Asbestos is well known as a “silent killer”, taking the lives of more and more people every year. In fact, it kills more people than road traffic accidents. In 1999, asbestos was banned, and this means that house constructed or refurbished before the turn of the century could contain asbestos. For this reason, asbestos refurbishment surveys are required for these buildings.
What is an asbestos refurbishment survey?
Asbestos surveys identify if you have asbestos material in your property. Owners of non-domestic properties have a legal duty to ensure that asbestos is handled properly and that it is not disturbed. If it must be disturbed, it must be handled in the safest possible manner in order to minimise the risk of exposing occupants to asbestos fibres.
Companies and surveyors carrying out the asbestos survey have different types of survey to undertake. The most common of these are “asbestos refurbishment surveys” and “asbestos management surveys”. Asbestos management surveys refer to visual inspections of a building. These surveys are “non-intrusive”, however samples of suspected asbestos-containing materials are collected before being robustly tested at a UKAS accredited laboratory.
In comparison, asbestos refurbishment surveys are classed as “intrusive and destructive”. They’re intended to identify all asbestos containing materials in an area before it is refurbished. This may be part of a building or a whole building. A third survey may be carried out which is an asbestos demolition survey, which is very destructive and is only performed in the event that a building is to be completely demolished.
Minimises risk and guarantees safety
It’s important to note that there no safe types of asbestos fibres. All types of this material are considered to cause the same asbestos-related diseases. For this reason, they’re all treated the same way under UK asbestos regulations. It’s so important that asbestos-containing materials are identified and removed safely by a professional company. Successful identification of ACMs also protects contractors, builders and anyone else working within a property.
Providing peace of mind
Many older buildings, particularly those with decorative coatings, old pipe and boiler insulation, could pose a risk. You might think that if already identified where asbestos is present within your property, you don’t need to carry out a survey, but this isn’t true. A refurbishment survey can look at the material in question, as well as the surrounding areas, such as the ceilings and walls, which could potentially contain ACMs. A survey is highly recommended to avoid nasty surprises.
Consider the Contractor
Before you get the builders in to carry out refurbishment work in your property, it’s essential that a survey is performed. A company that specialises in refurbishment won’t overty know that ACMs are present, and so it’s important to perform a survey in the first instance.