There are two types of surveys recommended by the Health & Safety Executive: Management Surveys and Refurbishment and demolition surveys. The type of survey will vary during the lifespan of the premises and several may be needed over time. A management survey will be required during the normal occupation and use of the building to ensure continued management of the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in situ. A refurbishment or demolition survey will be necessary when the building (or part of it) is to be upgraded, refurbished or demolished.

1. Management Surveys
A management survey is the standard survey. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition. The survey will usually involve sampling and analysis to confirm or otherwise the presence of asbestos.

2. Refurbishment and demolition surveys
A refurbishment and demolition survey is needed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This type of survey is used to locate and describe all ACMs in the area where refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. The survey will be fully intrusive and involve a destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas.

In accordance with HSG 264 all asbestos containing material found during a survey must be assessed for its potential fibre release. This assessment has been established using the material assessment algorithm, based upon the HSG 264 document. The assessment is also based upon the following.

Product type. (Insulation, AIB, AC etc.)
Extent of damage or deterioration. (Condition/friability)
Surface treatment. (Sealed, unsealed etc.)
Asbestos type. (Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite etc.)

The material assessment identifies the high-risk materials, that is, those that will most readily release airborne asbestos fibres if disturbed. It does not automatically follow that those materials assigned to the highest score in the material assessment will be the materials that are given priority for remedial action.

Management priority has been determined by considering the following:

• Material assessment score
• The location of the material
• Its extent
• The use of the location
• The occupancy and potential for damage

The three most commonly used types of asbestos are:

1) CHRYSOTILE - White.
2) AMOSITE - Brown.

Once ACMs have been identified it is essential that appropriate management and remedial measures, if necessary, be introduced. In general ACMs that are in good condition should not be disturbed. Their location should be recorded and their existence made known to all contractors, staff and others who may be affected. 

To comply with current legislation it is important to continue to monitor and manage ACMs.

Warning labels advising of the presence of asbestos are recommended. 

For ACMs in poor condition remedial action (encapsulation or removal) may be necessary. Restricted access and the sealing off of ACMs in poor condition may be required until remedial action has been completed.

Asbestos removal work should be carried out by a Contractor licensed to work with asbestos and in accordance with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2006, and the associated Approved Code of Practice.

In accordance with The Control of Asbestos at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2006, it must be assumed that materials visually assessed as asbestos containing materials contain amphibole asbestos fibres (i.e. Amosite and Crocidolite), unless strongly presumed otherwise or sampled to prove otherwise.

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act etc., 1974, there is a requirement for any employer to provide a safe workplace. There are duties to prepare a risk assessment and to make written arrangements to protect those at risk in the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1992 and to maintain workplace building/premises to protect occupants and workers under the Workplace (Health Safety & Welfare) Regulations. Arrangements to deal with asbestos during refurbishment may also be required by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, 1994.

The key legislative and guidance documents relating to works with asbestos containing materials are:

(i) The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)

(ii) The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2006

(iii) The Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations 1983 (amended 1998)

(iv) The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992)

(v) The Control of substances Hazardous to Health Regulation 1999

(vi) HSG 189/2 - Working with Asbestos Cement.

(vii) HSG 264 – Asbestos: The survey guide (supercedes MDHS 100)

(viii) L127 – The management of asbestos in non-domestic premises.

(ix) L143 - Work with materials containing asbestos.

(x) HSG210 - Asbestos Essentials.

(xi) HSG 227 - A comprehensive guide to managing asbestos in premises.

(xii) HSG247 - Asbestos: The Licensed Contractors Guide.

(xiii) HSG 248 - Asbestos: The analysts' guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures.