Demolition and refurbishment - What to do about asbestos

Any building in the UK that was constructed before the year 2000 is likely to contain asbestos or asbestos containing materials (ACMs).  Prior to the total ban in 1999, asbestos was commonly used in the construction industry in many applications which means that asbestos can be found just about anywhere in a building.  If a building is due to undergo refurbishment or remodelling work or is due to be demolished, then a Demolition and Refurbishment Asbestos Survey will be necessary before any work disturbs the fabric of the building.

This Survey is a method of locating asbestos (or ACMs) in areas of a building where remodelling work is due to take place or in a building that is due to be demolished.  The Survey will be fully intrusive and will involve vital destructive inspection methods to make sure that access is available to any areas which may contain ACMs.

If the building is being remodelled, then it’s essential that any ACMs are identified and removed before major work can begin.  This will involve using the services of a professional, certified asbestos contractor so that the ACMs can be safely removed and disposed of according to government guidelines.  This survey will need to be carried out at such a time so that the information gleaned can be used in the tendering process for the remodelling work – designers and contractors bidding for the work will need a copy of the resulting Survey Report with the asbestos risks fully identified so that they can bid on the work accordingly.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that the Survey is carried out by somebody with sufficient training, qualifications, knowledge and experience to carry out the duties required – namely a certificated or accredited surveyor who specialises in asbestos surveys.  The Surveyor appointed must have training and experience in all aspects of survey work, including survey planning, resources, technical specifications, quality control and ACM assessment criteria.

The Surveyor will also need knowledge of asbestos products (their natures, uses, hazards, sampling techniques) and knowledge of building construction, construction methods, fire protection and the various uses of buildings.  Surveyors will need to be aware of the differing forms of building construction (system build, traditional, industrial, commercial, etc) and the ways in which construction techniques affect asbestos use.  Surveyors should also be knowledgeable about the use of ACMs in fire protection systems and the effects of buildings services on the location and distribution of ACMs.

If you’re looking for a professional who can carry out an Asbestos Demolition and Refurbishment Survey, then you will need to ensure that you engage the services of an organisation/company that is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) in order to comply with current legislation.  Whether you own a building that needs remodelling or a building that needs demolishing, then hiring a professional for carry out the Survey is an essential preparation for the work being planned.