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There are two forms of asbestos, serpentine and amphibole. Within those main forms it can be broken down into three main types, and asbestos surveys are designed to find what form of asbestos management is required. Chrysotile (white asbestos) is a serpentine asbestos and amphibole includes amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos). Chrysotile is the most commonly found asbestos today with amosite often found in insulating materials such as building boards and crocidolite commonly used in cement products.
Blue and brown asbestos materials were banned outright by the United Kingdom in 1985. In 1999 it also banned the import, sale and second hand reuse of white asbestos.
In 2006 the government introduced the Control of Asbestos Regulations (subsequently updated in 2012), which states that owners of non-domestic buildings (e.g., factories and offices) have a “duty to manage” asbestos on the premises. This involves making themselves aware of its presence and managing the material to ensure that it does not deteriorate, removing it if necessary. Annual asbestos awareness training must also be provided to workers who might come into contact with asbestos, for example in the construction industry.
Latest death rates from accidents within the construction industry show a reduction in the number and rate but there are still around 39 fatal injuries per year. Contrast this with an estimated 3,500 road deaths per year.
Deaths from asbestos-related diseases are around 4,720 and rising each year.
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Although not as heavily industrialised as the North of England used to be there are still a large number of industrial estates throughout the South as well as schools, colleges and universities. London in particular has a number of industrial areas as well as shipping, transportation and commercial sites.
All of these sites have the potential to contain asbestos to some extent if they were constructed before 2000CE and landlords will have a duty to manage any asbestos containing materials. Asbestos is found in a huge range of materials such as textured coatings, insulating materials, gaskets & seals, floor tiles, roofing, fabrics and lagging.
In the decades following the Second World War, a massive reconstruction and rebuilding effort was undergone and saw projects to create housing in the form of high-rise towers and large council estates. During this time London and the South also saw regrowth of industrial and commercial premises.
This period of regrowth just happened to be during the 50s, 60 and 70s, which were also the peak period for imports of asbestos to the UK.
Expert Asbestos Management Surveys in London, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex.
With so much asbestos in factories, schools and houses it is important that duty holders have a management plan in place to avoid fibre release during everyday use and maintenance.
The only way to achieve this is to have the property surveyed for asbestos by a competent person.
If you have a duty to manage asbestos the most basic survey that you will need is an Asbestos Management Survey. Asbestos Management Surveys may sometimes be referred to as a Type 2 asbestos survey. There are actually a few differences in the surveying method for each but they are close enough that most people will use one as a synonym for the other. People that have been in the trade for some time will still use the term Type 2 survey and if they do you need to know that what you really want is a Management Survey.
If you plan to conduct any sort of refurbishment or building works on your property you will need a more invasive survey called an Asbestos Refurbishment Survey. These were previously known as Type 3 surveys and you will still hear that term used.
If the building is to be demolished then it is vital that all the materials in the premises are inspected and sampled, if suspicious. This type of survey is essentially the same as a refurbishment survey but is called an Asbestos Demolition Survey and will be much more invasive.
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Asbestos Survey Types
Duty holders have an obligation to identify asbestos containing materials, to monitor their condition and to inform anyone that is likely to come into contact with them, during their normal jobs, about the existence of said materials. In order to do this you must have a qualified surveyor conduct line of two (or more properly, three) types of asbestos survey.
The most basic type is the asbestos management survey. You may hear some people refer to these by their old name, Type 2 (Type 1 was merely a visual inspection without sampling). The scope of this type of survey covers materials that are likely to be disturbed during normal occupation and maintenance. In most cases that means just surface materials but could also encompass ceiling voids where caretakers are required to access light-fittings, for example. The survey will normally be non-invasive and damage limited to the taking of small samples of suspected materials.
The next two types are often referred to as the same thing. You may hear people use the old term, Type 3, or Refurbishment and Demolition (or Refurb & pre-demolition). Often this is shortened to just R&D survey. In fact they are two distant types of survey.
The Refurbishment survey must be carried out when any work is conducted that might disturb the fabric of the building, for example knocking a wall through or replacing a ceiling. These surveys are more invasive as the surveyor is required to look beyond the surface materials to see if anything else lurks be hid, above or below them.
A Demolition survey is exactly what it sounds like. Where part or all of a site is to be demolished the a surveyor will be required to ensure that none of the fabric of the building contains asbestos. This is the most invasive survey type.