When is an asbestos survey required ?

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As set out by the HSG264 there are only two surveys to be considered in Scotland, a Management Survey and Refurbishment & Demolition Survey although you can have a mixture of the two.

Commercial properties built before 2000 should all have an asbestos register (survey) in place, and any located ACM’s need be managed before being reviewed on an annual basis.

However, this is not the case as unfortunately many UK properties have not undergone an asbestos survey or the appropriate management controls are not in place. When this is combined with a lack of awareness among tradesmen, the general public and worse still property owners, it can lead to confusion.

Here is a list for your to check when an survey may be required :

  • Buying a Property – If you are buying a property (commercial or residential pre-2000) you should ideally have an asbestos survey. If you purchase the property without a survey and later find out it contains ACM’s, then it becomes your problem. Often this is only realised following a traditional building survey, or at the request of the lender who is effectively also taking some of the risk.
  • Selling a Property – Sellers often only encounter the need for a survey when a buyer, buyer’s agent or lender make the request. It’s not illegal to sell a house in the UK with asbestos, but if you are aware of the asbestos you should disclose this to potential buyers.
  • Entering a Lease – If you sign a lease, where you look after the maintenance of a property, then the responsibility for the asbestos, in most cases, lies with you. You should seek up to date information from your prospective landlord to ensure any asbestos present is in a safe condition and manageable.
  • Exiting a lease and Dilapidation – When you exit a lease you will need to ensure you have kept your asbestos information up to date and any asbestos is in a good condition. The landlord will generally expect this. If you haven’t complied with the statutory obligations, then you may be charged as part of the dilapidations process.
  • Moving Property into a Pension – Directors will often move property into some form of pension arrangement. The trustees will generally expect you to have up to date asbestos information so they can value the asset appropriately.
  • Utility company installing cables – This is a more recent phenomenon. As IT systems, electrical or heating systems are upgraded, the company in most cases will ask for an up to date survey. A management survey may not suffice, and it may need to be a refurbishment/ demolition survey to reflect any impending work to the fabric of the building.
  • Local Authority Requirement – You may have planning permission for a new development, extension or modification to a property. As part of the process you may be required to supply an appropriate asbestos survey to the local authority.
  • Landlord Common Areas – If you are a landlord and you look after commercial or residential properties, then the legislation requires that you are aware of asbestos in those ‘common areas’ of the property that you control. These areas can be overlooked and includes corridors. Stairwells, roof spaces, plant rooms and car parking areas.

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