We are often asked whether asbestos surveys are a mandatory requirement, either for owners of residential or commercial properties. The truth is that it depends on the specific circumstances of the property. It’s also true that while sometimes it’s not necessarily mandatory to have a survey, it can be hugely important to ensure that no-one is put at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

The legal requirements of asbestos surveys

The major piece of legislation that defines the rules around asbestos and asbestos surveys is the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. For answers to specific questions regarding asbestos and the legal specifications and requirements, the government’s Health and Safety Executive website provides a useful FAQ section with information on asbestos.

In general, it is important to note that in a commercial and industrial setting, employers and building owners have a duty of care to ensure that any asbestos in their property is properly managed and the risk of exposure to staff and members of the general public is minimised. It is a legal requirement in this case for those with a duty of care to have a management plan in place – as an asbestos survey is an important part of this.

On a purely legal basis, there is no legal requirement for a building to have an asbestos survey conducted. However, depending on the circumstances, an asbestos survey may be essentially mandatory, and it is important to ensure that you follow government regulations closely to make sure you are doing everything safely and legally.

The different types of asbestos survey

There are two different types of asbestos survey available. These can be chosen based on why you are having the survey conducted, or to fulfil a legal requirement to ensure that you are maintaining asbestos at your property. Previously known as type 1, type 2, and type 3 surveys, these formats have been changed. Crucial Environmental now offers the two types of modern survey:

  • Management Survey – this is a combination of the old type 1 and type 2 asbestos surveys. These surveys are very popular and they are designed to be the first step in producing an asbestos management plan, in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. During this survey, professionals will investigate the property and take samples of any potential asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), these will then be sent to a lab for testing. Finally, you will receive a document detailing the position and condition of any asbestos found on your property.
  • Refurbishment and Demolition Survey – this survey fulfils the same role as the type 3 asbestos survey. If you are demolishing all or part of a building, or you are carrying out extensive refurbishment works, this survey is required. This type of survey is more extensive and intrusive, as it is designed to minimise the risk of asbestos exposure after the work has taken place.

We additionally offer homebuyer and pre-purchase asbestos surveys, however, these are not legally mandated.

Commercial and domestic property requirements

There is a difference between the legal requirements and the mandatory status of asbestos surveys depending on whether the premises in question are residential or non-residential.

If you are responsible for a non-domestic property that was built before 2000 you will almost certainly need to have an asbestos survey carried out. As discussed above, this is related to the duty of care that you are considered to hold for anyone who enters the premises from people you employee to members of the general public.

It should be noted that the results of an asbestos survey that you have undertaken must be made available to anyone who is planning or initiating maintenance work at your premises.

Almost any residential property that was built before 2000 could contain asbestos. While homeowners are not required to have an action plan in place, many prefer to understand the extent of the asbestos at their home and know how to manage or deal with it.

If you would like to learn more about whether an asbestos survey is mandatory, please get in contact with the team at Crucial Environmental today.