What You Need to Know About Asbestos Surveys & Asbestos Management
With the introduction in 2010 (updated 2012), of the Health & Safety Executive guidance note “HSG264 Asbestos: The Survey Guide“, there is an express obligation, for statutory duty holders, to have an up-to-date asbestos survey (asbestos management survey) of any structure where there is a likelihood that asbestos materials may be present.
Although an asbestos management survey is only part of what is required to manage asbestos within a property under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, it is fundamental. Therefore, it is important that you understand the basics of the asbestos management survey, what it will contain, and how you must use it. You must also understand your statutory legal duties and know what the asbestos management survey will cover.
Who is the duty holder?
The duty holder is the owner of or the person/organisation who has a clear responsibility for maintaining and repairing a non-domestic premises. In some cases, this responsibility may fall to several leaseholders or may even be passed to a managing agent. If this is unclear, the responsibility falls to the person who has control of the premises.
In public buildings such as schools, the duty to manage asbestos will fall to the persons managing maintenance or employers of people at the property. Although a local authority may own a building, management of the maintenance may have been delegated to those at the building. The duty to manage may also be delegated. If you are the duty holder, you will need an asbestos management survey as part of your legal obligation to manage asbestos.
For domestic premises, do I need an asbestos management survey?
If you are an organisation that is managing maintenance for domestic properties, then you will be required to comply with asbestos management obligations to protect those that are undertaking maintenance work on those properties. To help fulfill these obligations, you will need an asbestos management survey of the dwellings and any associated common areas.
Do all properties require an asbestos management survey?
No. The full ban on the usage of asbestos in the UK came into effect at the end of 1999. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that any property or structure built post-2000 will not contain asbestos-containing materials. As such, it is important to remember within the whole of the UK, any property, building, or structure constructed before the year 2000 may contain asbestos bearing materials. Therefore, all properties, buildings and structures that fall into this category i.e., were constructed pre-2000 require the risk of asbestos to be managed and must have an asbestos management survey as part of the legal asbestos management obligation.
Does an asbestos management survey have an expiry date?
Yes. As the requirement for an asbestos management survey has been in place for many years, there are many occasions where a property changes ownership and has with it a previously undertaken asbestos management survey or similar.
If the asbestos management survey was undertaken before the year 2010, it would need to be updated to comply with the new surveying guidance released in 2010. Asbestos surveys carried out before this date will not have been completed according to current guidance requirements, standards, or methodology. Therefore they may be inferior and not fit for purpose.
In addition to the above, it is a legal requirement that asbestos management surveys be updated as a minimum annually. This is in the form of an asbestos management survey re-inspection. It ensures that the asbestos management survey information is correct and current, which will enable you to manage any associated asbestos risk effectively. If you have an asbestos management survey that has not been updated in the last twelve months, it must be considered out of date and not fit for purpose.
What is the main purpose of an asbestos management survey?
The main purpose of an asbestos management survey is in the name. It’s designed to help you as part of your whole legal obligation to manage your potential asbestos risk within a property. The basic purposes are:
- To help manage asbestos in your premises.
- To provide accurate information on the location, amount, and condition of asbestos-containing materials.
- To assess the level of damage or deterioration in the asbestos-containing materials and whether remedial action is required.
- To provide information enabling the preparation of an asbestos register and an asbestos plan of the property
An asbestos management survey is NOT for providing asbestos risk assessment prior to refurbishment or demolition work. On these occasions, you are required by law to have an asbestos refurbishment or demolition survey carried out. For more information on these types of survey, see our additional information pages or contact a member of the Oracle team.
How do I know my asbestos management survey company is competent?
Organisations can demonstrate that they are technically competent to undertake asbestos management surveys through accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body in the UK for asbestos surveying.
UKAS accreditation gives an assurance that an independent and authoritative body has assessed the technical competence of an organisation to carry out asbestos management surveys if that service is specified on their schedule of accreditation.
How is an asbestos management survey carried out?
An asbestos management survey is the standard survey. Its main purpose is to locate and identify any asbestos-containing materials, including their extent/condition within the building that could become damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy and general maintenance activity.
Asbestos management surveys will only involve minor intrusive work and disturbance. It is generally safe for the building to be occupied during an asbestos management survey. The survey will usually involve sampling and analysis of materials suspected to contain asbestos. An asbestos management survey can also involve presuming the presence of asbestos. The survey can be completed using a combination of sampling/analysis and presumption. In some cases, presumption alone can be sufficient.
All areas of the building should be accessed and inspected as far as is reasonably practicable. The areas not accessed or presumed will be clearly detailed within the survey report. In such areas, you must presume that asbestos is present until further and more detailed checks can be made. The asbestos management survey will cover general maintenance work. However, where maintenance work involves disturbing the building’s fabric, a more intrusive asbestos survey such as a refurbishment survey will be required.
During the asbestos management survey, the surveyor will record all relevant information, including photographs ready for the preparation of a detailed asbestos survey report.
The asbestos management survey will include an assessment of the asbestos materials condition and its potential to release asbestos fibre. These are referred to as asbestos material assessments.
What can I expect within the asbestos management survey report?
The management survey report is a record of information collected at the time of the asbestos survey. The report should be completed in written format and supplied as an electronic copy. The report will contain the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- General Site Information
- Survey Results
- Material Risk Assessments
- Bulk Analysis Results
- Certificate of Analysis
- No Access Areas
- Conclusions & Required Actions
- Detailed Plans
Although asbestos management survey report formats differ slightly between organisations, all the above information must be contained within the finished document. The report should be easy to read and easy to understand for the customer to manage any identified asbestos risk effectively.
What do I do when I receive my asbestos management survey report?
As previously mentioned, the asbestos management survey is only one element of your legal obligation to manage the risk of asbestos within your building. Initially, the asbestos management survey report should be used to:
- Form the asbestos register which is a key component of the asbestos management plan
- Put together priority asbestos risk assessments
- Plan legally required asbestos remediation to ensure all asbestos is safe and manageable
- Put together an asbestos management plan taking into consideration the report’s findings
- Ensure the information is kept up to date fully with any changes to asbestos recorded
- Provide asbestos information to those that need it, contractors, employees etc.
What is an asbestos management plan?
An asbestos management plan is a bespoke document that details how you will manage the risk from asbestos within your property. It is a legal obligation for duty holders. The asbestos management survey is the first step to compiling an asbestos management plan and, as such, is an integral first step towards legal compliance.
You can find more detailed information on asbestos management plans within our information pages on the website, or alternatively, you can speak to a member of the Oracle team who will give you all of the information you will need for legal compliance.
How can Oracle help with my asbestos management surveys?
Oracle Solutions are fully accredited by UKAS for all asbestos surveying including asbestos management surveys. Oracle provides a full asbestos service which is delivered across the whole of the UK.
In addition to our asbestos survey services Oracle also provide the following services: