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Asbestos is a fibrous material that has been used in a variety of industries throughout the United Kingdom. The importing of asbestos was banned in the United kingdom in 1999. Asbestos was used to make building materials more rigid and fire resistant. There are three main types of asbestos, brown (amosite), blue (crocidolite) and white (chrysotile).

It has been commercially mined since the Industrial Revolution. Asbestos was nicknamed “the magic mineral” because it could be put to so many uses, so you could see it in floor tiles, sewage pipes, textured coatings such as Artex, insulating boards and road signs to name a few. It is a fairly indestructible product and thus can resist decay. It is believed that asbestos has been used in most school buildings and other public buildings, especially in the walls, ceilings and fire doors.

“The Control of Asbestos Regulation 2006 requires the management of risk from asbestos by finding out if there is asbestos in a building, its location and condition or alternatively assessing if ACM’s are liable to be present and making a presumption that materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not.

There are two types of Survey as per the Asbestos Surveyors Guide HSG:264: (A free PDF copy of the 2012 Second edition guide is available here)”.

The purpose of the survey is to help manage asbestos in the duty holder’s premises. The survey has to provide sufficient information for: an asbestos register and plan to be prepared, a suitable risk assessment to be carried out and a written plan to manage the risks to be produced.

Management Asbestos Survey

A management survey is the standard survey. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition.

Refurbishment and demolition surveys

A refurbishment and demolition survey is needed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This type of survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned.

The survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach.

A refurbishment and demolition survey may also be required in other circumstances, eg when more intrusive maintenance and repair work will be carried out or for plant removal or dismantling.