A Guide to Asbestos Surveys for Property Managers

A Guide to Asbestos Surveys for Property Managers

In the realm of property management, amidst the need to maintain buildings and ensure tenant safety, lurks a silent danger that can have far-reaching consequences if left unchecked—asbestos.

Asbestos, once hailed for its fire-resistant properties and durability, is now recognised as a hazardous material that poses serious health risks when disturbed. To better manage this threat, property management businesses must take precautions by embracing asbestos surveys.

These surveys help in identifying asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), complying with legal regulations, and safeguarding building occupants. In this article, we delve into the purpose of asbestos surveys, shed light on the significance of asbestos refurbishment surveys, and explore how these essential practices are instrumental in helping property management businesses stay compliant and protect their assets.

Understanding the true purpose of asbestos surveys will help your business avoid legal ramifications and keep your buildings, and the people within them, safe.

How can you mitigate the risks of asbestos exposure?

The management of asbestos involves various actions, including conducting surveys, implementing reinspection regimes, and tracking the relevant documents in a risk management software, like Meridian. While these are essential steps, the core of effective risk management lies in maintaining asbestos-containing materials in good condition and preventing accidental damage. However, robustly implementing these measures, especially across extensive property portfolios, can be challenging.

asbestos-surveys

The duty to manage asbestos in buildings is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It involves assessing the presence and condition of ACMs, creating a management plan, and ensuring that the materials are safely maintained, and their condition monitored. This duty applies to all non-domestic premises and the common parts of multi-occupancy domestic premises.

Asbestos management is crucial for building owners, facilities managers, and those responsible for a property’s maintenance and repair. It requires taking steps to locate and manage ACMs, conducting thorough risk assessments, maintaining an asbestos register, and developing an asbestos management plan. Additionally, it involves periodically reviewing and monitoring the asbestos management plan.

With so much information on the management of asbestos, where is the best place to start? For property managers and building consultancies, it’s a good idea to begin with procuring an asbestos survey…

 

What is an asbestos survey and why is it important?

An asbestos survey is a comprehensive inspection of a property to identify and assess the presence of asbestos-containing materials.

These surveys are crucial for property management companies, as they help you to avoid legal pitfalls and ensure the safety of occupants, workers, and maintenance personnel.

Conducting asbestos surveys for property management companies is essential for several reasons. Firstly, these surveys help businesses remain compliant with legal requirements associated with asbestos.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 detail the duties that the dutyholder must comply with. The legislation requires the dutyholder to protect people from the risks of exposure to asbestos and includes people who:

  • Work in their buildings.
  • Use them in other ways.

The duty to manage asbestos in buildings covers:

  • All non-domestic premises, like offices, shopping centres, and retail premises.
  • ‘Common parts’ of multi-occupancy domestic premises, like purpose-built flats.

Asbestos surveys also allow property managers to develop effective management plans and ensure that necessary precautions are in place to prevent asbestos exposure.

Additionally, being aware of the presence of asbestos in your buildings allows for informed decision-making during maintenance, refurbishment, or demolition activities. This not only safeguards the health and safety of individuals working on the property, but also prevents potential legal and financial repercussions associated with improper asbestos management.

Ultimately, asbestos surveys play a pivotal role in risk management and are integral to maintaining a safe and healthy environment across your properties. Our latest briefing note details everything you need to know about different types of asbestos surveys.

 

What is the purpose of an asbestos survey?

The primary purpose of an asbestos survey is to locate and assess the condition of any ACMs present, helping property owners and managers understand the potential risks and take necessary steps to manage or remove the asbestos safely.

An asbestos survey is also designed to:

  • Provide accurate information on the location, amount, and condition of ACMs.
  • Assess the level of any damage to the ACMs and whether remedial action is required.
  • Provide information to produce an asbestos register and management plan for the premises.
  • Identify hidden ACMs to be removed before refurbishment work or demolition.

By carrying out these surveys, businesses can protect building occupants, workers, and the environment from the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. This ensures compliance with regulations and promotes a safe living or working environment.

 

What are the different types of asbestos surveys?

Understanding which type of asbestos survey you need to conduct is half the battle when it comes to asbestos management. Generally, there are 4 types of asbestos surveys, or inspections, including:

  • Asbestos Management Survey.
  • Asbestos Reinspection Survey.
  • Asbestos Demolition Survey.
  • Asbestos Refurbishment Survey.

So, when is an asbestos refurbishment survey needed?

What is an asbestos refurbishment survey?

An asbestos refurbishment survey must be carried out prior to the commencement of any refurbishment or renovation work in a building. This includes, but is not limited to, works such as:

  • Structural alterations.
  • Rewiring works.
  • The removal or replacement of plant and equipment.
  • The removal of false finishes (such as doors, partition walls, ceilings, claddings, floor coverings etc).

Any works that are considered ‘intrusive’ will require an asbestos refurbishment survey to be conducted beforehand.

How do you select a competent asbestos surveyor?

Once you’ve decided on which asbestos survey is best suited to your business’ needs, it’s important to find a competent surveyor. Asbestos surveys and inspections must only be carried out by surveyors who:

  • Have survey knowledge and know the risks in surveying.
  • Have training, experience, and recognise their limitations.
  • Use an effective quality management system.
  • Should be able to demonstrate independence, impartiality, and integrity.
  • Undertake their work strictly in accordance with Asbestos: The survey guide (HSG264).

As the dutyholder, you should be satisfied that the surveyor is technically competent to carry out the asbestos survey adequately, safely, and can allocate adequate resources to individual projects.

 

How can William Martin help your business with the management of asbestos?

At William Martin, we have the experience and expertise to help our clients take a compliance-based view as well as a practical and pragmatic approach to asbestos management. We work with businesses to provide comprehensive asbestos surveying and consultancy services, backed by a team of competent and experienced asbestos surveyors.

We Provide Survey Programmes:

  • Asbestos refurbishment surveys.
  • Asbestos management surveys and registers.
  • Asbestos demolition surveys.
  • Asbestos re-inspection surveys.

We Offer Competent Support:

  • Strategic asbestos management reviews.
  • Policies, procedures and safe working practices.
  • Consultancy and advice.
  • Management information reporting.
  • Coaching and mentoring.
  • Emergency incident advice.
  • Liaison with enforcement bodies.

Working with an asbestos consultancy is a great way to reduce risk and ensure compliance. To take a proactive approach to asbestos management, get in touch with us today!

Contact

At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful. For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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