When remedial actions are required and highlighted within a survey report, some common questions we are asked include:
- “Can we just lock the door and prevent anyone from accessing the area?”
- “The area is vacant, do we still need to carry out the remediation works?”
Where an ACM is damaged and presents a significant risk, it is usually recommended that access to the affected area is restricted. This can be achieved by locking access doors leading to the area and to display signage. However, this should only be a temporary measure until the required remediation works are completed. Leaving damaged asbestos material in place, even in a vacant space, will always have the potential to cause exposure. Most vacant or disused spaces are still subject to some form of inspection, regular security checks for example, and building inspections so there are risks of exposure to people. There are also risks associated with unauthorised entry, vagrants and vandals etc, from exposure to asbestos and damage to other ACMs in the property.
If an area is locked off for a considerable amount of time, it is likely the condition of the material(s) will deteriorate further, resulting in increasing risks over time until access is eventually required. The result is higher costs to remedy the situation prior to opening up the area for use.
While ACMs remains on site in poor condition, then the possibility of disturbance and exposure to airborne asbestos fibres should not be overlooked and remediation should be planned for as soon as possible.
Simply restricting access to an area is not a suitable long-term solution.