With a risk of asbestos fibres being released into the air and causing fatal lung diseases, an asbestos survey for all suspect ACMs (Asbestos-Containing Materials) is now a legal requirement for properties built before the year 2000 that you plan to carry out any refurbishment. It follows a UK-wide ban of the mineral in building installation after the potentially deadly substance was considered a health and safety threat. Robust monitoring and the appropriate level of survey can help to provide much-needed insight into the fabric of a building and detect the presence of asbestos-containing material. Chartered surveying firms can help you formulate the best possible plan to manage the problem, using sampling and action planning to maintain a safe environment.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and, due to its fire and chemical resistance and high-tensile strength, was once a common component of construction material. Despite a nationwide ban in 1999, some asbestos-based products were still being installed in properties, with an estimated 5 million tonnes of asbestos imported into the UK, and installed in up to 1.5 million.
Several fatal lung diseases can occur when asbestos fibres are released into the atmosphere and inhaled, making it a growing priority to identify and monitor asbestos in properties. Asbestos-related diseases are estimated to kill almost 3000 people per year in the UK, with this number expected to triple by the next.
There are a variety of different types of asbestos to be aware of, the most common being Crocidolite (which is blue in colour), Amosite (brown in colour), and Chrysotile (white in colour), although it is difficult to identify asbestos based on colour alone. Asbestos could be found in many common products, such as boilers, ceilings, doors, clothing, roofing, tiles and walls. If asbestos is detected these items may need to undergo sampling and analysis before they can be positively identified, but an independent residential survey is always the first priority, to ensure a workable management plan can be created.
The Duty to Manage
Monitoring and identifying asbestos within residential properties is now a legal requirement, under Regulation 4, CAR 2012, ‘The Duty to Manage’. But while an asbestos survey may be required to help manage potential sightings, any identified asbestos does not necessarily have to be removed, providing it is in good condition and safely managed.
There are a couple of different asbestos-related surveys, but the most common is an asbestos management survey . This standard property survey assists with the management of asbestos in buildings and is intended to locate any suspect asbestos products within a property that could prove problematic and/or become damaged or disturbed in the foreseeable future. This includes maintenance, installation and further assessments.
If the survey identifies a serious issue, a further refurbishment and demolition survey is required before any refurbishment work is undertaken, or before any part of a building is demolished. This survey intends to locate all asbestos within the designated refurbishment area and is fully intrusive, requiring full access to all areas, inclusive of those that are difficult to reach under normal circumstances. A refurbishment and demolition survey may also be necessary for planned intrusive maintenance and repair work, not exclusively for demolition and refurbishment.
Combined surveys are less common, but may be required if a property requires a management survey for a specific room prior to refurbishment, and a refurbishment and demolition survey for that particular area or room is undertaken additionally.
While e.surv doesn’t conduct specialist asbestos surveyors, we can answer related questions you may have. Call us today on 0800 169 9661 or visit www.esurv.co.uk/contact.