As the saying goes – “if you stay ready, you never have to get ready”. Asbestos compliance is an increasingly important aspect of pre-contract enquiries for lettings, so having a suitable and more crucially an up to date asbestos management survey already prepared is essential in “staying ready”.
But what if the property is no longer fit for purpose? The city centre landscape is going to change as a result of the pandemic with property utilisation likely to change significantly with a re-purposing of vacant space over the short to medium term.
Landlord works to refit, refurbish, improve and develop property prior to letting will require a different approach. Refurbishment surveys will be required prior to undertaking any works that will disturb the fabric of a building. There have been several property company prosecutions following the undertaking of works without a refurbishment survey in place where potential exposures have occurred.
Procuring a refurbishment survey in good time ahead of any tendering for the main works scheme should be high on the list of project priorities. Ensuring the full scope of the refurbishment is understood by the surveying organisation is a critical step in the process and should involve both client and surveying organisation engaging in a desk study approach to ensure the survey meets all of the project requirements.
Preparing in advance will improve the ultimate outcome – a competent surveying organisation will consult with you to make sure that the survey completed will be suitable and sufficient. This type of surveying represents the most significant risk and in terms of asbestos risk, refurbishment projects provide for the greatest opportunity for asbestos materials to be accidentally disturbed.