June 23, 2024

In the realm of property management and construction, the mention of asbestos can raise alarms. Known for its fire-resistant properties, asbestos was widely used in building materials until its ban in many countries due to health risks. When disturbed, asbestos fibers can become airborne and, if inhaled, pose serious health hazards, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. This makes identifying and managing asbestos within buildings critical for the safety of occupants and workers alike. To tackle this, various asbestos surveys are conducted depending on the building’s needs and the extent of work planned. Here’s an overview of the different types of asbestos survey and their specific purposes.

1. Management Asbestos Survey

Previously known as a Type 2 asbestos survey, the Management Asbestos Survey is the standard approach for properties suspected of containing asbestos. Its primary aim is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation. This survey ensures that ACMs are properly managed to prevent harm to those living or working in the building. It involves visual inspections and may include sampling and analysis to confirm the presence of asbestos.

2. Refurbishment and Demolition Survey

Required where the property, or part of it, will undergo refurbishment or demolition, this survey is far more intrusive than the Management Survey. Formerly known as a Type 3 asbestos survey, the Refurbishment and Demolition Survey aims to locate and describe all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. Given its extensive nature, this survey may cause significant damage to the building’s fabric and is usually conducted when the premises are vacant. It is crucial for ensuring that contractors are not exposed to asbestos during work, which could lead to airborne fibers.

3. Re-Inspection Survey

Over time, the condition of asbestos-containing materials can change, potentially increasing the risk of exposure. A Re-Inspection Survey involves revisiting the site of a previous survey and checking the ACMs’ current state. This survey ensures that management plans are up to date and that any deterioration is addressed promptly. It is a vital component of ongoing asbestos management, particularly in buildings where ACMs were not removed but are being managed in situ.

4. Pre-Purchase Asbestos Survey

For potential buyers of commercial or residential properties, understanding the presence of asbestos before purchase is vital. A Pre-Purchase Asbestos Survey combines elements of the Management and Refurbishment surveys to give a comprehensive view of any asbestos risks within the property. This type of survey can inform negotiations and ensure safety compliance before the transaction is completed.

Conclusion

The control and management of asbestos are crucial for the safety of those who occupy or work within buildings where it may be present. Understanding the different types of asbestos surveys is the first step in ensuring that asbestos risks are properly assessed and managed. Whether you are managing an existing building, planning renovations, or considering a new purchase, conducting the appropriate asbestos survey is an essential part of responsible property management. Always ensure that surveys are carried out by accredited professionals to guarantee compliance with health and safety regulations and to protect all parties involved.