If you are the owner of non-domestic premises, or you are the person or organisation that has responsibility for the repair and/or maintenance of such premises, then the duty falls to you to manage the asbestos that may be in those premises under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012).
There are a number of duties that are set out in the Regulations with regards to the management of asbestos in any non-domestic property, as outlined by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Whether you are subject to a routine visit from the HSE or the visit is part of a specific HSE campaign, it is almost certain that you be asked about your asbestos management practices and in particular you will be asked for two critical pieces of information:
‘Can I see your Asbestos Survey Register and your Asbestos Management Plan please?’
In Part 1 of this blog, we aim to outline the initial steps to compliance through the identification of asbestos containing materials (ACMs).
Firstly it is important to understand that there are two recognized asbestos survey types:
• Management Survey
• Refurbishment & demolition Survey
All Duty Holders must take reasonable steps to find out if there are any materials within their premises that contain asbestos, and if there are, establish the location and condition of the materials. A management survey is a non-intrusive survey that will detail locations, and suspected locations of asbestos within a property or site. Should an area of the building be inaccessible, then it should be presumed that asbestos is present until proven otherwise. Although deemed to be a non-intrusive survey, the Management Survey will need to cover any areas of high maintenance, such as risers and voids, and therefore will require some intrusive access activity if required.
Management surveys will also provide information with respect to the condition, friability and surface treatment of all ACMs identified, and presumed, and the likelihood for the material to be disturbed, allowing the Duty Holder to make a thorough risk assessment.
The Management Survey forms the backbone of the site asbestos register; a complete record of the location and condition of ACMs within the building, or site. There is also a requirement to ensure that the Asbestos Register is kept up-to-date, through periodic condition inspections and recording specific details of building alterations and any ACMs removed, either as a result of refurbishment works or as part of a risk reduction programme – based upon the prioritized removal of ACMs according to risk scores and of course financial budget.
The Asbestos Register must be shared with anyone who is liable to work on or disturb any asbestos containing material. This includes anyone who works for the duty holder, and any contractor who is appointed by the duty holder to carry out work on the premises. There are a variety of methods to sharing this information, from hard copy site logs to web-based portals, but it is vital that those working within the building concerned are fully aware of the presence and location of ACMs and that they acknowledge their understanding in some manner.
Refurbishment & Demolition surveys are required when any works required will disturb the fabric of the building. It is essential that this requirement is considered and accounted for in the planning phase of any refurbishment scheme. As the name suggests this type of survey is an intrusive survey and focuses entirely around the scope of the refurbishment scheme or demolition of a particular area or building. Although, more often than not, ACMs identified by an R&D survey will need to be removed prior to commencement of work, it is important that they are added to the overall Asbestos Register so that those remaining can be managed on an ongoing basis.
Although it is not a legislative requirement, it is strongly recommended that a UKAS accredited surveying body is commissioned to undertake both types of survey. This can ensure that the inspection works are undertaken by competently trained personnel, operating under an accredited quality system, minimizing the risk associated with unreliable inspection and testing results. By appointing such organizations the Duty Holder will be able to rely on an asbestos consultant to advise on the most appropriate course of action required as a result of survey findings and ensuring ongoing compliance.
Hopefully you will find this information useful in taking the first steps to complying with Regulation 4 The Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises. It is important to remember that it is a duty to manage and not just a duty to survey. The scale and complexity of your survey will entirely depend upon the size and nature of the building or site that you manage. There are also a number of other obligations that Duty Holders have under the regulation and we will cover a few more of these in Part 2 tomorrow……