The purpose of an asbestos survey is to help a duty holder manage the asbestos on their premises. Asbestos surveys are required to provide sufficient information for: an asbestos register and plan of action to be prepared, a suitable risk assessment of the work that needs to be carried out and a written plan of action to allow duty holders to manage the risk to be produced.
In most cases, an asbestos survey will have three main aims:
- It must locate and record the location, extent and product type of all presumed or known ACMs, as far as reasonably practicable; • It must inspect and record any useful information on the accessibility, condition and surface treatment of all known or presumed ACMs; • it should also determine and record all asbestos types, either by sample collection or making a presumption based on the appearance of the product etc.
In the duty to manage requirement in the CAR 2012 regulation 4, it states that materials are allowed to be ‘presumed’ to contain an asbestos product. Therefore, in the carrying out of an asbestos survey, materials can be presumed to contain asbestos and there for two levels of ‘presumption’:
- Strong Presumption: This case is for materials that look as if they are ACM or might contain asbestos. Surveyors are allowed to reach this conclusion through visual inspection alone, as long as they are familiar with a range of asbestos products. Example of where a ‘strong presumption’ is made are:
- where it has been confirmed in a lab analysis that asbestos is present in a similar construction material; • if a material is known to commonly contain asbestos in the manufacturing of a product (eg corrugated cement roof and wall sheeting, cement gutters and drainpipes, cement water tanks, ceiling tiles, insulating boards); • where materials surveyed have the appearance of asbestos but no sample is taken.
- A ‘Default’ Situation: This case us for materials that are presumed to contain asbestos due to lack of evidence (eg no analysis) to confirm there is no asbestos present. Or where the duty holder or surveyor has decided that It is easier to presume certain materials contain asbestos under the planned management arrangements. This means that many non-asbestos materials will also be presumed to contain asbestos, even if they don’t, using this system. This default applies to areas that cannot be easily accessed or inspected. In this situation, any area not accessed or inspected must be presumed to contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that it does not.