Asbestos Surveys

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An asbestos survey is a task that must be carried out by qualified professionals to identify asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in a building. The surveyors thoroughly check any materials that might contain asbestos to find its extent and condition.

During a survey, the surveyors check every nook and cranny of the premises. They collect samples for lab analysis to find out if there is asbestos in the materials. The survey report provides essential information, including the location, type, and condition of any identified ACMs.

Asbestos Surveyor in UK
Asbestos Surveyor in UK

Asbestos Legal Requirements and Regulations

In the UK, conducting an asbestos survey is subject to legal requirements and regulations. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 is the UK’s primary legislation controlling asbestos management. It outlines the responsibility to manage asbestos in non-domestic premises and sets clear requirements for asbestos surveys.

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 is a general health and safety legislation that obligates employers to guarantee their employees’ health and welfare. This includes controlling the risks of asbestos in the workplace.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to conduct risk assessments. This includes assessing the hazards related to asbestos.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations of 2002 apply to managing hazardous substances, including asbestos. Employers must evaluate and prevent exposure to dangerous substances.

Asbestos Survey Types

There are two types of asbestos surveys. These are asbestos management surveys and asbestos refurbishment and demolition surveys.

Asbestos Management Surveys

The management survey is the standard and most often performed type of asbestos survey. Its primary purpose is to locate and assess the presence of ACMs in premises, including residential homes, commercial buildings, schools, and hospitals. This survey identifies possible asbestos-related risks during standard occupancy or routine maintenance activities.

The surveyors will take samples of suspected materials for analysis. The resulting survey report provides information on the location, type, and condition of identified ACMs and recommendations for removal, or proper management and maintenance to avoid asbestos exposure.

Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Surveys

The refurbishment and demolition survey is a more intrusive and thorough survey done before major renovation or demolition work begins. This survey type is necessary when the building or structure will undergo changes that could disturb asbestos-containing materials. The surveyors will thoroughly examine the premises, including areas that are hard to reach, like attics, under floorboards and crawl spaces, to see if there are any ACMs that could be disturbed during the renovation or demolition work.

The detailed Refurbishment And Demolition Asbestos Survey report provides enough information to remove all ACMs before work begins, minimising the risk of asbestos exposure for workers involved in the project.

Our Asbestos Surveys

At AJC Environmental Limited, we are qualified to carry out Asbestos Management Surveys and Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Surveys.

Our services strictly follow UK laws. We offer surveys for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. We work across LondonKent and Essex.

AJC Asbestos Survey Reports

Our survey reports include essential details such as the risk rating for each occurrence of asbestos and recommendations on management, with accompanying photos and highlighted floor plans (if applicable). This information can be used by those involved in refurbishment or demolition projects.

Contact Us

If you need help deciding which asbestos survey type you need, contact us. Our professional surveyors will gladly advise. Get in touch for more information or a quick, free quotation.

Asbestos Survey FAQs

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that, before 1999, was often used in manufacturing building materials due to its heat and chemical resistance and strength-binding properties. It is a durable material, well-suited for fireproofing and insulation.

The history of asbestos use dates back thousands of years, with early civilisations recognising its remarkable properties. Ancient Egyptians used asbestos fibres in their burial cloths, believing it would preserve the bodies of the deceased.

During the Industrial Revolution, asbestos gained significant popularity. The 19th and 20th centuries saw widespread adoption of asbestos in many industries, including the construction, shipbuilding, and car manufacturing sectors.

Any building In the UK built before 1999 likely contains materials containing asbestos. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, health experts found that exposure to asbestos fibres could have devastating effects on health.

The worst asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos-containing materials are damaged because this releases fibres into the air, which people unknowingly inhale and face severe health consequences. 

Over the past few decades, there has been ample documentation of the severe health hazards linked to exposure to asbestos. These include:


This aggressive and often fatal cancer affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure, with symptoms usually appearing decades after initial exposure.


Prolonged asbestos exposure can lead to asbestosis, a chronic lung condition characterised by scarring of lung tissue. It causes breathing problems and increases the risk of other respiratory diseases.

Lung Cancer

Asbestos exposure is a known cause of lung cancer. Smokers with a history of asbestos exposure have a higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers.

