In the UK it is a legal regal requirement for asbestos surveys to be carried our as part of a building management process. Annual surveys must be carried out on all non-domestic buildings built before the year 2000. Asbestos causes many fatal diseases, which is why it is essential that it is removed and treated when necessary. In this article we will explain the importance of carrying out asbestos surveys in order to maintain your building’s register.
The management of asbestos should be taken seriously as it can cause many fatal illnesses.
Asbestos related health conditions
It has been reported than asbestos is responsible for over four thousand five hundred deaths each year. Despite being banned in 1999 asbestos containing materials are still present in many old buildings, which is why it is necessary for professional asbestos surveys to be carried out. Many people do not notice symptoms of asbestos related conditions until later in life.
Routine exposure to asbestos over time can cause four main diseases, some of which are fatal. Exposure to asbestos can cause two types of cancer. The first is mesothelioma which is a fatal cancer of the lining of the lungs. The second is asbestos related lung cancer, which unfortunately is almost always fatal too. Asbestos exposure can also lead to a disease called asbestosis which causes scarring of the lungs. Although people can live with this condition, it does greatly affect their quality of life. Some people exposed to asbestos may also suffer from breathing difficulties caused by thickening of the membrane surrounding the lungs.
Maintaining your building’s asbestos register
Managing asbestos is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. This legal requirement applies to owners and occupiers of commercial premises, including shops, offices, industrial units and village halls (to name a few). The duty falls to the person who is responsible for maintaining and repairing a non-domestic building. It is up to them to organise annual asbestos surveys and keep their asbestos register up-to-date. The asbestos register of a building should list all of the types of asbestos present, along with the quantity, condition and precise location. Having an asbestos register makes it easier for building managers to identify and remove any dangerous deteriorations or breakdowns of asbestos containing materials before they post health risks.
Carrying out an asbestos survey
Asbestos surveys should only ever be carried out by competent surveyors that have the skills, experience and qualifications to provide an accurate judgement. Professional Asbestos surveys are designed to identify and record any asbestos containing materials present in a building. The surveyor should be able to identify the type of asbestos present along with its exact location, quantity and condition. Asbestos surveys are an effective way of helping you to manage the condition of your building. The surveyor will conduct sampling and analytical procedures before providing you with information for your register along with a risk assessment and management plan.
Asbestos surveys and removal procedures should only ever be carried out by professionals.
Act fast to save lives
If you are responsible for maintaining and repairing a non-domestic building, then it is also up to you to ensure that the asbestos register is kept up-to-date. If the building you manage was built before 1999 you will be required to organise an annual survey which is to be carried out by experts in the field. If the report findings show that the asbestos containing materials in your building are damaged or deteriorating, you will need to organise for them to be removed or treated. It is essential that this work is carried out as quickly as possible to avoid causing harm to any person that uses the building. Exposure to asbestos can cause life threatening diseases, making it essential for you to act fast.