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What Does an Asbestos Survey Involve?

Updated: May 2, 2023

Given its harmful nature, it is essential that asbestos is handled quickly, effectively and - most importantly - safely. Asbestos surveys enable the safe management of asbestos by ensuring that surveyors and contractors take the time to identify asbestos and any associated risks before treating it.

If you think your domestic or commercial property contains asbestos, it’s important that you get an asbestos survey carried out as soon as possible. Here’s a quick guide to what such a survey involves, so you know what to expect.

Asbestos sampling

The purpose of an asbestos survey

The main purpose of asbestos surveys is to help with the initial stages of managing asbestos on your property. At this stage, key information will be gathered by the surveyor, which will then help relevant professionals determine the best course of action going forward. This information can also be used to record any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and create an asbestos building plan which tracks affected areas on the premises.

An asbestos survey can help provide information on the following:

● The location, amount and condition of ACMs

● The level of deterioration and damage in ACMs

● Whether any treatment is required

Types of survey

There are several different surveys available for asbestos issues, each with a slightly different focus. Asbestos management surveys tend to make up the first stage in the asbestos management process and are probably the most common. This kind of survey primarily aims to establish the presence, location and extent of ACMs.

Management surveys will only cause minor disturbance to the building, usually just to check beneath surface coatings, examine behind loose ceiling tiles or similar defects, or take samples from potentially affected materials. Surveyors may ask for access to the attic and floor cavity where possible.

Asbestos surveys can also take place as part of pre-demolition surveys and pre-refurbishment surveys. These are required when demolition work or extensive refurbishment work is scheduled at a property. Unlike management surveys, they tend to be fully intrusive inspections, particularly in the case of a pre-demolition survey. The scope of pre-refurbishment surveys can vary a lot more and will often depend on the nature of the planned refurbishments.

What happens during the survey?

At the beginning of an asbestos survey, there will likely be an initial walkthrough where the surveyor will identify anything that might obstruct the process, check the suitability of any proposed plans (if relevant), and carry out a risk assessment. They will then work their way through the property methodically to identify any potential ACMs. If any possible ACMs are found, the surveyors will collect a sample and send it to a lab specialising in asbestos testing.

If necessary, a water absorption test and air testing can be completed at this stage. The former is used to determine the density and nature of a material, while the latter aims to detect any airborne asbestos particles by collecting air through a filter for a specific length of time. Any airborne particles collected in the filter can then be examined as part of the lab-based asbestos testing.

At Evans Asbestos, we offer asbestos management surveys, as well as pre-refurbishment and pre-demolition surveys. Our team of qualified and P402-trained technicians can carry out surveys, produce detailed reports, and create effective asbestos management plans for properties across Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and the surrounding counties. To arrange a survey, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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