There are two types of survey for asbestos-containing materials:
Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid‑1980s, so any building built or refurbished before the year 2000 can contain asbestos.
Half a million commercial buildings still contain asbestos. It is therefore vital to manage it correctly in order to prevent exposure from asbestos and to prevent people suffering and dying from asbestos-related diseases.
Every year 1000 tradesmen die from past exposure to asbestos fibres. Workers who carry out maintenance and repairs on buildings such as cutting or drilling into walls, ceilings or partitions; repairing boilers; laying cables are particularly at risk from asbestos exposure.
Your duty to manage asbestos (the ‘dutyholder’)
If you are responsible for managing building maintenance and repairs, not only do you have a duty to protect people from exposure to asbestos fibres, you also have a legal duty to properly manage asbestos. In other words, you are a ‘dutyholder.’
The duty to manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012.
You are a dutyholder if:
- You own the building
- You are responsible through a contract or tenancy agreement
- There is no formal contract or agreement but you have control of the building
- In a multi-occupied building, you are the owner and have taken responsibility for maintenance and repairs for the whole building.
The duty‑holder, building owner, employer and surveyor needs to be clear on the type of asbestos survey needed, where the survey is needed, and what records should result.
What if I am not the dutyholder?
If you are not the dutyholder but have information about the building (e.g. previous asbestos surveys, insurance reports etc.), you are required to cooperate with the dutyholder. For example, landlords must pass on relevant information about asbestos to new tenants, and leaseholders must allow access for an asbestos inspection by managing agents.
If you own or are responsible for a commercial building and you do not manage asbestos correctly, you may expose individuals to asbestos fibres which can result in prosecution.
What types of building are affected?
- All pre‑2000 non‑domestic buildings must have an Asbestos Survey Report and Asbestos Register, whatever the type of business.
- The common areas of residential rented buildings, e.g. halls, stairways, lift shafts, roof spaces, cupboards.
*If the building was built after 2000 then it is unlikely that asbestos is present, meaning that no action is required.
Our surveyors are P402 trained with over 10 years’ experience in the asbestos industry.
We can arrange an asbestos survey for you.
For further information on asbestos see HSE’s website or call HSE’s Infoline: 0845 345 0055.