Asbestos In The UK – Dutyholder Responsibilities

Asbestos In The UK – Dutyholder Responsibilities

These are the responsibilities that apply to the dutyholder in non-domestic premises


Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires the dutyholder to do the following:

  • Take all reasonable steps to discover if there is asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in the premises.  If asbestos is present to determine the amount, the location and the condition of the asbestos
  • Presume that materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  • Compile and update a record of the location and condition of the ACMs (or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos)
  • Assess the risk of people being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  • Prepare a detailed plan of how to manage the risks presented by these materials
  • Take all necessary steps to put this plan into action
  • Regularly review and monitor the plan (and the arrangements made to act upon on the plan) so that it remains up to date and relevant
  • Provide information on the location and condition of the ACMs to anybody who is likely to work on or disturb them


In most cases the dutyholder is the person (or organisation) that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises through an agreement such as a tenancy agreement or contract.  The extent of the duty depends on the nature of the agreement/contract.  If a building is occupied by one leaseholder then the agreement may be for the leaseholder or the owner to act as dutyholder for the whole building (or for them to share the duty).  In some cases there may be an agreement for a managing agent to act as dutyholder.

In some cases (especially where there is no tenancy agreement or contract or in unoccupied premises) the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises (or part of the premises).  In such cases, the building owner is usually the dutyholder.


This duty to manage is relevant to all non-domestic premises – this includes all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as warehouses, factories, offices, shops, schools and hospitals.  The term non-domestic premises also covers common areas of some domestic premises, e.g. purpose built flats or houses converted into flats.

Common areas of these premises will include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift shafts, staircases, gardens, roof spaces, yards, outhouses and garages.  These common areas would not include rooms within a private residence that are shared by more than one household, e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, communal dining rooms and shared lounges in shared or sheltered accommodation.


There are three basic steps in compliance with asbestos legislation:

FIND OUT whether the premises contain ACMs, where they are and their condition (if in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain asbestos).


MAKE A PLAN to manage the risk and act upon it.