What is Asbestos Survey ?


The purpose of surveying is to make a ‘materials assessment

  1. To find ACM and record what it is, where it is and how much there is
  2. To record how accessible it is, its condition, and any surface treatment
  3. To record the asbestos type, by sampling or by presuming

Asbestos is the general term used for a group of six fibrous silicate minerals. Any product or material
containing one or more of these fibrous silicates falls under the legal definition of asbestos. The risk from
particular asbestos containing materials (ACMs) is determined by their friability: the ease with which they
release fibres. The higher the friability, the greater the potential risk.
The presence of ACMs in buildings has been linked to a range of diseases. All types of asbestos are
classified as group 1 carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO). This classification is given to
substances that are known to be carcinogenic to humans. Worldwide, more than 107,000 people die each
year from asbestos exposure, and over 5,500 of these deaths occur in the UK

Types of survey

The duty-holder, building owner, employer and surveyor need to be clear on the type of survey needed, where the survey is needed, and what records should result.

There are two types of survey for ACM

Management survey

The Management Survey purpose is required to manage ACM during the normal occupation and use of premises.  The duty-holder can make a Management Survey where the premises are simple and straightforward.  Otherwise, a surveyor is needed.

  • A Management Survey aims to ensure that:
  1. nobody is harmed by the continuing presence of ACM in the premises or equipment
  2. that the ACM remain in good condition
  3. that nobody disturbs it accidentally

The Survey must locate ACM that could be damaged or disturbed by normal activities, by foreseeable maintenance, or by installing new equipment.  It involves minor intrusion and minor asbestos disturbance to make a Materials Assessment.  This shows the ability of ACM, if disturbed, to release fibres into the air.  It guides the client, eg in prioritising any remedial work.

Refurbishment / demolition survey

The Refurbishment / demolition Survey is required where the premises, or part of it, need upgrading, refurbishment or demolition.  The Survey does not need a record of the ACM condition.  Normally, a surveyor is needed for Refurbishment / demolition Surveys.

  • A Refurbishment / demolition Survey aims to ensure that:
  1. nobody will be harmed by work on ACM in the premises or equipment
  2. such work will be done by the right contractor in the right way

The Survey must locate and identify all ACM before any structural work begins at a stated location or on stated equipment at the premises.  It involves destructive inspection and asbestos disturbance.  The area surveyed must be vacated, and certified ‘fit for reoccupation’ after the survey.

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