How to identify the asbestos management dutyholder
The duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises, as stipulated in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, is important in any business, so it is crucial to establish who exactly is responsible for it.
It is good practice in any organisation to appoint an individual, department or expert external contractor to be in charge of asbestos management, but that can only happen once it is clear which company is the dutyholder.
That depends on who is responsible for the maintenance or repair of the premises.
- In a premises that is owned by the business that occupies it, the dutyholder will be that organisation.
- Where a building is occupied by a single leaseholder, the tenancy agreement should detail whether the landlord or the occupier is responsible for general maintenance and asbestos management.
- In a building with a number of occupiers, such as an office centre, the tenancy agreement should outline who is the asbestos dutyholder. It may be that the landlord is responsible for the whole building, that the owner is responsible for the common parts and the leaseholders the offices they occupy, or that a managing agent is appointed as the dutyholder.
- If the tenancy agreement does not specify which party is responsible for asbestos management or if there is no formal tenancy agreement, the asbestos dutyholder is whoever has control of the premises or part of the premises.
- If a commercial premises is empty, the owner will be the dutyholder, although a managing agent may be appointed to take on the responsibility.
Once the dutyholder has been identified, they must establish whether asbestos is present in the premises, where it is located and what condition it is in, before assessing the risk and formulating an asbestos management plan.