Surveying and Re-Inspections
From Asbestos Consultancy
Independent Advice: AEC is an independent health, safety and environmental consultancy with no financial, or other link, to any asbestos removal contractor. Any recommendation made will be based purely on health and safety risk, giving assurance that there is no conflict of interest. Our surveyors use the latest digital tecnology that provides efficiency and uniformity when conducting asbestos surveys and results in high quality data management.
AEC is able to undertake the sampling and collection of material suspected to contain asbestos; this will include a site visit. The samples are delivered to the AEC Laboratories in Manchester for analysis
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. The areas inspected should include: floor coverings, above false ceilings (ceiling voids), lofts, inside risers, service ducts and lift shafts, basements, cellars, underground rooms, and undercrofts. A management survey includes an assessment of the condition of the various ACMs and their ability to release fibres into the air if they are disturbed.
Management surveys can involve a combination of sampling to confirm asbestos is present or presuming asbestos to be present, and AEC recommend that samples be taken as part of the management survey. All inaccessible areas shall be presumed to contain asbestos until in-depth surveys can be conducted to prove otherwise.
This type of survey allows duty holders / owners and occupiers, to safely manage asbestos in compliance with regulation 4 of the 'Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012'. It also allows social housing providers to comply with the risk assessments as outlined in regulation 5 of the 'Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012'.
Refurbishment / Demolition Survey
A refurbishment and demolition survey is required 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 level of competence and knowledge needed to conduct surveys is much greater than a management survey; and the intrusive nature of the survey presents increased health and safety risks.
Gaining full access is intrusive and extends the management survey to include investigations into reasonably and safely accessible sealed voids and the fabric of the building. This will involve breaking through partition walls, ceilings etc. to confirm the presence or absence of asbestos, and significant damage to fixtures, fittings and parts of the building occurs. In some situations, where concrete or brickwork requires removal, advice may have to be sought from a competent person, such as a structural engineer. As a consequence, refurbishment and demolition surveys should only be conducted in unoccupied areas to minimise risks to the public or employees. Ideally, the building should not be in service and all furnishings removed. For minor refurbishment, this would only apply to the room involved or even part of the room where the work is small and the room large.
There may be some circumstances where the building is still 'occupied' at the time a 'demolition' survey is carried out. For example in the educational sector, refurbishment/demolition surveys may be conducted in schools or colleges during one holiday, and the work not undertaken until the next holiday period. In such situations, the 'survey' will need extremely careful managing with personnel and equipment/furnishings being decanted and protected while the survey progresses through the building. Again, there should be effective isolation of the survey areas.
(nb. In the case of all surveys: A survey team shall not disturb any suspected asbestos installation in any other way than to take a representative sample, which is usually no bigger than a thumbnail). This measure is designed to minimise the risk of asbestos fibre release to both survey staff and occupants of the building, but also means that the surveyor cannot assess what materials may be present above/behind a suspected asbestos installation.
Furthermore, the removal of an asbestos installation to investigate behind becomes a licensable activity, and shall require the assistance of a licensed removal contractor to carry out such an investigation.