13th April 2021
Asbestos remains one of the biggest causes of work-related deaths in the UK. The effects of asbestos exposure can be devastating to those working across many different sectors, but especially the construction industry.
Known as a silent killer, statistics have revealed that, on average, 40 tradesmen die in the UK every week from asbestos-related illnesses and around 5,000 people die each year due to past asbestos exposure.
First used in the construction industry in the early 1900s and widely used in building materials during the 50s, 60s and 70s, asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999 due to its significant risk factor.
As a result, it is now mandatory that businesses complete an asbestos survey before carrying out any construction work, particularly if asbestos materials are thought to be present in buildings.
What does an asbestos survey involve?
Asbestos surveys are required due to the high risks associated with this substance. A survey involves completing a formal inspection of a property in search of asbestos-containing materials. During this thorough safety assessment, a surveyor will also carefully extract a small sample of material if they suspect that it may contain asbestos.
Do I need an asbestos survey to demolish a building?
If you’re planning on demolishing a building, you will need to establish whether or not asbestos is present. With this in mind, it is essential that you employ the help of an asbestos specialist in order to complete a demolition survey.
If asbestos is found but it is in good condition, you don’t need to worry, as asbestos is only dangerous when it is moved or disturbed. However, if a building needs to be completely demolished, it’s important that you pinpoint exactly where the asbestos is, as fibres could be released, posing a great risk to human health.
Using intrusive surveying methods, an asbestos survey will locate exactly where the asbestos is, even if it’s contained within a hard to reach area such as walls, roof voids or solid floors. Once located, an action plan will need to be put in place, outlining how the demolition will be carried out safely without exposing workers to the asbestos.
Is an asbestos survey a legal requirement?
An asbestos survey is legal requirement and, whether you’re managing or occupying a building, using it for work, or completing construction work on site, there must be an asbestos survey in place.
If you discover that an asbestos survey has not been carried out, you must arrange for one to be carried out immediately.
Who is responsible for an asbestos survey?
Responsibility for the asbestos management of a non-domestic premises is down to the person, owner or company that is accountable for the maintenance and repair of the building.
What are the different types of asbestos surveys?
There are two types of asbestos survey, a Management Asbestos Survey and a Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey.
A Management Asbestos Survey is a visual survey where an asbestos specialist will note down any risks and assess the condition of any asbestos-containing materials. A Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey assesses asbestos-containing materials that are likely to be disturbed. If asbestos is disturbed, fibres can enter the lungs causing serious health implications.
What is the cost for an asbestos survey?
The cost of an asbestos survey differs depending on the type of survey you require and the scope of your project. Many companies provide free no obligation quotes for both businesses and landlords.