Asbestos surveys are an extremely important tool when it comes to asbestos management. An asbestos survey is an inspection of a building or structure, internally and externally, to locate, identify and quantify asbestos containing materials. Whatever type of survey is employed, the aim is to assess the risk and prevent those occupying or working within the building from encountering airborne asbestos fibres.

Why Are Asbestos Surveys Important?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that, before it was banned in 2000, was regularly used in buildings for insulation, roofing and flooring. Asbestos materials in buildings, if undisturbed, poses little threat. However, when it becomes damaged, the fibres are released into the air and if inhaled they can lead to several serious lung conditions. Examples of those who may encounter asbestos include, anyone who may disturb the fabric of buildings, people who work on contaminated land and those maintaining a building that may be affected by asbestos use.

To prevent this exposure, information is needed on whether asbestos containing materials are likely to be present in the buildings so that an assessment can be made, and necessary actions can be taken depending on the fact that there is any asbestos and/or the asbestos type. The asbestos survey needs to provide sufficient information to allow for a risk assessment, asbestos register and management plan to be prepared.

Do I Need An Asbestos Survey?

There are numerous reasons you might find yourself needing an asbestos survey, from whether it is your responsibility as a duty holder, or if you’re buying or selling a property. Although it is not a legal requirement, apart from in buildings built before the year 2000, it is good practice to have an asbestos survey carried out so you can be sure whether asbestos is present or not.

Asbestos is often hidden and can go undetected and undisturbed for years, either in parts of the building that are rarely seen or a part of constituent building materials. Meaning many building owners are completely unaware of its presence. Asbestos surveys can help to identify the presence before it becomes a safety risk and potentially lead to several legal implications.

The control of asbestos regulation (CAR 2012) makes it clear that the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises falls to the owner or any person, or organisation, that has direct responsibility for its maintenance and repair – by a lease agreement for example.