One of the most important responsibilities of a building owner is to manage the risk of exposure to asbestos. If you are responsible for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises, you need to find out if asbestos is present, set out plans to deal with it, and provide the information to contractors who might disturb it.
Any building built before the year 2000 might contain asbestos, so mechanical services projects, refurbishments, phone installations and general maintenance could all lead to contact with asbestos containing materials (ACMs).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides extensive guidance on dealing with ACMs, including the graphic below, which shows the steps a dutyholder should take.
The first step in establishing the amount, condition and location of ACMs in a building is to arrange a survey. This will help determine whether remedial action is needed, and inform future precautions.
HSE guidance features recommendations for appointing a competent surveyor, along with details of what you should expect to receive (including references, timetables and costs).
A survey report will include the following:
- Executive summary, summarising the locations with ACMs and notes on actions;
- Introduction, explaining the scope and objectives of the survey;
- Site and survey information, such as addresses, areas included and areas excluded;
- Survey results, detailing the extent and location of any ACMs and the amount of damage or deterioration observed;
- Conclusions and actions, including an indication of how urgent any issues are;
- Bulk analysis results, usually an appendix showing results of sample analysis.
Under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, otherwise known as CDM, information about the presence of asbestos must be provided to contractors and designers bidding on work.
General reference to potential hazards is not enough, and a new survey may be needed to establish project-specific details that can be factored into plans.
361 Degrees has extensive experience on construction sites and refurbishments of all sizes, so contact the team if you’d like to learn more about your responsibilities as a building owner or manager.