The importance of an asbestos refurbishment survey

An asbestos refurbishment survey in action in Northampton

Asbestos has been dubbed as a “silent killer” for years now, although it’s an unfortunate fact that it kills more people every year – through asbestos fibres being inhaled – than people who are in road traffic accidents. It has been banned in Britain since 1999, which means any house built or refurbished prior to the year 2000 could potentially contain asbestos in some form. Asbestos refurbishment surveys are required for buildings pre-2000, but why should you arrange one?

What does an asbestos refurbishment survey do?

Any asbestos survey you take out will, in basic terms, identify whether you have asbestos material in your property. Non domestic owners have a duty to make sure any asbestos in their property is properly handled, not disturbed, and if it has to be disturbed, handled in the safest manner possible and minimise the risk of exposing its occupants to asbestos fibre.

Surveyors and companies performing the asbestos survey have different “types” to undertake, but the most common two are “asbestos management surveys” and “asbestos refurbishment surveys”. Asbestos management surveys are visual inspections of the building. Although these surveys are “non-intrusive”, samples of suspect materials are collected and then tested at a UKAS accredited laboratory. By contrast, asbestos refurbishment surveys are “intrusive and destructive”. Their purpose is to identify all asbestos containing materials within an area prior to it being refurbished, this may be part or an entire building. In addition to these surveys a third survey type can be undertaken which is an asbestos demolition survey. This survey is extensively destructive and is only undertaken when the building is to be completely demolished.

Guarantees Safety, minimises risk

First and foremost, there are no safe types of asbestos fibre. All types of asbestos are deemed to cause the same asbestos related diseases. As such they are all treated the same under UK asbestos regulations and guidance. Having the ability to have these potentially dangerous materials properly identified by a professional company is incredibly important and means that you can stay safe within your own property.

Accurate identification of ACMs (Asbestos Containing Materials) also protects builders, contractors and anyone working within your property. Asbestos refurbishment surveys are all about minimising risk to all involved.

Provides peace of mind

Many older buildings which have decorative coatings, old pipe and boiler insulation and cement water tanks could pose a risk to you. But if you’ve already identified what and where potential asbestos is present when undergoing a refurbishment project, why do you need the survey?

A refurbishment survey will recommend looking at not only the material(s) in question, but also the surrounding areas – for example, if you want to take down your ceiling, the walls could potentially have some kind of ACM in it too, and through a refurbishment you’re disturbing it. So even though you think you’ve seen all the asbestos in your property, a survey is recommended to avoid any nasty surprises.

Consider the Contractor

A quick Google search will bring up loads of local and national companies whose speciality is property refurbishment. The problem is, even if you have them refurbishing your property, they need to take out a survey beforehand as they won’t just explicitly know you have ACMs in your property. The refurbishment survey should be the first “work” you carry out before you get the builders in.

If you would like to find out more about the asbestos surveys we at Acorn Asbestos carry out across the UK, please contact the team here.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Acorn School Site 26 e1634213147938

School holidays are the perfect time for asbestos surveys

When you think of the upcoming October half-term holiday, asbestos surveys and asbestos-related works might not be the first thing that spring to mind. Fortunately, many schools and colleges wisely choose to use their breaks to get on top of their asbestos issues by organising asbestos surveys or carrying out works which – without the … Read more

Acorn campaign targets asbestos in schools.

Asbestos in schools to be tackled by new Acorn campaign

This week we were proud to launch a hard-hitting campaign targeting the issue of asbestos in schools. If you read our blog last week you will know that more than 20 years after the UK banned the use of asbestos here, it’s estimated that a high percentage of our schools still contain the deadly substance. … Read more

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Is the UK ignoring its problem with asbestos in schools?

Did you know that the UK has a significant problem with asbestos in schools? More than two decades since the use of asbestos was banned in the UK, it’s estimated that eight out of 10 of our schools still contain the deadly substance. Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used frequently by our construction industry, … Read more

National Mesothelioma Awareness Day c5810986 e1632385966395

Raising awareness about mesothelioma

This Sunday, Americans, their federal departments and agencies and their media are being called upon to observe the annual US National Mesothelioma Awareness Day with ceremonies and activities. Back in 2010, September 26 was earmarked by the US Congress as a special day to raise the American public’s awareness about mesothelioma and to encourage all … Read more

worker 6544391 1920 e1631783205514

UK house builder becomes first to divert asbestos away from landfill

We’ve heard some fantastic news about asbestos in the UK during the past few days. Leading developer Lovell has become the first UK house builder to actively tackle the challenge of asbestos waste. The firm is collaborating with Wolverhampton-based Thermal Recycling to safely package and convert asbestos waste into a safe and reusable cement substitute. … Read more

road sign 4244285 1920 e1631178843233

Asbestos causes a headache for constructor and neighbouring businesses

Asbestos hit the headlines once again this week when it brought a construction project grinding to a halt, closed off a town centre road and disrupted nearby businesses. The Stoke Sentinel has published an article sharing the frustrations of businesses in Piccadilly Arcade in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, who were unable to access their parking spaces or … Read more

surgery 3034071 1920 e1630572942721

Looking after asbestos will help us all breathe more easily

Many people have lives filled with work and family and 101 other activities that take up our days. So, today we’d like you to do something for us – just pause for a second and take a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Did you manage to do it? The average person takes … Read more

Acorn Samples 6 e1629960810872

Concerns raised about asbestos on British beach

Most of us love a seaside holiday but sadly one of Britain’s beaches hit the headlines last week for all the wrong reasons. You may remember that back in May we ran a blog on ‘Are holidaymakers in danger of finding asbestos on beaches?’ which highlighted a number of British beaches where asbestos had been … Read more

Acorn Jan 2020 Low Res 49 e1629361953760

Acorn receives the backing of major organisations

At Acorn Analytical Services we are very proud of the wide range of asbestos management and training services that we provide. We are proud to say we’re a fully independent and impartial company and that clients can be confident that the results and recommendations they receive from us will always be in their best interests. … Read more

building plan 354233 1920 e1628755740921

Will planning reform put more people at risk from asbestos?

There have been lots of concerns raised in the national press recently about new planning reforms which mean a wider range of commercial properties can now be converted into flats. The reforms came into force at the beginning of this month in a bid to regenerate city centres which have struggled during the pandemic. However, … Read more