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Asbestos - frequently asked questions

​What is the asbestos approved code of practice (ACoP) about?

The ACoP Management of Exposure to Asbestos in Workplace Buildings and Structures (Asbestos ACoP) was introduced in January 2005 and contains practical guidance on the steps which should be taken to ensure that dutyholders are meeting their legal requirements in respect of asbestos and ensuring the safety of persons. Although it is not mandatory to follow the guidance given, the ACoP does have a special legal status in that if you choose to deviate from the guidance given, then you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way.

I have been told that I have to have an asbestos survey carried out on my building, even if I don't intend to carry out any work. Why is this?

The Asbestos ACoP sets out the steps which should be taken to ensure that any asbestos containing materials are identified and the appropriate action taken to ensure that people aren't being placed at risk. Even if you do not intend to carry out any work, you should ensure that materials are identified and an Asbestos Register and Management Plan are prepared. This will ensure that both the people who normally occupy the building and persons coming in to carry out work, such as builders, plumbers etc. are not put at risk.

My company rents a building. Who is responsible for ensuring that the survey is carried out?

The person responsible for this, otherwise referred to as 'the dutyholder', is usually the party responsible for the maintenance of the building. This should be clearly defined within your tenancy agreement. In some instances, this may be a single responsibility but in many cases, such as multi-occupancy building, it will be a joint responsible.

Who can carry out a survey for me?

At present, there are two companies who are able to offer this service, SARBER Environmental Ltd and NAS Ltd

Are there different types of survey and if so, which should be carried out on my property?

In general, you should have a Management Survey (Type 2 survey) carried out if you having the survey done for the purpose of putting together a management plan. However, if you are intending to carry out major refurbishment works or demolish a building, then you should have a Demolition/refurbishment survey (Type 3 survey) which is more intrusive and will involve some minor demolition to reveal any hidden asbestos containing materials eg behind plasterboard ceilings etc.

I have had a Management survey done on my premises but now I am intending to have some work done. Do I need to do anything else?

If it is likely that the work you have planned will intrude into areas behind materials already sampled and it is possible that there are some other asbestos containing materials in these areas, then you should have a Type 3 survey carried out in these areas.

I have had a survey carried out and have produced my asbestos register and management plan. What do I do now?

You should ensure that when persons intend to carry out work in your premises which may interfere with the fabric of the building, you consult the asbestos register to check whether there is a risk of them coming into contact with any asbestos containing materials. A copy of the register should be available to all relevant persons and should also be brought to the attention of the emergency services if necessary.

I need to sample a material I think may contain asbestos. What should I do?

It is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to take a sample of any material which you suspect may contain asbestos as breakage is one of the primary causes of fibre release.

You can contact any of the licensed asbestos contractors who will be able to make an assessment of the material to determine whether it is likely to contain asbestos and will then take a sample in a controlled manner to confirm this.

List of licensed asbestos removal contractors

I have a sample of a material which I think may contain asbestos. Who can test it for me?

NAS Ltd is a UKAS accredited organisation and is able to carry out analysis of suspected asbestos containing materials.

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