What is asbestos?
Asbestos refers to the naturally occurring fibrous material that was popular in the 1950s as a building material. It was often used an insulator and has good fire properties. Its popularity declined in the 1970s when it was discovered that it was the cause of asbestos industry related lung cancer.
It has since been banned as a building material and it is illegal to import the substance into the country. As the ban has occurred in the past decade, any building that contains asbestos must be regulated and managed. Removal of materials containing asbestos is a duty that must be upheld by a manager.
Under the guidance of the Health and Safety executive, there are two types of asbestos survey that must be carried out on buildings that may contain the substance. The two types of asbestos survey include; Asbestos management and asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey.
Asbestos management survey
This is the standard type of survey and it is used to locate the presence and assess the extent of any suspect asbestos containing materials (ACM). The survey will analyse if these materials could be damaged or disturbed during any foreseeable maintenance and to assess their condition.
A survey will often include some intrusive work that may cause some disturbances. The extent of the disturbances will rely on factors such as the type of building and the nature of the construction. An asbestos management survey will analyse the condition of the asbestos containing material and its ability to release fibres into the air. Once the survey is done, it will give you an initial guide on how best to manage the ACM and will identity which materials are most at risk of releasing fibres.
Asbestos refurbishment and demolition
If carrying out any refurbishment or demolition work on a building containing ACM, this survey must be performed by law. The survey is to locate where the ACM is within the building, the nature of the refurbishment and how much of the building will be demolished.
This survey is quite intrusive and may require a destructive inspection to gain access to all areas that are difficult to examine. A requirement in CAR 2012 that states that all ACM to be removed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This is to prevent the spread of hazardous fibres contained in asbestos containing materials.
After completion of either type of survey, the client is given the following documents:
– A detailed report indicating the location of any ACM or if none were to be found.
– A register used to identify the areas, monitor the condition and keep an up-to date action plan on any ACM found.
– Risk assessments on each item or area of asbestos found.
– Photographs and drawings of any items or areas that contained asbestos.
– Advice on how to manage and treat any ACM.
– Guidance on continuing inspections and how to keep the asbestos register up to date.
It is always best to ask the advice of an asbestos removal specialist, especially in commercial buildings, how performing surveys and how best to handle and manage any ACM.
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a writer, poker player and entrepreneur. He enjoys going to the gym and being a personal trainer.