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Between the 1950s and the 1980s, asbestos was used in a number of premises, particularly for fire proofing.

It isn’t used anymore because once it is disturbed, asbestos releases airborne fibres which can cause serious diseases. However, asbestos may still be present in any building built before 2000.

Asbestos surveys

Under the Control of Asbestos in the Workplace Act of 2004, it is the responsibility of the duty holder of any non-domestic building to manage asbestos. In order to manage asbestos adequately, the duty holder needs to ascertain whether and where asbestos is present and this is where asbestos surveys come in.

A survey will:

• Find and record the location of asbestos-containing materials (ACM), as well as how much asbestos is present

• Assess and record how easily accessible the ACM is and what condition it is in

• Record what type of asbestos is present, usually through taking samples

There are two main types of asbestos survey: the management survey and the refurbishment/demolition survey.

Management asbestos surveys

Management surveys are designed to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials (ACM) which are a risk during the day-to-day occupation of a commercial building. A surveyor can help you carry out this type of survey.

The purpose of a management asbestos survey is to ensure that:

• ACM within machinery or the premises will not harm the occupants as they go about their daily business

• ACM are in good repair

• ACM will not be disturbed, either on purpose or by accident

The survey will identify ACM that could easily be damaged or disturbed through routine workplace activities. A degree of minor asbestos disturbance will be required so that a Materials Assessment can be made. This helps the surveyor to ascertain the way that fibres are released and enables them to create an asbestos management plan and suggest any remedial work that may be required.

Refurbishment/demolition asbestos surveys This type of survey will be required whenever any refurbishment or demolition work is planned within the building.

The purpose of a refurbishment/demolition survey is:

• To make sure that the renovation work won’t damage or disturb any ACM

• To ensure that the work will be done by a contractor who understands the asbestos risks. The survey will identify where ACM are located in the premises (before any refurbishment or demolition work begins). Some asbestos disturbance is required and staff must not be in the area during the survey. They can only return once the area has been deemed safe by the surveyor.

A professional and qualified surveyor will carry out these asbestos surveys for you to help you ensure you always meet your duty to manage asbestos.

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