Asbestos Survey Types: 2 Different Types to Know About
An asbestos survey is a type of survey used to investigate if any asbestos is present in your building or properties. As per the control of asbestos regulations 2012, it’s now a legal requirement for property developers and duty holders to conduct asbestos inspections regularly. The regulations specify the asbestos survey type to use during inspections and reporting formats for capturing the survey results.
A significant factor that drove the UK government to ban asbestos in 1999 was the numerous fatalities reported due to asbestos exposure. In 2019, there were more than 2,500 deaths in the UK due to complications caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres.
Asbestos was used for an extended period within the construction industry before it was declared a dangerous material.
Building materials manufactured with asbestos in the past include:
- PVC and vinyl floor tiles
- Cement products used for roof tiles, gutters, and soffit boards
- Insulation materials for thermal insulation and fire protection, as well as insulation for wall linings, partitions and ceiling materials contained asbestos
- Mastic and bitumen adhesive
- Soil and flue pipes
This means that most buildings constructed before 1999 will likely contain building materials with asbestos, hence why the UK government created legislation to ensure proper management and continuous inspection.
The control of asbestos regulations 2012 provides clear guidelines on the type of asbestos survey that all property developers, owners, and duty holders should conduct. Below, we highlight the surveys required, the inspection process, and the tools you need to simplify your survey procedures.
What Are the Different Asbestos Survey Types?
There are two types of asbestos survey:
1 – Asbestos management survey
2 – Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey
The primary objectives during an asbestos survey are:
- To identify and record the location and quantity of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s)
- To highlight how accessible the asbestos is, its condition, and any treatment applied to prevent exposure
- To record the type of asbestos present and collect samples for lab analysis
What Is a Management Asbestos Survey?
Asbestos management surveys are non-intrusive inspections conducted in domestic, commercial, and industrial properties to verify if there’s asbestos present in the premises. This type of survey is usually done during normal occupation and rarely requires tenants to vacate the premises.
Asbestos management surveys are an obligation under Regulation 4 in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and not complying will attract penalties.
Though a management survey is not intrusive, it still requires an asbestos consultant to collect samples for laboratory testing to ascertain the presence of asbestos. This is because asbestos is not visible to the naked eye and requires professional testing to identify.
The following legal requirement is to create an asbestos report once the asbestos surveyor completes the visual inspection, collection, and testing of building materials. The report contains the details below:
- An asbestos register summarises the asbestos-containing materials, their location, and the extent of the problem
- A risk assessment plan indicates how these materials will be removed or managed
- Legal obligations required
- Photographs of the building materials sampled during the visual inspection
- An asbestos management plan to mitigate the effects of the materials on tenants and workers
What Is a Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey?
Refurbishment and demolition asbestos surveys are intrusive inspections that take place in preparation for refurbishment or demolition works. The main goal for these surveys is to identify all the asbestos-containing materials so that they can then be safely removed before refurbishing or demolishing a building. The critical difference with an asbestos management survey is the intrusive nature of the initial surveys. Here walls, ceiling and floors will be broken in order to conduct the surveys.
Refurbishment and demolition surveys apply in the instances below:
- When a building is due for refurbishment, repairs or maintenance, the survey inspects all areas scheduled for remedial work.
- When extending a property or adding additional floors
- When a property is scheduled for demolition.
Getting Started with Asbestos Surveys
Now that you know what an asbestos survey entails, the next step is to start the actual survey. The property developer should define what type of survey they need. They should then create a scope of service / brief for the asbestos surveyor. Once that is done they will need to create a shortlist of competent asbestos surveyors. Ideally you should ensure these surveyors each go through a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) prior to asking them to tender for the works.
The PQQ will cover items such as their financial standing, history in working on similar projects, it will ensure they have the right insurances and levels of cover required. It will also ensure they have the right training and certification in place to abide by the asbestos regulations and ensure that you are not liable for breach of these duties.
Once you are content with your suppliers, you can tender the work to them and await their tenders. These will then need to be reviewed and compared on a like for like basis to select your preferred supplier.
Streamline Your Asbestos Surveys with RenKap
If the above process seems a bit too time-consuming, no problem, you can use RenKap’s Site Investigation platform. Just upload a site and we will tender the project to our vetted suppliers, manage the site visits and provide you with an easy to access dashboard highlighting any key site risks on your site.
If you would like to see how you can reduce your management time conducting surveys by 99% then take a look at our video below.