Other Cancers

Cancers of the larynx, ovary, and other organs have also been linked to asbestos exposure.

Places ACMs are often found in buildings include:

In Insulation: Asbestos was commonly used as thermal insulation in buildings, particularly for pipes, boilers, ducts, and HVAC systems.

In Cement Products: Asbestos cement sheets and pipes were often used in roofing, wall cladding, and drainage systems.

In Ceiling Tiles: Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles were used for sound and thermal insulation in ceilings.

In Floor Tiles: Manufacturers of vinyl floor tiles and sheet flooring used asbestos for added strength and insulation.

In Textured Coatings: Asbestos-containing textured coatings, commonly known as “Artex,” were used to decorate ceilings and walls.

In Joint Compounds: Asbestos-containing joint compounds were used in drywalls to seal the spaces between the panels.

In Sprayed Coatings: To improve insulation and help with fireproofing, asbestos was sprayed onto steel, walls, and ceilings.

In Gaskets: Mechanical equipment such as valves and pumps contained asbestos.

In Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB): AIB was useful to partition walls and added to fire doors.

In Roofing Felt and Shingles: Asbestos was used in all sorts of roofing materials to keep the roof waterproof and fire-resistant.

In addition to the commonly found asbestos-containing materials, some less well-known sources may contain asbestos. If these lesser-known ACMs are disturbed, they can still be dangerous. Some of the less common ACMs are:

In Asbestos Paper: Asbestos paper was used to wrap electrical cables and line panels.

In Roofing Felt: Asbestos roofing felt containing asbestos was sometimes placed under exterior roofing for added waterproofing and insulation.

In Asbestos Textiles: Asbestos textiles, including fabrics and rope, were used for heat-resistant clothing, fire blankets, and gaskets.

Asbestos Millboard: Millboard was used as a barrier against the heat around stoves and fireplaces.

In Adhesives and Sealants: Sealants with asbestos were sometimes used in construction.

In Fire Curtains and Fireproof Sprays: Fire curtains and fireproofing sprays contained asbestos for fire resistance.

In Reinforced Plastics: Asbestos was added to plastic to increase its strength and heat resistance.

In Laboratory Countertops: Asbestos-containing laboratory countertops provide heat resistance and durability in scientific settings.

In Brake Pads and Clutches: Asbestos was used in vehicle brake pads and clutches for its heat-resistant properties.

In Insulated Wire: Asbestos was sometimes used as insulation for electrical wires and cables.

Friable and non-friable are terms used to describe the condition of asbestos-containing materials and how easily they can release asbestos fibres into the air when disturbed. Here’s an explanation of each:

Friable asbestos refers to ACMs that easily crumble or are reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry. These materials can release asbestos fibres into the air rapidly when disturbed, presenting a high risk of exposure. Examples of friable asbestos include loose-fill insulation, sprayed coatings, and some types of asbestos insulation.

Non-friable asbestos, or bonded asbestos, refers to ACMs in which the asbestos fibres are firmly bound or encapsulated within a matrix material, such as cement, resin, or vinyl. These materials are less likely to release fibres if left undisturbed. However, if non-friable ACMs are subject to damage or deterioration over time, they can become friable and present a greater risk. Non-friable asbestos includes asbestos-cement sheets, floor tiles, and asbestos-containing pipe insulation.

It’s important to mention that both friable and non-friable asbestos can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken during renovation or demolition work.

An asbestos management survey is a detailed inspection and assessment conducted on a building or premises to identify the presence, type, condition, and scope of any asbestos containing materials. A skilled, qualified surveyor who follows established guidelines conducts the survey. The survey’s primary goal is to ensure compliance with asbestos laws and create an effective management plan.

An asbestos management survey is required for several reasons. It helps to meet legal duties related to asbestos management and control. The survey helps building owners and managers create a plan for managing asbestos to keep occupants and workers safe by identifying and evaluating ACMs. The survey report provides valuable information about the ACMs, allowing for proper monitoring, maintenance, and, if needed, corrective action.

The frequency of asbestos management surveys depends on various factors. Typically, a management survey should be updated at least every two years. However, certain circumstances may require more frequent surveys. For instance, if significant changes occur in the building’s structure or use, it is important to arrange a survey to identify any newly exposed ACMs. Regular inspections should also be done to monitor the condition of ACMs and ensure ongoing safety.

