Asbestos Regulations for Commercial Properties
If you own, or are thinking about buying, a commercial property, the Control Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR2012) act states that if the building is built before 2000, you are responsible for managing any asbestos that is in that property, unless your contract or lease states otherwise. This includes rental properties, derelict buildings, vacant premises and warehouse, among others.
However, unless you have an asbestos survey you won’t know if there is any asbestos in the building, and so you won’t know if you need to manage it.
What You Need to Do: As a Landlord
As a commercial property owner you must:
1) Check your lease or contract to find out who is responsible for the asbestos.
2) Find out where the asbestos is. To do this you will need an accredited asbestos surveyor to carry out the work.
3) Have the materials analysed, and ensure you keep a record of what you find and where you find it.
4) Carry out a health and safety risk assessment.
5) Share the asbestos survey information with anyone likely to come into contact with the area, for example, builders, contractors or electricians who are completing work on the property.
6) Keep anything containing asbestos in good repair, or have it sealed or removed.
What You Need to Do: As a Tenant:
If you are renting a property that contains asbestos you must make sure any affected areas remain in good condition at all times. Also, do not carry out any repair or DIY work without fully considering the conditions of your tenancy, and the commercial asbestos report.
Failure to Comply
If you have not conducted commercial asbestos reporting, and if you do not have a plan to deal with the asbestos, you could face serious consequences. The current penalties* are a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months. For a more serious commercial asbestos breach you could face an unlimited fine and up to 2 years in prison.
Asbestos is not an area to be taken lightly, it can have potentially life threatening effects on people’s lives, and it can also result in fines or prison sentences if regulations are not complied with. As a commercial property owner always ensure you stay on top of asbestos reporting and inspecting.
* correct as of March 2021, always check the government website for updates.