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What is an asbestos refurbishment survey and why do you need one?

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If you’re planning a refurbishment project of any kind, undertaking an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey beforehand is crucial.

Whether you’re rebuilding the entire property, or just remodelling one room, a survey is required in order to protect workers, make sure you stay legally compliant and avoid prosecution.


What is a refurbishment survey?

Having an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey (also known as an R&D survey, or previously a Type 3 survey) carried out is a legal requirement prior to upgrading or refurbishing any non-domestic premises, or similar work in the common parts of domestic premises (such as the boiler room or lift shaft in an apartment building).

The inspection is carried out in any area of the property where building work will take place to identify and describe any asbestos containing materials (ACM) that could be disturbed during the work.

A refurbishment survey is complex and intrusive (the HSE recommends that it should be carried out by a licensed contractor), and can include looking for asbestos in places such as under floorboards, or by breaking into cavity walls.

Because of this, a refurbishment survey should not be carried out on an occupied building, and electrical, mechanical and gas services should be isolated to allow the surveyors access to all necessary parts of the premises.

Make sure you don’t plan to move your staff/tenants back into the building too soon after the survey. If asbestos is found, it will need to be removed and your surveyor will need to certify the building 'fit for reoccupation'.

The results of an R&D survey don’t necessarily need to state the condition the asbestos is in but samples will be taken to determine the type of asbestos present. The location and extent of all ACMs found will also be recorded, including any that may be hidden inside the structure of the building or behind other materials


Why do you need to undertake a refurbishment survey?

The ban on asbestos only came into effect in 2000 so any building constructed before then could potentially contain harmful asbestos.

This means that if you’re planning any renovations (refurbishment, demolition/partial demolition, or more intrusive maintenance and repairs) on a building that was built before the ban, you are legally required under the Control of Asbestsos Regulations 2012 to carry out an asbestos survey and dispose of any ACMs before works begin.

The only exception to the requirement for a refurbishment survey is if the duty holder can demonstrate that there is no asbestos in the building. However, the most common way to demonstrate this is if the building was constructed after 2000.

Being exposed to asbestos fibres causes lasting health problems and can even be deadly. The aim of the asbestos refurbishment/demolition survey is to ensure that nobody will be harmed by ACMs when working on the premises. So if you don’t practice proper asbestos management and expose workers to fibres, you can face significant fines or even imprisonment.


Asbestos refurbishment/demolition surveys from BLS Asbestos

BLS Asbestos is a HSE licensed asbestos removal contractor, with a wealth of experience in surveying and removing asbestos for refurbishment and demolition projects for commercial properties, schools, retail premises, factories, warehouses, chemical plants and public buildings.

For further information on some of the work we’ve done, take a look at our case studies, or call 01484 400558 to arrange a free, no-obligation site visit.

Published: 13th October 2017