As industry specialists, we’re often asked what R&D, or refurbishment and demolition surveys, involve. After all, they’re some of the most common types of asbestos surveys we do, among the various different kinds of assessments approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), and carried out for different purposes.
R&D Surveys Explained
R&D surveys were previously known as Type 3 asbestos surveys and are often referred to as asbestos refurbishment and demolition surveys. They need to be carried out by a suitably qualified asbestos professional, but you don’t necessarily need to have a previous record of the condition of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) at the premises.
These asbestos surveys find and identify, as far as is reasonably practical, all ACMs before any structural work starts at a site or before all or part of a building is demolished. And because refurbishment and demolition surveys represent a destructive form of asbestos testing, the site has to be vacated first, to allow for extensive asbestos testing and sampling – and then certified as fit for reoccupation.
An R&D survey is a more detailed form of survey than a management asbestos survey, although you don’t need to survey the whole premises if work is confined to a single room.
There are essentially two main aims of an R&D survey:
- Protecting those working at the location or its equipment from harm from ACMs
- Ensuring that work on the site will be done properly without disturbing asbestos particles if present
While ACMs are not generally dangerous when left alone; it’s during construction work that they’re most likely to be disturbed, putting people at risk from a variety of serious diseases.
These asbestos surveys will determine the condition of any ACMS as well as where they are, and in what volume. They will also help you to know what remedial action, if any, is needed.
When are R&D Surveys Needed?
As the name implies, R&D surveys are required where all or part of a particular site is in the process of being upgraded or otherwise refurbished, or demolished.
So, effectively, you need to have one carried out before doing any kind of construction work on any type of building, whether residential, commercial or any other type of premises. That applies to any site constructed pre-2000, unless you can already be 100% sure that none of this potentially deadly substance is present.
What’s more, if you’re responsible for a building as an owner or manager, or if you have employees or tenants based in it, it’s your legal duty to protect occupants from the risk of asbestos, and to manage any risks you’re aware of responsibly.
What Happens During Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys?
R&D surveys begin with an initial walk-through to assess any potential risks and identify any possible barriers to the project.
The surveying team will then work methodically through the whole proposed work site, using their expertise to locate and identify possible ACMs. Asbestos samples are then sent off to be analysed in a lab to clarify accurately just how much of the substance is present.
As part of the asbestos testing, water absorption tests may also be completed to study a material’s density and ascertain whether it’s cement-based or a less dense insulating board – this will have an impact on how much asbestos may be present.
During refurbishment asbestos surveys, asbestos air testing may also take place to assess the presence of any airborne particles of asbestos.
While this type of asbestos survey is taking place, the building or site should be vacant, apart from, of course, the asbestos surveying team. So you’ll need to be aware of this when planning, while also ensuring the team gets full access across the premises, and appreciating the full impact and scope of this work in advance.
What if an R&D Survey Highlights the Presence of Asbestos?
Once demolition asbestos surveys are done, you’ll get a full report outlining all ACMs identified, complete with photographs. You’ll also receive detailed recommendations about how you can safely manage any asbestos which is present.
Clearly, refurbishment and demolition surveys can only be a first step and you will need to take prompt action as recommended. You will be given everything you need to create an asbestos management plan, should one be needed. At the same time, you may also decide you would benefit from asbestos awareness training.
Once implemented, an asbestos management plan gives you the peace of mind of knowing the building is safe from asbestos’s harmful effects for anyone who steps inside it.
Part of the plan is likely to involve ongoing asbestos testing, to ensure the condition of any ACMS hasn’t worsened, and that they haven’t grown vulnerable to damage or disturbance.
At Core Surveys, We’re Fully Accredited to Carry Out R&D Surveys
Established in 20004, we have full UK accreditation to conduct refurbishment and demolition surveys and associated lab services (offered in-house) to an extremely high standard. Our clients include charities, government bodies, private companies and homeowners and others.
We have offices in East Sussex and Wales, allowing us to cover the whole of the south-east and west, from Bristol and Cardiff to Brighton, Kent and London.
Talk to us about demolition asbestos surveys today.