Frequently Asked Questions
Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. It is in many of the common materials used in the building trade that you may come across during your work.
Our surveyors will never leave asbestos containing materials (ACM) in a dangerous state that has potential to expose people. ACMs that have been sampled by the surveyor will be sealed at the point of sampling. Any ACMs which are found in poor condition/ surface treatment with potential to expose, our surveyor will recommend to the duty holder to restrict access to that area in question following sample analysis results/ asbestos abatement & removal works as advised in the recommendation section of the report.
Reassurance, Leak, Clearance, Personal Air monitoring is a requirement during/ after asbestos removal works. Air monitoring may also be required to determine the extent of contamination, Background Air monitoring to establish the fibre concentration of the ambient environment, Personal Air monitoring to assess effectiveness of control measures, and Reassurance Air monitoring to give confidence to staff.
The asbestos risk register is a key component of the required plan on how you will manage any asbestos found, or presumed to be, in your buildings. This management plan must contain current information about the presence and condition of any asbestos in the building. The asbestos risk register will therefore need to be updated on a regular basis (at least once a year). To do this you should make:
The risk register can be kept as a paper or electronic record and it is very important that this is kept up to date and easily accessible. Paper copies may be easier to pass on to visiting maintenance workers, who will need them to know the location and condition of any asbestos before they start work. Electronic copies are easier to update and are probably better suited for people responsible for large numbers of properties or bigger premises.
All work with: Spray coating, thermal Insulation, loose insulation, insulating boards, or severely degraded/ damaged cement/textured coating/ textiles or bitumen products will require 14 day notification to the HSE before any work can start.
People who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos are understandably anxious and concerned about the possible effects on their health. Many cases of inadvertent, short-term exposure to asbestos will most likely have led to minimal exposure to fibres, with little likelihood of any long-term ill health effects.
Although the type of asbestos involved and duration of exposure may be known, there may be little reliable information about the level of exposure. These are all important factors in determining the level of risk – the more fibres that are released by an asbestos-containing material, and the longer the work activity lasts, the greater the cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres and, therefore, an increased risk of ill health effects.
Some work activities are more likely to create a significant concentration of asbestos fibres in the air, and therefore, add to the risk if suitable precautions are not in place; for example:
Use of power tools (to drill, cut etc.) on most ACMs work that leads to physical disturbance (knocking, breaking, smashing) of an ACM that should only be handled by a licensed contractor e.g. sprayed coating, lagging, asbestos insulating board (AIB)manually cutting or drilling AIB work involving aggressive physical disturbance of asbestos cement e.g. breaking or smashing
If you are concerned about possible exposure to asbestos from work activities, you are advised to consult your GP and ask for a note to be made in your personal record about possible exposure, including date(s), duration, type of asbestos and likely exposure levels (if known). In some circumstances, your GP may refer you to a specialist in respiratory medicine.
Yes you can check for asbestos yourself, but only if you have the P402 qualification (or equivalent), 6 months recent/ relevant experience in that specific building type. The samples must be analysed in a UKAS accredited laboratory. You will also need to provide, risk assessment scoring for each room/ item to form a management plan with an asbestos register, detailed plans showing AMC extent and location of sample points.
Recommendations will still need to be actioned within the timeframe set out by each risk assessment score and AMCs which remain need regular re-inspection/ remediation to comply with the law.
There are two types of companies that will offer asbestos surveying services; independent asbestos consultancies like ourselves, who are not affiliated to removal companies, and asbestos removal companies.
The easiest and most reliable way is to use a trusted and independent Asbestos consultancy and avoid liability of doing the work yourself and/or potential speculation from asbestos removal contractors.
The duty to manage asbestos is a legal requirement under the control of asbestos regulations 2012 (regulation 4). It applies to the owners and occupiers of commercial or industrial premises who have responsibility for maintenance and repair activities. In addition to these responsibilities they also have a duty to assess the presence and condition of any asbestos-containing materials. If asbestos is present then it must be managed appropriately. This duty also applies to the shared parts of some domestic premises.
Yes, you will need to manage the asbestos containing materials within any building built before the year 2000.
Managing agents are responsible for the maintenance within the buildings they manage and therefore have a legal obligation as the duty-holder. (Regulation 4a of CAR 2012)
Managing agents should not allow the public or workers to enter these properties before the asbestos containing materials have been properly identified and the risks assessed and reduced as far as reasonably practical.
Completing an asbestos management survey to each building will provide you with all the information you need to manage the risk of each asbestos-containing item, within each property. This will provide you with evidence of a safe environment that allows normal workers and the public to enter the property safely.
You will also need to ensure that any hidden asbestos-containing items, which would not have been identified by a management survey, have been suitably identified and the recommendations actioned before any refurbishment or demolition work is allowed to start. This will create a safe working environment before you allow the workers to refurbish or demolish within any property you manage.
This will enable you to manage the risk and therefore comply with the control of asbestos regulations 2012 (failure to comply can result in a prohibition of the business, large fines and custodial sentencing for offenders).