Only qualified professionals should conduct an asbestos management survey. Asbestos is hazardous; accurate identification and assessment require specialised knowledge and equipment. Hiring a qualified surveyor with the necessary training, experience, and certifications is crucial for a thorough and reliable survey.

During an asbestos management survey, the surveyor will carefully inspect all accessible areas of the building, including floors, ceilings, walls, and services such as heating and ventilation systems. They may collect samples of suspected materials for lab analysis. The surveyor will record their findings, take photographs, and note the condition of any identified ACMs. 

An asbestos management survey carries minimal risks when a competent surveyor follows safety protocols. The surveyor will take necessary precautions to avoid disturbing any suspected ACMs during the inspection. Minor disruptions may be necessary to gain access to specific locations or gather samples.

After the release of HSG264, the Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Survey replaced Type 3 Asbestos Surveys. The survey is an investigation into the core of a building and requires access to every area, which will usually cause structural damage. However, this is not generally a problem as the building is due to be demolished or refurbished.

The survey aims to discover any asbestos-containing materials in the building that may be disturbed or damaged during the upcoming work and to find the level of risk for workers and the public due to asbestos.

The Asbestos Demolition Refurbishment Survey is required under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

An Asbestos Refurbishment Survey is much more comprehensive than the Asbestos Management Survey. It must be completed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out on a building. Any occupants should vacate the building before the survey. As this type of survey is fully intrusive, it should not be reoccupied after the study. Any electrical, mechanical and gas services should be turned off to enable the surveyors to access all areas.

The survey involves sampling and testing of suspected ACMs. The results are documented in a report, including a detailed description of any ACMs found, their location, condition, risk rating, and recommendations for their safe removal or management.

To find a trustworthy and certified asbestos surveyor in the UK, you’ll need to consider several factors. 

Look for surveyors or companies with relevant accreditation, such as BOHS P402, which confirms that they meet standards and best practices in asbestos surveying.

Make sure the surveyor has taken recognised courses and certifications for asbestos surveying and management.

Choose a surveyor with a track record conducting asbestos surveys, as they are familiar with various building types and asbestos-containing materials.

Check the surveyor has indemnity insurance, which protects in case of errors or omissions during the survey process. 

Preparing for an asbestos survey ensures the process is smooth, efficient, and accurate. 

First, collect all relevant information about the building or structure to be surveyed. This includes building plans, construction dates, previous asbestos-related documents, and any known history of asbestos-containing materials or asbestos work.

Before the survey, list potential asbestos-containing materials within the building. This can be based on historical knowledge, construction materials commonly used during the building’s construction period, or the presence of any suspect materials.

Inform occupants, employees, and relevant stakeholders about the upcoming asbestos survey. Give them the details about the survey’s purpose and reassure them that safety measures are in place.

Designate a point of contact within your organisation to liaise with the asbestos surveyor. This person will give access to the building and provide necessary information during the survey.

Make sure the surveyors have safe and unrestricted access to all building areas, including crawl spaces, attics, basements, and service areas. Remove any items that could get in their way and prolong the survey.

If the survey includes accessing confined spaces or areas with utilities, shut down utilities temporarily to avoid accidents.

Inform the surveyor about any recent changes or renovations in the building that might affect the survey’s accuracy.

If your surveyor recommends a management plan, you need a register and a management plan in place.

An asbestos register records the presence, location, condition, and relevant information about ACMs. It is a valuable reference for asbestos management, providing up-to-date information about asbestos on the premises.

The register should include details about the type of ACM, where it is, how much there is, the condition, and any steps taken, such as sealing or removal. The register helps building owners, managers, and maintenance staff make informed decisions.

A management plan summarises the processes, procedures, and responsibilities for managing ACMs. It is a roadmap for compliance with asbestos regulations.

The management plan must explain how the ACMs will be checked and maintained over time. It may also outline methods for training employees, contractors, and other relevant parties about the asbestos and the precautions they should take. The plan should include a schedule for regular checks.

Together, the asbestos register and management plan provide a systematic approach to manage asbestos.