Since 2004, it has been a legal requirement for all commercial premises built prior to 2000, to have and maintain an asbestos register.
The main legislation affecting asbestos is The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, though certain aspects are also covered by other health and safety legislation.
The regulations describe what employers and landlords of commercial premises need to do in order to protect visitors and the workforce from the dangers of asbestos.
This usually means having an asbestos register compiled by a competent person (an asbestos surveyor) following a physical survey of the premises, known as an asbestos survey.
The purpose of an asbestos survey is to identify materials that may contain asbestos.
When a suspected material is discovered, a photograph is taken for entry into the asbestos register for the premises. In some cases, a sample of the material will be taken to confirm the presence (or not) of asbestos in the material.
Asbestos sampling is not compulsory in the most basic form of survey, which was previously known as a Type 1 asbestos survey and now referred to as a Management Asbestos Survey, but it is recommended that selective asbestos sampling is undertaken where asbestos presence may cause increased maintenance costs later – it is better to rule out the presence of asbestos in these cases, rather than to presume that asbestos is present.
The old type 2 asbestos survey involved sampling of all materials suspected of containing asbestos, but in most cases, a type 2 asbestos survey was not necessary in order for compliance with the regulations.
New Names, Same Surveys
Asbestos surveys are no longer known as “type 1”, “type 2” and “type 3” since the publication of the HSE’s guidance notes (HSG264, Asbestos: The Survey Guide).
They have been replaced with the “Management Survey” and “Refurbishment Survey” and “Demolition Survey”.
The Management Survey is a combination of the type 1 and type 2 surveys, which includes sampling, but may be restricted to sampling only those materials where the presumption of asbestos could create difficulties or unnecessary expense for the building’s duty holder.
We have always been supportive of this approach and in most cases to date, where an old type 1 or type 2 survey was requested, have conducted a survey with selective sampling, which reduces the cost of the survey.
The old “Type 3” asbestos survey is required on premises that are undergoing major refurbishment or are due for demolition and is now known as either a “Demolition or Refurbishment” survey.
These are both intrusive surveys and may involve some damage to certain decorative finishes and even the fabric of the building, since the surveyor will be looking to reduce potential asbestos risks to demolition or refurbishment contractors where possible.
The demolition survey involves extensive asbestos sampling, in the areas affected by demolition or major refurbishment works.
Both demolition and refurbishment surveys can be restricted to those areas in the building likely to be affected by demolition or refurbishment works, with the remainder of the building being subject to a less intrusive management survey.
The HSE guidelines are available for free download by clicking here.
If you would like to discuss the options available to you, or would like specific advice about different types of asbestos surveys,we will be very pleased to talk with you by telephone at any time on 0121 711 7110.