What is an Asbestos Survey?
In the early years, asbestos was one of the commonly used materials for both constructions and electrical insulation. That is because it is both durable and fire-resistant. While it is still in use in some cases, asbestos is restricted and phased out. It is one of the most toxic and health-threatening substances and thus not a good building material. Buildings with asbestos-containing materials are a health risk to the occupants or people working in them. They face the risk of exposure or inhaling asbestos airborne fibbers.
These days, federal, state and local authorities control building construction and demolition. They have to remove any asbestos-containing materials from buildings and surrounding areas.
Why You May Need an Asbestos Survey?
Since you cannot identify asbestos with bare eyes, it is important to use the right screening method. It involves sampling and lab analysis of materials suspected to be containing the substance. It is only the experts who can confirm whether it is present or not.
Simply put, an asbestos survey is a survey undertaken within a building, property or structure. It is done to find asbestos-containing materials. The survey can either confirm the presence or absence of asbestos materials. While it is important to carry out an asbestos survey for your property, it is paramount to ensure you have the right surveyor.
There are two main types of asbestos survey that you need to have on your property or building. That is the Management Asbestos survey and Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos survey.
Types of Asbestos Surveys:
Asbestos Management Survey
It is a survey needed to monitor and manage asbestos-containing materials. That is required before the normal occupation and the use of any building. The survey is necessary as it is not easy to identify asbestos in a building with bare eyes. It involves the sampling of materials with minimum intrusive work. During the survey, your property is inspected for any chemical presence, and a report has to be produced to confirm that.
In a management asbestos survey, the inspector or the surveyor may not need to take samples. Since there was no asbestos restriction before, most of the buildings that were constructed before the year 2000 in the UK need an inspection.
These days the asbestos management survey is needed before purchasing any building. That is the only way to confirm that the building does not contain any asbestos. Once there is any asbestos-containing material found, it is kept to ensure it does not harm the occupants. Also, a yearly inspection is required to assess the ACM’s risk that may still be on the premises.
Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Survey
It is a rule, especially in the UK, before demolition or any major refurbishment; an asbestos survey is carried out. The survey requires a qualified and experienced surveyor.
The purpose of the survey is to confirm that there is no presence of asbestos before any work begins to ensure the substance does not harm workers. The survey is detailed, and it required the place evacuated before it begins. During the survey, any materials found containing the asbestos are destroyed before the space can be used or occupied again.
Any property containing asbestos must be freed from it before demolition or construction can occur. There must be an inspection certificate issued to confirm the removal of all the ACM from the premises. No one can carry out the asbestos survey except the qualified and certified asbestos surveyors.
Is Asbestos Survey a Legal Requirement?
Any building that was built before the year 2000 must be inspected for asbestos before occupation. Anyone owning a non-domestic property built before 2000 has a legal duty to ensure the property is surveyed. The surveyor should guide you into understanding the right survey that you need for your property. It is the duty of the property owner to confirm that the building is free from asbestos-containing materials. They owe that duty to the visitors and the occupants as well. Also before construction the space must be inspected to confirm there is no ACM.
The surveyor must issue a report after completing the survey. It gives the details of the findings after testing samples. If there are any materials found to contain asbestos, they are included in the report and the steps taken to ensure no one is hurt.
Frequent Asked Questions
The following are questions that most people ask about asbestos.
1. What is The Health Risk if I Have Asbestos in My Home or building?
When asbestos is not disturbed, it may not pose any health risks. When you disturb the asbestos, when demolishing a building, it produces airborne fibbers. That can be inhaled and cause health hazards.
2. How Can I identify What Materials in My Building Contain Asbestos?
It is not possible to identify asbestos-containing materials without carrying out a survey. The qualified surveyor is the only certified individual to ascertain the actual position. That is after carrying out tests to confirm whether the building contains asbestos or not.
3. Do I Need an ACM Survey before Demolishing My Building?
Yes, a full asbestos-containing materials survey is required before demolishing any building. You need to present an asbestos survey certificate to get a demolition permit.
4. Which Asbestos Survey is Necessary for My Building?
The kind of survey you need will depend on what you want to do with the building. If you are demolishing or refurbishing the building, you will need a different survey than the occupation survey. The inspection company should guide you in understanding the different surveys you need for your building.
Before you carry out any survey, it is important also to ensure you are working with the right individuals. Find out whether your surveyor is qualified to carry out the inspection survey. That is the only way you can be sure you are doing the right survey and following the law.
There is also a lot that you need to learn and understand about asbestos, and without the proper training, you may not know everything. It is risky to think that you know everything you need to know about asbestos. It is thus prudent to work with a certified inspector all the time. The expert will help you understand what surveys you need for your property and when you need them.