Asbestos would be a great building product were it not for the
signficant health risks. It has a high resistance to heat and
many chemicals and was the building material of choice in the
1960s to the mid '70s in the UK - before the potentially
deadly properties of asbestos were known.
During this time asbestos was used for a
number of jobs such as; floor tiles, pipe lagging, textured
paints (Artex), internal partitions, central heating systems,
roofs, gutters, rainwater downpipes, cement cladding, fire
protection to structural steelwork, fuse boxes, bitumen products
and many, many more.
Why is asbestos
When asbestos is in good condition, it poses no significant
health risks. The danger arises when asbestos is damaged -
through bumps and scrapes sustained by any building over the
years - or destroyed by cutting, drilling or ripping.
When disturbed, airborne fibres are released,
which can kill. Individuals working in the building and
maintenance trades e.g. builders, plumbers, electricians, cable
installers are at greatest risk from asbestos. These people are
most likely to work on a building without sufficient knowledge as
to where asbestos might be and how to avoid it.
Why do I need an
To protect any person, especially workmen, from accidentally
exposing themselves and others to asbestos fibres.
There are many documented instances of
builders, plumbers and electricians drilling through innocuous
panels, or cutting into pipe insulation, only to discover later
that a potentially lethal mistake has been made.
What if I don't
bother having a survey carried out?
If you are the duty holder for a commercial property you are
liable to prosecution. Failure to comply with the new asbestos
regulations may also mean that a prohibition notice is placed on
your buildings - effectively closing you down until your
workplace is confirmed safe.
Can I survey the
building for asbestos myself?
Yes - but only if you are suitably qualified to do so. The
regulations state that the asbestos survey must be carried out by
a competent person. At AFA we have the necessary experience and
qualifications to carry out asbestos surveys safely and
How much will an
asbestos survey cost?
That depends on the size and age of your building and the type of
survey you require. AFA will be happy to provide you with advice
or a free quote. Will I be able to understand the asbestos
report? Yes and if there's anything in the asbestos report
that you're not sure about just ask and we'll be happy to
explain it to you.
THERE ARE THREE
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASBESTOS SURVEY:
Type One: Location and assessment survey (presumptive
survey) The purpose of a Type 1 survey is to locate, as far as
reasonably practical, any suspected Asbestos Containing Materials
(ACMs) in the building and assess the risk. All areas must be
accessed and inspected (including; above false ceilings and
inside risers, service ducts, lift shafts etc.) or they will be
presumed to contain asbestos.
Type Two: Standard sampling,
identification and assessment survey (sampling survey) The
purpose and procedures used in this survey are the same as the
Type 1 survey. With the Type 2 survey, however, representative
samples are collected and analysed for the presence of asbestos.
Samples from each suspected ACM are collected and analysed to
confirm or negate the surveyor's judgement. Sampling may take
place with the survey or, in the case of some larger surveys, as
a separate exercise following completion of a Type 1 survey.
Type Three: Full access sampling and
identification survey(Pre-demolition / Major Refurbishment
Surveys.) A Type 3 survey is used to locate and describe, as far
as reasonably practical, all ACMs in the building and involving,
if necessary, invasive inspection to gain access to all areas,
however difficult to reach.
During this survey, potential ACMs will be
identified and an estimate made of their volume and surface area.
This survey is designed to be used as a basis for tendering the
removal of ACMs from the building prior to demolition or major
refurbishment. A Type 3 survey does not assess the condition of
the asbestos other than to note areas of damage or where
additional asbestos debris could possibly be found.
The type of survey you need will depend on
your individual circumstances and at AFA we can advise you on the
type of survey most appropriate to your needs.