Smart Asbestos Awareness

The Asbestos Survey Guide: What Survey Do I need?

In this article we discuss the types of Asbestos Survey, what one you need for each application, how much they cost and how long they take.

What is an Asbestos Survey?

An asbestos survey is an inspection and document undertaken by a competent person which:

  • as far as reasonably practicable locate and record the location, extent and product type of any presumed or known ACMs;
  • inspects and records information on the accessibility, condition and surface treatment of any presumed or known ACMs;
  • determines and records the asbestos type, either by collecting representative samples of suspect materials for laboratory identification, or by making a presumption based on the product type and its appearance etc.

A competent Asbestos Surveyor will carry out the survey by inspecting the property and write up their findings.

Why do I need an Asbestos Survey?

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires that the “Duty Holder” manage Asbestos Containing Material (ACMs) within their premises.

The asbestos survey then forms part of the Duty Holder’s Asbestos Management Plan which purpose is to implement a strategy to reduce the risk of asbestos fibre release.

You MUST undertake an asbestos if you manage a building or plan to undertake refurbishment or demolition works.

Could my building contain Asbestos?

The import and use of Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. You sometimes hear stories of a surveyor identifying Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) in buildings built after this date but this is very rare.

Asbestos was a common additive to building products between 1940 to 1990. If your property was built before or between these dates then it is highly likely that asbestos will be present in some form.

The only true way to find out whether your property contains Asbestos is to undertake an Asbestos Survey.

Find out common places you find asbestos here.

Asbestos Survey

Which type of Asbestos Survey do I need?

There are three main types of asbestos survey. Your intentions for the building will determine which asbestos survey you need. There are three main types of Asbestos Survey;

Management Survey

A management survey is the most basic type of asbestos survey and is require for all types of commercial property built before 2000.

The purpose of the management survey is to aid the preparation of the asbestos register and ongoing management plan. Recommendations from the plan may be to undertake Asbestos Awareness training.

The survey identifies the location of asbestos, its condition and quantity. Samples do not need to be taken for this type of survey.

Refurbishment Survey

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 require that a Refurbishment Survey is carried prior to any construction works taking place. The purpose of the Refurbishment Asbestos Survey is to identify all asbestos containing materials, so that they can be safely actioned.

The survey report will suggest whether the asbestos is removed, encapsulated or monitored. Factors which influence the report recommendations include:

  • Location of the Asbestos 
  • Condition of the Asbestos
  • The nature of the planned works

Management Surveys will only identify surface asbestos containing materials but there could be asbestos containing materials behind these finishes. The Refurbishment Survey requires that the surveyor goes behind the surface finishes to ensure that all Asbestos Containing Materials are identified before a builder strips out the area.

The surveyor will take samples of the area to be refurbished and send the samples off to a laboratory for testing. 

Examples of when a Refurbishment Asbestos Survey is necessary include office, industrial and educational refurbishment works.

Demolition Survey

A Demolition Survey is only necessary when part or whole removal of a structure is being removed. Examples of when a Demolition Survey is necessary include:

  • When an old part of the building is being taken down to allow for a new extension
  • If a building like a garage is being demolished in its entirety

This type of survey is very intrusive because the asbestos surveyor must penetrate all materials to find out whether there is any asbestos present.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 require that all asbestos containing materials are safely removed before the works start.

How much does a Survey Cost?

Costs vary depending on the size of the property, number of samples that the asbestos surveyor takes and the access requirements.

We would expect average Management Asbestos Surveys to cost between £500-900. A standard Refurbishment or Demolition Survey to cost between £600-2,000.

Asbestos samples typically cost £15-£20 each or the surveying company may agree a lump sum amount for the survey. Should high level access equipment be required then we would budget £400 a day for a cherry picker.

How long do Asbestos Surveys Take?

Asbestos surveys usually take a day to inspect and a day to write up the survey. Samples can take the lab a week to test and report back on.

The survey is usually provided to us up to 10 days following the inspection.

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