Types of Asbestos Surveys and When They Are Needed – Guest Article by Artisan Environmental
When considering both efficient and compliant management of Asbestos within properties and sites that you occupy, manage, develop, or are looking to acquire, it is important that you carry out the correct type of survey, at the right time and in the right order.
There are different types of asbestos survey, each designed for different scenarios and timelines. Let’s consider a brief overview of each;
Asbestos Management Survey. This is a full inspection and sampling survey of a building, with detailed investigation of every floor, room, basements, roof voids, external fabric and outbuildings. All accessible areas and building components are accessed, however no damage is caused to building fabric or décor. Only accessible Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) will be sampled and recorded. Any suspect materials that can be accessed should be sampled for analysis and should not be just presumed to contain asbestos.
Management Surveys are appropriate for acquisition Due Diligence prior to purchase, and for creating an Asbestos Register for ongoing management of an occupied building or site. While legally required for management of commercial buildings and the communal areas of residential flats, it may also be prudent to consider for a residential purchase to reduce potential risk, both to health and financially.
The building areas should be vacant for the survey, and damage will likely be caused to building fabric to gain the level of access required. For smaller refurbishment projects it is often possible to make good and re-occupy, or even conduct a specifically tailored survey on an occupied building. A good consultant should be able to assess your SoW and advise accordingly on this matter to help you minimise disruption, cost and risk.
Asbestos Demolition Survey. This is a fully intrusive survey carried out in the same way as a Refurbishment Survey. The 2 survey types are collectively known as Asbestos Refurbishment & Demolition Surveys.
All areas of the building fabric must be fully accessed to identify all ACMs prior to demolition. The building should be vacant, and due to the level of access and damage required it is usually not economical to make good and re-occupy prior to demolition.
Asbestos Sampling Survey. In certain circumstances, for example where an asbestos register is in place but a room or part of the building fabric was excluded, then a sampling survey can be carried out to specifically take samples of suspect materials without conducting a full survey. This approach should be used with care and should not replace a Management or R&D Survey.
Asbestos Re-Inspection Survey. Once ACMs have been identified within a building, the survey report will include an Asbestos Register. This should include details of the type of material, location, asbestos type, finish and condition, along with a Material Risk Assessment (MA) of each ACM and a recommendation on how the material should be treated or managed moving forwards.
The ‘Duty Holder’ in charge of the building should then put in place an Asbestos Management Plan, including a Priority Risk Assessment (PA), which assesses the likelihood that each ACM may be accessed or potentially damaged considering different variables around occupation and use of the building. The combination of the MA and PA will then give the overall Risk Assessment score of each ACM and this in turn will help to manage and prioritise any required remedial actions.
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR2012) specifies that ACMs should be inspected annually, primarily to ensure the level of damage has not changed, hence increasing the risk level of that material. This is carried out by means of an Asbestos Re-Inspection Survey in order to maintain ongoing compliance.
Do I only need one survey type? Different surveys can be conducted in sequence to reduce risk while maintaining compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. For example, an Asbestos Management Survey prior to purchase will locate most, if not all ACMs within the building in the majority of cases, thereby significantly reducing risk of unknown costs following acquisition. This survey could also be carried out at the early stages of a development project if the building is still occupied, again to identify ACMs and reduce risk of disruption to the SoW.
Once the building is acquired and/or vacated the survey can then be topped up to an R&D Survey to ensure compliance prior to refurbishment, conversion or demolition. Any ACMs that remain in situ can then be monitored annually by way of a Re-Inspection survey to ensure the Asbestos Management Plan remains up to date and in compliance with the legislation.
The earlier you speak to an asbestos consultant prior to acquisition or while planning proposed works the better. This will ensure that the right surveys can be scheduled at the right time and will save you from headache and undue cost down the line.
Alec Smith BS. AFAAM
If you need any help with Asbestos Surveys and Management then you can get in touch with Artisan at;