If you are a commercial property owner, are considering selling your building, or you are a managing agent or tenant of a commercial property, it is your responsibility to manage any asbestos risk within the property. If the building was constructed or renovated before the year 2000, then without an Asbestos Survey in place you will have to presume that the building contains asbestos. Once an asbestos survey is complete, if asbestos is present you will need to maintain an Asbestos Register and Asbestos Management Report. The starting point to producing these two documents is to commission an Asbestos Management Survey in order to establish if any asbestos is present in the building, the extent of the contamination and the associated risks based upon the condition, extent and likelihood of distribution and subsequent introduction of harmful airborne asbestos particles into the environment of the building.
In the absence of an asbestos survey, it is impossible to know whether there is any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the property, their extent and their condition.
The responsibilities of management in any commercial property are set out in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. These regulations are designed to protect people from related diseases, which are serious and can lead to serious illnesses or even death. Asbestos that’s in good condition and has a clear management plan in place can be a manageable risk.
The UK officially banned the asbestos in late 1999, so any commercial property built after 2000 will probably not contain asbestos which means that a survey won’t be needed. However, the substance was used in buildings for close to 2 centuries prior to that and therefore there is a high chance some will be present if you are looking to buy an older property.
Why Have A Commercial Asbestos Management Survey?
The commercial Asbestos Management Survey is used for managing asbestos in your premises. Unless your premises are straightforward, you will require a surveyor to do this for you. It can be hard to define what is classified as straightforward, so you should use a surveyor if you are in doubt.
An Asbestos Management Survey will identify any ACMs that likely to be disturbed by any regular daily activity, any installation of new equipment or any standard building maintenance.
Any ACMs present may have to be accessed and slightly disturbed during the management survey to get an idea of whether or not any asbestos fibres will be released into the air if they are disturbed, and also to collect samples (if instructed).
If own, occupy or rent a commercial property built before 2000, you will need to instruct an Asbestos Management Survey. Your responsibilities under British law are outlined in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012. It is your duty to protect anyone from exposure to asbestos in your property.
If you are considering purchasing a property built before 2000 and there currently is no Asbestos Management Survey for the building on record, the results of such a survey could influence the outcome of the purchase quite considerably.