Control of Asbestos 2012

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6th April 2012 (Asbestos Regulations SI 2012 No.632). These Regulations impose a duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises and bring together the three previous sets of Regulations covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing.

Regulation 4 of the above covers the management of asbestos in non-domestic premises.

The duty to manage asbestos does not always fall upon the employer and in Regulation 4 the duty holder is the person(s) who has, by virtue of a contract or tenancy, an obligation for the maintenance or repair of the premises.

Unless the asbestos-containing material (ACM) is in poor condition and / or is disturbed and produces air-borne fibres, people will not be exposed to asbestos. Building and allied trade workers, if they unknowingly work on ACM’s, or work on asbestos without taking the correct precautions, are particularly at risk. Regulation 4 deals specifically with this duty. It requires the management of ACM’s in non-domestic premises so that no one comes to harm from the asbestos.

There are two types of survey:

1) 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 aims to ensure that:

  • nobody is harmed by the continuing presence of ACM in the premises or equipment;
  • that the ACM remain in good condition; and
  • that nobody disturbs it accidentally

The survey will usually involve sampling and analysis to confirm the presence or absence of ACMs. However a management survey can also involve presuming the presence or absence of asbestos. It may also involve minor intrusion and minor asbestos disturbance to make a Materials Assessment. This shows the ability of ACM, if disturbed, to release fibres into the air. It guides the client, e.g. in prioritising any remedial work. Any materials presumed to contain asbestos must also have their condition assessed (i.e. a material assessment).

2) Refurbishment/Demolition Survey

A 'Demolition or Refurbishment' survey is required on premises that are undergoing major refurbishment or are due for demolition.

This type of 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. The survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach. A refurbishment and demolition survey may also be required in other circumstances, e.g. when more intrusive maintenance and repair work will be carried out or for plant removal or dismantling.

A Refurbishment/Demolition Survey aims to ensure that:

  • nobody will be harmed by work on ACM in the premises or equipment;
  • such work will be done by the right contractor in the right way