Asbestos is rarely at the forefront of the homeowner’s mind, but it should be if you are planning any kind of demolition or refurbishment on your property. The Control of Asbestos Regulations passed in 2012 gives homeowners and landlords a “duty” to protect everyone entering their dwelling from the harmful effects of airborne asbestos fibres, including anybody in the trades (contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc.) that they hire to work on their building. An asbestos demolition survey may be legally required to ensure your compliance with this legislation.
What is an asbestos demolition survey?
An asbestos demolition survey (alternatively known as an asbestos refurbishment survey) is an examination conducted by an expert to identify and remove as much of the ACMs (Asbestos Containing Materials) from a construction site as possible.
Why are they necessary?
Undisturbed asbestos is harmless, but its fibres can cause a variety of respiratory ailments (including lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma) if inhaled. Workers such as carpenters, plumbers, and other contractors are the most likely to develop these conditions due to their frequent, prolonged exposure to these airborne fibres. The British government passed legislation in 2002 (updated in 2006 and 2012) to protect them from unknowingly working on ACMs.
I recently had a management asbestos survey. Is that the same thing?
No, a management asbestos survey is a non-intrusive survey conducted to identify and contain any ACMs in a building. Once discovered, they are sealed to mitigate the risk of airborne exposure. British law mandates that all homes with ACMs get one of these at least every 12 months to properly assess the threat it poses.
An asbestos demolition survey is performed before a planned construction project that will disturb any asbestos in the work area, forcing the fibres airborne. Walls will be destroyed as required to find and eliminate all of the ACMs, allowing later contractors to safely complete the construction project.
Can I conduct an asbestos demolition survey myself?
Maybe, but probably not. British law requires the survey to be performed by a “competent person,” meaning somebody who knows what they are doing. If you are a trained asbestos expert equipped with both the protective gear and expertise required to safely remove asbestos, you may handle the survey yourself. Otherwise, you need to trust the job to professionals.
How much will it cost?
That depends on the size of the site, how old the building is, and the type(s) of asbestos in your home. If you have detailed information about your home including a building plan, we may be able to provide an accurate quote over the phone. Otherwise, we’ll need to schedule an appointment to examine your home to give you a realistic price.
Can I be home while you are working?
Absolutely not. Exposure to asbestos is too dangerous to conduct a demolition survey while a home is occupied or will be occupied in the near future. Furthermore, gas, electricity, and other mechanical systems must be isolated from the work site to ensure the safety of everybody involved.
What if I don’t get an asbestos demolition survey?
You will be legally liable for any asbestos-related medical conditions anybody contracts in your home. As previously stated, the Control of Asbestos Regulations passed in 2012 specify that homeowners and landlords have a legal duty to protect visitors, customers, and other guests from the harmful effects of asbestos. The resulting penalties could include fines and even imprisonment.
If you have any additional inquiries or would like to schedule an asbestos survey, please contact us today!
With over 40 years of experience in the asbestos survey industry, London-based asbestos specialists at Asbestos Kent are industry leaders.