Proactive asbestos risk management is an essential aspect of workplace health and safety, especially in industries like construction and facilities management. Although asbestos fibres are only dangerous when disturbed (after which they can access the body through the lungs or via direct exposure to other membranes), it’s crucial to understand where the asbestos is and what type of work can potentially disturb it. This is the purpose of an asbestos survey.

Surveying is critical if you’re responsible for building maintenance or repairs, or if you are the duty holder in a commercial building, or have responsibility over common parts of multi-occupancy domestic premises, such as lift shafts, boiler rooms, corridors, stairwells, and roof spaces.

What Is An Asbestos Survey?

An asbestos survey can be both  a non-intrusive and intrusive risk management method that you can use to ensure there are no active asbestos hazards on a particular site. The survey should be the first step in all asbestos risk assessment processes.

HSG264 is the UK’s official asbestos survey guide. The document outlines the content, procedure, and types of asbestos surveys that can be carried out in UK buildings

There are three types of surveys available, depending on the work to be carried out: management, refurbishment, or demolition. Surveys should provide enough information to be used as part of the written risk management plan. This includes which asbestos-containing materials were found, their condition, and how likely it is they will release fibres into the air if disturbed.

Do I Need an Asbestos Survey In The UK?

Yes, if you manage or are doing refurbishment or demolition work in a premises built before 1999. Properties built after 2000 aren’t subject to mandatory surveys, but asbestos containing materials (ACMs) can still be present in such buildings.

Surveys are also required in brownfield sites that have been home to developments in the past, as the ground may be contaminated with ACMs. You should also commission a survey if your work involves old equipment and fixtures, such as ovens, boilers, insulation, fire blankets, or soundproofing.

Next Steps

If you are a duty holder and would like to know more about asbestos management surveys in the UK and about how to keep your premises safe, please get in touch with one of OMC’s asbestos consultants today.

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