Refurbishment survey

What is a management survey ?

A management survey is the standard survey. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition. 

A management survey is required during the building’s normal use to ensure continued management of the ACMs. It should include an assessment of the condition of the various ACMs and their ability to release fibres into the air should they be disturbed in some way. It will often involve minor intrusive work and some disturbance 

A Management survey can involve a combination of sampling to confirm asbestos is present or presuming asbestos is present. All ACMs should be identified as far as is reasonably practicable. 

The areas inspected should include under floor coverings, above false ceilings (ceiling voids), cladding and partitions, under carpets, tiles and floors, lofts. inside risers, service ducts and lift shafts and basements, cellars, or underground rooms. In these situations, controls should be put in place to prevent the spread of debris, which may include asbestos. 

What is a refurbishment and demolition survey ?

A pre-demolition or demolition survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. 

It is necessary when the building or (part of it) is to be upgraded, refurbished, or demolished. It is required for all work which disturbs the building’s fabric in areas particularly where the management survey has not been intrusive. 

Refurbishment and demolition surveys should only be conducted in unoccupied areas to minimise risks to the public or employees on the premises. Ideally, the building should not be in service and furnishings removed. For minor refurbishment, this would only apply to the room involved or even part of the room where the work is small and the room large. In these situations, there should be effective isolation, and furnishings should be removed as far as possible or protected using sheeting.

The person who undertakes any of these surveys must be suitably trained and experienced in such work.  Some types of work, of an intermittent and low intensity nature, will not have to be done by a licenced contractor – Artex work is an example.  There are many issues which need to be addressed when asbestos is possibly present in a workplace. 

Identifying asbestos

Identification of the presence of asbestos is the first action. Asbestos is commonly found as boiler pipe lagging, insulation panels around pillars and ducting for fire protection and heat insulation, ceiling tiles and asbestos cement products, including asbestos cement sheets.

The main duty-holder is required to ensure that a written plan is prepared that shows where the ACM is located and how it will be managed to prevent exposure to asbestos contractors and other demolition site workers who may undertake work on the fabric pf the building that could disturb the ACM.

The plan then needs to be put into action and communicated to those affected. The duty-holder should ensure that the plan is reviewed regularly and updated as circumstances change, in consultation with all those who may be affected. The plan, including drawings, should be available on site for the entire life of the premises and should be kept up to date.

Initial investigations will involve the examination of building plans, the determination of the age of the building and a thorough examination of the building. Advice is available from specialists, reputable specialist consultants and details obtained from the local authority, who often offers such a service.  

If the specialist is in doubt, a sample of the suspect material will be sent to a specialist laboratory for analysis. It is important for a specialist to take the sample because the operation is likely to expose loose fibres.  When asbestos has been identified, a record, electronic, or its location must be made so that it is available should any future maintenance be necessary. The asbestos risk register is a key component of asbestos management. The asbestos management plan must contain current information about the presence and condition of any asbestos in the building. The asbestos risk register will therefore need to be updated regularly (at least once per year). This will involve:  

  • regular inspections to check the current condition of asbestos materials  
  • deletions to the register when any asbestos is removed  
  • additions to the register when any new areas are surveyed, and asbestos is located  
  • changes to the register (at any time asbestos containing materials are found to have deteriorated.  

The register can be kept as a paper or electronic record, and it is especially important that this is kept up to date and easily accessible should any future maintenance be necessary. Paper copies may be easier to pass on to visiting maintenance contractors who will need them to know the location and condition of any asbestos before they start work. Electronic copies are easier to update and are better suited for people responsible for large numbers of properties or bigger premises.  

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