An asbestos management survey is one of the two most commonly used types. Here, we look at what’s involved in a little more detail.
If you own a building, are its duty-holder or an employer or surveyor operating within it, you need to be aware of the various asbestos surveys available, when they’re needed and the records you should be keeping. This applies to any structure built or refurbished prior to the year 2000.
So What is an Asbestos Management Survey, Exactly?
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘asbestos management surveys’, also often called ‘standard surveys’, these should form an integral part of any business’s asbestos management strategy. And this type of asbestos surveying is about identifying, as far as is reasonably possible, whether asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are present, and, if so, to what extent, and what type of this substance is there.
At the same time, this type of asbestos survey highlights any ACMs which daily occupancy could disturb or damage (including through routine maintenance, or fitting new equipment), while also determining the condition the materials are in.
Asbestos management surveys also pinpoint whether disturbed ACMs could discharge their fibres into the atmosphere, while providing important advice concerning site remediation and prioritising any work that needs doing following the survey.
Where the premises are straightforward, the duty-holder might be able to conduct an asbestos management survey themselves. However, in most cases, you’ll need to contact a professional surveyor or asbestos management and testing firm, although no particular licence is needed.
What Does This Kind of Asbestos Management Aim to Achieve?
There are a number of aims, including:
- Ensuring that no one in the building accidentally disturbs any ACMs
- That the ACMs stay in an acceptable condition
- To protect everyone using the building from potential harm from the ACMs
And What Precisely is Involved?
You should certainly be prepared for a degree of disturbance with these asbestos surveys. Exactly how much disruption will vary from one site to another, and a number of different factors are involved, from the type of building to how it was constructed and how accessible it is. However, an asbestos management survey won’t cause any significant damage.
Surveyors check either the designated area or all parts of a building to identify any and all ACMs which may be there.
All of the following will be on their checklist:
- Any other surfaces
- Suspended ceiling voids
- Accessible risers
- Loft spaces
Where necessary, these asbestos surveys also encompass asbestos air testing and the taking away of specific samples of the suspected materials for analysis and asbestos testing, usually in a special asbestos laboratory. This will then confirm whether asbestos is indeed there – or not.
At the same time, risk assessments are carried out on all materials suspected as potentially containing asbestos. This calculates how likely the materials are to release fibres on being disturbed, making it possible to develop an effective asbestos management plan.
Clearly, your building will need to be empty before the asbestos testing can take place.
The report following the survey should detail the type of asbestos found, where and how much is there, its condition and any treatment needed. This is called a materials assessment, and any site remediation work needed is also outlined here.
The areas not sampled should be identified, too, and you should assume that this was the case because there were no ACMs.
Duty-holders also need to be aware that, while asbestos management surveys include routine maintenance activities, they may not provide all the information needed if more extensive work is proposed. Any work affecting the fabric of a building needs a different kind of asbestos testing, in the form of a more localised and intrusive refurbishment survey, which should take place before any work starts.
What Does the Surveyor Need?
Ahead of your asbestos management survey, provide the inspecting company with the following:
- Building plans
- Site layout
- Architect’s drawings or building spec
- A full history of previous asbestos management work
Get In Touch if You’re Looking for Asbestos Management Surveys
At Core Surveys, we’ve been asbestos management specialists since 2004, and have built up extensive industry knowledge over the years. We’re full accredited to undertake all kinds of asbestos testing, including asbestos management surveys and asbestos air testing. We cover London, the south and Wales, offering a full line-up of consultancy services. Get in touch and learn more about how we could help you meet your asbestos management needs.