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Asbestos risk asessments for business owners

(15 Posts)
Notquitegrownup Mon 04-May-09 15:32:35

Anyone know about asbestos risk asessments?

We own a little flat and have bought the freehold with the other flat owners. We may have to get a nre asbestos risk assessments done.

We have a type 1 - visual only - assessment in place, but I spoke to one company who said that

a) these are to be done away with in September 09 and that

b) they should presume that anything you can't identify as positively asbestos free should be assumed to contain asbestos, and that therefore if any work is to be done, we will need a type 2 survey anyway, to confirm whether the artex, for example, does or doesn't contain asbestos.

Another company hadn't heard of this at all, and were happy to do a type 1 assessment.

Anyone any understanding of these matters? Your thoughts would be hugely appreciated.

Notquitegrownup Mon 04-May-09 20:39:10

Hopeful Bank Holiday bump?

I'll try again tomorrow, if not. smile

Notquitegrownup Tue 05-May-09 11:21:00


ouchitreallyhurts Tue 05-May-09 12:20:03

My oh is an asbestos surveyor - will ask him when he gets in. he works for a large insurance group and tends to do his surveys on business's but may know the answer (he's due home about 1pm)

ouchitreallyhurts Tue 05-May-09 13:27:10

He's home and munching his way through a mushroom/mayo sandwich hmm
This is what he says -

My understanding is that the law requires a business to have an 'asbestos register' (e.g. asbestos location, type and condition) and an 'asbestos management plan', but does not specify having any type of asbestos survey. The type of asbestos I refer to is the actual product (e.g. asbestos cement fibre sheets, insulation board, lagging etc), rather than the 'colour' (e.g. white, blue or brown etc). Regardless, all 'colours' of asbestos are now legally considered as the same risk - its the products themselves have differing 'material' risks. An asbestos survey should include a register (which may still presume or confirm presence of asbestos), management plan and risk assessment. The risk assessment comprises priority scores and material scores, giving overall risk scores.

If a material is presumed to be asbestos (including presuming void spaces to possibly contain 'unknown' asbestos materials), and a contractor is made aware of that, a 'competent' contractor would be able to then act accordingly, perhaps even arranging for his own sampling to be undertaken. The important thing is to ensure that contractors have the required training and competency, rather than furnish them with questionable results.

Type 2 surveys require sampling of all suspected, differing products, regardless of whether they pose any significant risk. They can be extremely costly, sometimes benefitting only the wallet of the surveying company, and often giving little if any additional insight into the asbestos risks. There is also no reason why a type 1 survey can not include selective sampling, e.g. of a single product posing a significant risk, or a product that may need repair / removal work. My view is that full type 2 surveys are potentially far more 'dangerous' than good type 1 surveys, as false negative sampling (which can easily happen) can lead to significant asbestos exposures. I think it is far better to initially err on the side of caution (e.g. presume asbestos to be present) and assess the risk than to categorigorically 'prove' asbestos is not present, than find out later that the sampling was done incorrectly.

Having said all that, often the best way to get a suitable asbestos register and management plan is to have an asbestos survey undertaken. However, I don't think that all businesses will require a type 2 survey, even if type 1 surveys are ever phased out, e.g. you won't suddenly have to get a type 2 in september or whatever.


Ferret Boy

Divvy Tue 05-May-09 13:41:27

Can I pick your brains please?

What about rented homes?

My kitchen walls are having samples taken tomorrow, as having a new kitchen fitted soon.

The walls in living room and small bedroom also have the same artex, can I ask my landlord to ge these tested also, if the kitchen walls come back as containing asbestos?

What are my rights,living in a house with (maybe) 85% of the walls containing asbestos?

If your dh is the wrong person to ask this, sorry smile


ouchitreallyhurts Tue 05-May-09 15:08:41

Hi Divvy

message from hubby -

Firstly, walls (and ceilings) may be constructed from asbestos insulation board, and may also have an 'artex' coating, so ther may be at least two tests needed for your walls. Artex officially has a low material risk, and was recently de-classified so as not to require 'notifiable work' (e.g. no limits on who can undertake work on it, or for how long). However, I personally believe work on artex in domestic residencies should be notifiable (e.g. undertaken by licensed removal contractors), as it may affect the most vulnerable persons in our society, i.e. kids - as it may possibly be removed in a haphazard manner by 'incompetent' contractors. Ask the landlord to declare that he has assurance that the contractors are competent. Asbestos insulation board has a moderate / higher material risk, and removal is 'notifiable' work, e.g. contractors must have a licence to remove it / work on it, and must still remove it safely.

If your kitchen walls and living room / bedroom walls 'have the same' asbestos material, then there would be no need to 'test them' too - the results would be identical, but are you sure they are 'the same'? You could ask the landlord to have them tested too if you thnk they might be different, but if he won't, you should still ask him for a 'material' and a 'priority' risk score. However, he might not want to do that either, but that's another story. If he does give some risk scores, run them by me - I'll tell you if he's giving you cr*p.

Essentially, 'sealed' (e.g. painted / wallpapered) asbestos insulation boards would pose an insignificant / low risk to you provided they were not disturbed, and may pose a moderate / higher risk depending on the level of disturbance. Artex would pose an insignificant risk to you provided it was not disturbed, and may pose a low risk depending on the level of disturbance.

Ferret Boy

Divvy Tue 05-May-09 15:33:45

The contractor is going to be Wates, and it was them that said it had to be tested. (I take this as a good sign?) I had no idea artex could contain it until they said.

Its not in the walls, as these are concrete houses.

The ceilings have the original artex on from 40 years ago. The walls are 17+ years, as I have lived here 16+ years.

The tenant before me put the artex on the walls, and it has been painted over a number of times.

Thanks very much, I will run the test results by you when I get them.

Divvy Thu 07-May-09 08:51:27

They came and took lots of samples, from all over the house, even things I hadnt thought about, backs of cupboards and the original floor tiles.

They were told by the contractors to take samples of the whole house! Also the contractors wanted them to do it all suited up! But the asbestos surveyor, said that was a bit over kill, and I could have imagined the hysteria caused in the street!

I feel better that that they didnt turn up with masks and suits on, as they felt it was safe not to, but that they would have if they felt it was needed.

I am going to make sure I get a copy of the results.

ouchitreallyhurts Thu 07-May-09 09:21:26

Sounds very thorough! i'll tell hubby when he gets home from work - let us know the results

Divvy Thu 07-May-09 10:46:43

Thanks, I will

Divvy Fri 05-Jun-09 12:25:26

Sorry its been so long, but the report proved more difficult to get hold of! hmm

I now have the full report (a workman left some paper work laying around yesterday, so have photocopied it!)

There is asbestos, which I already knew, as have had an asbestos company in drilling holes in the ceiling, but the report means nothing to me really. Would it be possible to email it to you please?

80sMum Sat 06-Jun-09 16:26:22

You might find Asbestos Watchdog useful. Read what they have to say and make sure you don't get ripped off.

Divvy Sun 07-Jun-09 20:00:47

Thanks very much for that link!

petal79 Wed 17-Jun-09 09:31:32


I'm an asbestos consultant, have been for almost 10 years and am happy to answer any questions.

Firstly, please don't use the asbestos watchdog site. If you google John Bridle (the man that runs this company)you'll see why. He is not very highly regarded within the industry and gives out advice that contradicts the Health and Safety Executive.

I'd be happy to go through the report and explain it to you, if you send me your e-mail addy I'll send you my work address e-mail and then some further information. I have done hundreds of social housing surveys for local authorities etc and usually the materials found are low risk.

The advice ferrett boy gave is sound.

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