Asbestos surveying and the asbestos management plan
All non-domestic buildings and their surroundings must be surveyed to find any asbestos containing materials (ACM) and where they are found a management plan put in place.
This regulation, in simple terms, says that, by May of 2004:
The Duty Holder organising the survey is the entity responsible for the building. Sometimes with multiple tenancies and vague contracts it can be difficult to agree who this is. So the regulations say that where the Duty Holder is not clear all parties must work together to ensure that the building is surveyed and a management plan written.
There will also be situations where domestic properties need to be surveyed to assess the risk from any ACMs. Such as before any construction work on the fabric of the building is carried out as a contractor has a responsibility to carry out a risk assessment before he starts work and asbestos release is one of the risks he must assess. So he must assure himself that ACMs are not present but if they are he needs to assess if he is competent to work safely with them. If he is not he must call in a contractor who is competent.
The term non-domestic building needs some explanation. Obviously a domestic house is not covered by this regulation but some parts of a block of flats are non-domestic and so are covered. Such as common areas, typically, foyers, corridors, lifts and lift shafts, staircases, boiler houses, vertical risers, roofs, gardens, yards and outhouses, and so need to be surveyed. Common areas are not shared rooms such as kitchens or communal dining rooms and lounges in shared housing or sheltered accommodation and so they are not covered by the regulations.
The survey must include fixed plant and machinery, but not those such as trucks that only come onto the premises from time to time. It should be noted that many old machines can contain asbestos in gaskets, brakes, clutches, under spray, etc. This will need to be checked.
It is important that a competent surveyor is used, to ensure that all accessible ACMs are found and that the surveyor has adequate knowledge of the health risks of the different ACMs to be able to write a management plan.
The HSE has provided a Code of Practice for the selection of a surveyor and on how the surveyor should carry out their survey and write their report. This is a good starting point but it is over bureaucratic with the criteria for how a surveyor can prove their competence relying too much on formal qualifications and checklists. If this code of practice is followed fully it will force out of business many very competent small surveying companies that have built up their expertise over many years. The senior managers within the HSE understand that regulations should not be written that are a barrier to small companies but so often the detailed regulation does just that. There are I believe a number of reasons; it is so much easier to set out the qualifications required for any given job but far harder to set out how a competent person without qualifications can be recognised and another is the consultation process. Large firms find it easier to allow one of their staff the time to become involved in the development of regulations, but very few small firms cannot afford the time.
Finding a Competent Asbestos Surveyor
Types of asbestos Surveys
Note 1 There will be situations where from the age of the suspect material and a visual inspection the surveyor can be confident that it does contain asbestos and so there will be no requirement for analysis.
The Asbestos Information Centre is probably the BEST place to advertise your asbestos web site, for removal, consultancy or advice; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We have done our best to ensure that any information provided is accurate but it has been obtained from a number of different sources and so the Asbestos Information Centre can not be held responsible for any inaccuracies. If you do notice any inaccuracies please advise us at email@example.com so that they can be corrected. This web site is not a complete guide to the Health and Safety responsibilities when dealing with asbestos containing products. The information given is of a general nature and so does not address the specific circumstances of any particular situation. The guidance is given with the best intentions but nothing in this web site shall create or be deemed to create any obligations, whether expressed or implied, on the AIC.