asbestos, and should form part of your asbestos management plan.
In most cases, asbestos located during this type of survey does not need to be removed. As long as it is in a good and safe condition, it can remain in place and be managed.
If you are undertaking refurbishment work, or demolishing / part demolishing a building, you will need to consider an asbestos refurbishment survey or an asbestos demolition survey.
2: Asbestos refurbishment survey
As the title suggests, this type of asbestos survey must be undertaken before you undertake any refurbishment work – or heavy maintenance work – which may disturb the fabric of the building or property.
This survey will include intrusive surveying techniques, which are designed to locate any asbestos materials which may be disturbed during the planned refurbishment. How intrusive the survey is will depend on your refurbishment plans, and it will be tailored to suit these. With this type of survey it is usual that any identified asbestos is removed prior to the refurbishment.
If part of your work is going to include partial or full demolition of a building, you will need to have an asbestos demolition survey.
3: Asbestos demolition survey
As before, the name of this survey details when it is required. If you are undertaking part demolition or full demolition of a building or property, this is the survey you will need. This survey has the most intrusive inspection techniques, because it is designed to find asbestos which may be hidden in the construction of a building. As such, the surveyor will need to access and inspect all areas which will be uncovered during the demolition.
As with a refurbishment survey, any asbestos located during a demolition survey will generally need to be removed prior to the demolition work.
What will my asbestos survey report look like?
For more information about the asbestos survey report and the information it will contain, see our asbestos survey report section.
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