September 19, 2021

Selling a commercial property, do you need an asbestos survey?

Should you be considering selling a commercial property at some point in the future, you should have an asbestos survey conducted.
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Asbestos in Commercial Premises

If you are the owner of a commercial property, or you are in the process of buying a commercial property, you may be the person legally responsible for managing any asbestos present at the property. Therefore, should you be considering selling a commercial property at some point in the future, you should have an asbestos survey conducted.

Asbestos Regulations relating to Commercial Premises

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 clearly sets out these responsibilities for any property that is non-domestic. Exposure to asbestos can be fatal, causing serious illnesses that can take decades to manifest and produce symptoms. Since asbestos was banned in construction in the UK in 1999 there is no need for concern in any commercial building constructed after this date.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a heat-resistant, chemical resistant, strength binding naturally fibrous mineral that was commonly added to manufacture building materials. It was found to be a durable material with fire and heat resistant properties. That is why it works so well as a fire proofing & insulating material.

Any building constructed between the 1800’s and 1999 will likely have asbestos-containing materials within the property. However, during the 1970’s & 1980s, health experts determined that asbestos was responsible for negatively impact the health of anyone who is exposed to it.

The greatest exposure to asbestos occurs when asbestos-containing materials are damaged because this action releases fibres into the air which can be readily inhaled and cause severe health consequences. Some of the most significant health consequences include lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

What is an asbestos survey?

Any man-made structure, commercial building, residential building, or house constructed between the 1850 and 1999 can still pose a risk to the occupants or workers who live or reside within them. UK Regulations require you to conduct asbestos surveys on buildings constructed within this time. Asbestos surveys are required if you are occupying, buying, selling, or demolishing commercial premises. If there are tenants or people living inside the building, then asbestos surveys are also performed as a health and safety check.

The job of an asbestos surveyor is to inspect your building and identify potential asbestos-containing materials. The asbestos fibres themselves cannot always be identified directly because they are microscopic, however an asbestos surveyor is familiar with the types of building materials that might have asbestos in them, such as roofing materials, Wall panels, insulating materials and flooring materials. When selecting an asbestos surveyor you should ensure the surveyor has experience of surveying commercial premises.

Once the surveyor has located an asbestos containing material a small sample will be taken of each suspect material which will then be analysed at the laboratory for further in-depth analysis. The laboratory will identify the type or types of asbestos present with sample(s) a bulk certificate of analysis is produced detailing the laboratory results.

Is an asbestos survey required and if so, what type of survey?

Asbestos survey types

Asbestos Management Surveys

What are asbestos management surveys?

Management asbestos surveys are standard inspection surveys to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for all commercial and industrial property and for those buying or selling property. This type of inspection is non-intrusive but does include sampling of suspect materials which are then sent to the laboratory to report on whether asbestos is present and if so, what types of asbestos.

If you are a business whether leaseholder or freeholder this survey will identify what asbestos containing materials are in place within your demise, their condition and what your legal obligations are to comply with the regulations.

If you have been asked to carry out an asbestos survey for management purposes and provide an asbestos register for insurance or compliance purposes, including visits from either HSE or Environmental Health this is the survey type which includes the information set out in Regulation 4 “Duty to Manage”. This applies to a building built prior to the year 2000.

Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys

What is an R and D Survey?

The aim of this survey type is to survey the property in question for asbestos containing materials so as these can be managed safely or as is usually the case removed safely in line with the regulations before the strip-out and re-fit. All property types are covered regardless of size or class of use – residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed.

Asbestos refurbishment surveys and asbestos demotion surveys must be undertaken on properties which are due to be refurbished or demolished.

Professionals, occupiers, and management agents involved in minor and major fit-outs and strip-out will need to commission such a survey prior to beginning the works. As well as the requirements for this type of survey covered under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and HSG264, further stipulations and requirements are contained in the CDM Regulations 2015.

R and D asbestos surveys are highly intrusive, and damage will occur to elements of the property to inspect the fabric of the building. Therefore this type of survey can only usually be undertaken in a vacant property and one which is owned by the person or company commissioning the survey.

Asbestos Re-inspection Survey

What is an asbestos re-inspection survey?

An asbestos re-inspection survey (also referred to as an annual asbestos re-inspection survey) is designed to allow the duty holder to monitor and record the condition of any previously identified asbestos products within a building.

Like any building material, asbestos-containing materials are also subject to potential damage and degradation. As an asbestos product degrades it can be more likely to become a hazard to health, therefore should be inspected at regular intervals to ensure its condition has not deteriorated.

When selling a commercial property?

Asbestos is often found in commercial premises prior to buying and selling. Therefore, should you be considering selling a commercial property at some point in the future, you should have an asbestos survey conducted.

It is important that you understand the location and potential danger of ACMs (Asbestos Containing Materials) if you own a commercial property, you are a tenant or manager of a building with responsibilities that include managing asbestos.

If you are planning to sell a commercial property, a recent asbestos survey and/or asbestos removal project, is more likely to highlight previous good asbestos management processes and strategy.

Summit Environmental and commercial asbestos surveys.

Our asbestos survey reports contain material assessment, risk rating for materials with recommendations on materials found including photographs and highlighted floor plans. This information can then be used by those involved in the refurbishment and or demolition works.

If you need an asbestos management survey or asbestos refurbishment survey in commercial premises in Sussex, Surrey, Kent, and London please contact us, we will be happy to discuss your requirements.

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