Asbestos Testing and Surveys: Frequently Asked Questions

What is an asbestos survey and what is involved?

Asbestos surveys will involve a thorough examination of your property in order to determine if any of this hazardous material may be present. Most of these examinations involve the removal of small samples of substances suspected to contain asbestos. If asbestos is indeed identified, it can then be removed within controlled settings. The ultimate goal is to protect the health of building occupants, any employees and the general public. These surveys are the best ways to professionally assess the risk associated with a specific situation so that the appropriate actions can then be taken sooner as opposed to later.

What Health Dangers are Posed by Asbestos?

Although asbestos is a natural mineral, it is also a known carcinogen (a substance which has been shown to cause cancer in humans). Asbestos mainly affects the lungs and the lining of the chest. This can result in a condition known as mesothelioma as well as many different forms of cancer. Asbestos is particularly hazardous if its fibres are released into the air, as they can be easily inhaled. Current studies estimate that more than 4,000 individuals across the United Kingdom will die every year from conditions directly or indirectly related to asbestos exposure.

Could My Recently Purchased Property Contain Asbestos?

This will partially depend upon the age of your property. If it was constructed or if major renovations took place before 2000, it may very well contain appreciable levels of asbestos. Certain types of cement, roof tiles, pipe insulation, and floor tiles are all potential sources of this hazardous material. This is why it is very important to consult with a professional so that the presence of asbestos can be ruled out.

What if I suspect that my property contains asbestos?

First and foremost, never disturb any materials that you suspect may contain asbestos; even if you are not entirely certain. In the event that these materials have already been disturbed by accident, cordon off the area so that it cannot be accessed by others. It is then critical to contact one of our professionals, as asbestos should never be handled without the proper training.

What should I expect to pay for a professional asbestos survey?

Our team will take several factors into account when providing a survey quotation. These commonly include (but may not be limited to):

  • The size of the property.
  • Its configuration.
  • The number of rooms.
  • Its age and when the last time any renovations took place.

Although an on-site analysis is the best way to provide you with an accurate price, there may be times when we can supply a quotation via email or over the telephone.

This will primarily depend upon how much information you are able to provide to one of our representatives.

How much time will an asbestos survey of a domestic property require?

Although this will partially depend upon the size of your home, an on-site examination of a typical three-bedroom property will take up to two hours to complete. Once we have obtained the necessary information, the survey itself can normally be completed within three working days. We may be able to speed up the survey process if necessary.

How much time will be required when dealing with an industrial or commercial building?

Size and complexity make all of the difference in the world when conducting an analysis of a commercial or industrial location. This is the main reason why our team will first examine the property in question so that you can be provided with an accurate estimate. However, keep in mind that the post-analysis survey will still be completed within three working days (similar to the domestic survey outlined above).

What information is contained within a typical asbestos survey?

The main intention is to provide you with as much information as possible so that the right decisions can be made at the appropriate times. Here is an example of the data that a typical analysis will contain:

  • The address of the property and its age.
  • What type of survey was performed.
  • What areas were analysed.
  • The locations of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
  • Whether or not the presence of ACMs has been confirmed.
  • The quantity of asbestos-containing materials that has been found.
  • The type and condition of these materials.
  • What products the asbestos was found in (such as insulation or flooring tiles).
  • A risk assessment score (ranging from low to high).
  • What types of actions are recommended in order to ensure the safe removal of any asbestos.

Of course, we will be more than happy to explain these factors in greater detail if you happen to have any additional questions.

What does an asbestos management plan involve?

An asbestos management plan is intended to provide a framework for stakeholders who may own a property that contains ACMs.

This plan is in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 and the Health and Safety Work Act 1974. Its primary intentions include:

  • Identifying any hazardous materials.
  • Assessing the dangers of these substances.
  • Controlling the associated risks.

Roles, responsibilities, procedures, and effective management systems will also be outlined in this report. These can then be used to better identify specific dangers (such as the possibility of disturbing any asbestos-containing materials that may be located on the premises).

It is then much easier to develop a plan in order to minimise the chances a disturbance.