What You Should Know About Asbestos Surveys

If you are involved in the construction industry, you know the significance of asbestos auditing and how it helps manage risks caused by asbestos. Large amounts of materials that contain asbestos were previously used for various construction purposes in refurbished and new buildings until asbestos was banned. However, due to that initial extensive use of asbestos, there are still many properties that contain asbestos.

If the asbestos materials are in excellent condition, they are aren't likely to be disturbed, so no risks are expected. However, if such materials are damaged, disturbed or in poor condition, asbestos fibres get released into the air. Once they're breathed in, health problems such as lung disease and cancer can occur.

Any worker who disturbs a building's materials during maintenance, repair, refurbishment, daily use, installation and other related activities can get exposed to asbestos if they unknowingly disturb the asbestos-containing materials without exercising proper precautions. So, asbestos surveys must be conducted to prevent this kind of exposure.

Asbestos surveys

An asbestos survey is designed to provide adequate information for risk valuation so that an asbestos management plan can be prepared. The results of the survey must be provided to those who want to conduct maintenance or other related activities in the building.

The surveys usually involve taking samples and analysing them to confirm the absence or presence of asbestos materials. The type of survey done will vary depending on how old the building is. Asbestos surveys are classified into two categories:

  1. Management survey – This survey is needed for normal use or occupation of a building. It ensures the continued management of the materials that contain asbestos. This way, no one will be harmed by the presence of asbestos materials. The experts will make sure the materials remain in excellent condition and aren't disturbed unintentionally. The survey also locates asbestos materials that may be disturbed or damaged.
  2. Refurbishment/demolition survey – This survey is needed when a building needs to be demolished, refurbished or upgraded. The aim is to make sure that no one will get harmed by asbestos materials in the building, ensuring the contractor completes the job in the right way.

Survey report

The surveyor's report needs to be unambiguous, clear and readily accessible to everyone who needs to use it. Each report should at least have the surveyor's name, an executive summary, the date, points on the scope and findings, overall recommendations, a conclusion and further actions. The name of the lab that carried out the sample analysis should also be included.