This will also help negate future legal action from persons who may have been exposed to asbestos while working in your property by reducing any exposure as far as reasonably practical.
The duty holder (person responsible for maintenance) is responsible for managing the risk from asbestos by completing a management survey to the building and following the recommendations to repair/remove or label and re-inspect the asbestos-containing items. They are also responsible for completing a refurbishment/ demolition survey before any refurbishment or demolition works are carried out.
The duty holder is normally the landlord although this responsibility may be given to the tenant if it has been previously agreed in the rental contract.
An Asbestos survey is an effective way to help you manage asbestos in your premises by providing accurate information about the location, amount, and type of asbestos containing materials. Duty holders in buildings constructed before the year 2000 who decide not to carry out asbestos surveys to their premises must presume that all materials that don’t have strong evidence to suggest they don’t contain asbestos, to contain asbestos in its most dangerous form and take all appropriate precautions for any work that takes place. It is also good practice to have an asbestos survey carried out so you can be sure whether asbestos is present or not. The asbestos survey will provide an asbestos register, risk assessment and management plan to help comply with the law. The survey will normally involve sampling and analysis to determine the presence of asbestos so asbestos surveys must only be carried out by competent surveyors who can clearly demonstrate they have the necessary skills, experience and qualifications.
You should stop work immediately and restrict access to the suspected items. The suspected items should be identified by sample analysis or presumption that the items contain the most dangerous types of product/ asbestos so a risk assessment can be accurately carried out. Sample analysis will help you determine if the work requires a licensed contractor and notification to the HSE instead of presuming that you do.
You should only carry out non licensed work on asbestos if you have the appropriate information, instruction, and training.
Younger people, if routinely exposed to asbestos fibres over time, are at greater risk of developing asbestos related disease than older workers. This is due to the time it takes for the body to develop symptoms after exposure to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos can cause four main diseases.
Mesothelioma, Lung cancer, Diffuse pleural thickening and Asbestosis.
Yes! Asbestos fibres are the source of the biggest occupational killer in the UK; Mesothelioma, which kills around 5,000 a year, with a steadily upward trend that is forecast to reach 10,000 deaths per year, before the increase slows down. Mesothelioma is only 1 of 3 of the main asbestos related diseases, and has a zero survival rate due to the aggressive nature of the cancer (6months- 2 years survival from diagnosis). Mesothelioma cancers effect the membrane that surrounds the lungs.
During the 150 year study of the town of Amosite, 20 miles away from the Amosite mine in South Africa, it was observed that workers unknowingly took the microscopic fibres home and also killed their families.
Asbestos-containing materials can, however, be sealed, protected, labelled, monitored and managed to allow occupants a low-risk environment.
Asbestos was a widely-used material within commercial buildings, homes and machinery until 1999, when it was banned. 850 million tons of raw asbestos was mixed into other products and installed into buildings, ships, cars, trains, tunnels, bridges, underground pipework and other locations in the UK until it was made illegal to sell or use products containing these mineral fibres. Although some of these materials have been safely removed the majority has been left in situ/ hidden or has been poorly removed making their risk of damage/ exposure increase.
It is often difficult to identify asbestos, as it is often mixed into other products. A list of asbestos containing materials can be found on the HSE website and the Survey Guide HSG 264. Using a qualified and experienced asbestos surveyor to visually identify/ sample suspected items with scientific analysis of samples by a UKAS accredited laboratory is the method of identification which complies with UK safety legislation.
A. Asbestos cement Water tank
B. Pipe lagging
C. Loose fill insulation
D. Textured decorative coating eg artex
E. Asbestos Insulating Board ceiling tiles
F. Asbestos Insulating Board bath panel
G. Toilet seat and cistern
H. Asbestos Insulating Board behind fuse box
I. Asbestos Insulating Board airing cupboard and/or sprayed insulation coating boiler
J. Asbestos Insulating Board partition wall
L. Asbestos Insulating Board around boiler
M. Vinyl floor tiles
N. Asbestos Insulating Board behind fire
O. Gutters andAsbestos cement downpipes
P. Soffits – Asbestos Insulating Board or asbestos cement
Q. Asbestos Insulating Board exterior window panel
R. Asbestos cement roof
S. Asbestos cement panels
T. Roofing felt
1. Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls, beams and columns
2. Asbestos cement water tank
3. Loose fill insulation
4. Lagging on boilers and pipes
5. Asbestos Insulating Board ceiling tiles
6. Toilet seat and cistern
7. Asbestos Insulating Board partition walls
8. Asbestos Insulating Board panels in fire doors
9. Asbestos rope seals, gaskets and paper
11. Asbestos Insulating Board around boilers
12. Textiles eg fire blankets
13. Textured decorating coatings on walls and ceilings eg artex
14. Asbestos cement roof
15. Asbestos cement panels
16. Asbestos cement gutters and downpipes
17. Soffits – Asbestos Insulating Board or asbestos cement
18. Asbestos cement flue