What a Property Manager Needs To Know About Asbestos

Property Manager

The very word ‘asbestos’ tends to strike fear into a property manager.  Whether you manage a large portfolio of commercial properties, hold leasehold responsibilities for domestic dwellings with communal areas or assist landlords who own HMO’s, as a property manager, it is imperative that you understand both your duties to manage asbestos, and situations in which action, be it an inspection, testing or an asbestos survey should take place.

Where Would You Find Asbestos

Most properties both residential and commercial built before 1999 are likely to contain asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has a natural resistance to fire, electricity and chemicals. There are six types of asbestos. The most commonly used – Chrysotile (White), Amosite (Brown) and Crocidolite (Blue) asbestos were added to other materials to make them stronger, better and cheaper construction materials.

However, due to their natural resistance as described above, once exposed into the body they can cause significate health problems.  Exposure to asbestos fibre can cause irreparable damage, or can cause damage to cells which leads to cancer and other diseases.

While most buildings are likely to contain asbestos, left undisturbed, there is a minimal danger as the fibres cannot become airborne. When asbestos materials become damaged, microscopic asbestos fibre can be released. As the microscopic asbestos fibres cannot be seen, it is extremely important that, as a property manager, any building which you manage is thoroughly assessed and any risk identified.

Commercial Property and Duty To Manage Asbestos for a Property Manager

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, there is a duty to manage asbestos within all non-domestic buildings. This legal requirement is designed to protect everyone who could come into contact with asbestos fibres and puts the onus on the ‘duty holder’ to do so, by taking steps to both identify any risk and manage or rectify it.

To do this, property managers should ensure that there is an up to date asbestos register which identifies where asbestos is present, assess the condition of the areas where asbestos is present, and record the locations of the material. A management plan should be put in place and risks will need to be dealt with. It is worth noting that the regulations also apply to empty non-domestic buildings, so even when no tenant is present, an asbestos management plan must be in place.

Failure to comply with the duty to manage can result not just in unlimited fines but is also a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence.

I Manage Residential Property, Do I Need to Worry About Asbestos Management?

While the duty to manage applies to all non-domestic buildings, residential property managers, and leasehold managers most definitely do need to be concerned with managing asbestos.

Common parts in certain residential dwellings, such as communal areas in HMOs, and common areas in large leasehold buildings are covered in the regulations.

While the duty to manage will generally fall with the landlord, you may still have responsibilities under the regulations.

Who is the Asbestos Duty Holder?

In the case of commercial property, the duty holder should be laid out within the tenancy agreement. It could be the landlord, tenant or the managing agent (or even a combination of all or any of them).

Where no tenancy is in place, explicit agreements such as a contract to manage a property can imply that your managing agency has control of the premises, and therefore the duty to manage.

If you’re a Property Manager and have any queries or believe that you have a need for asbestos management services, please do get in touch with us.

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

Leicester Hospital Leads Mesothelioma Treatment Trials

Two new treatments are being tested in the East Midlands for an aggressive cancer caused mainly by exposure to asbestos. The research into mesothelioma is being done at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital. Mesothelioma most commonly starts in the inner lining of the chest wall causing it to thicken and reduce lung capacity, which in turn puts … Read more

Quote 1

Acorn join the Federation of Small Businesses

Acorn Analytical Services are pleased to announce that we have successfully joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). What is the FSB? The FSB is non-profit making and non-party political. The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK’s largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Formed … Read more

938308 4da8f9a0 596x300 1

Carlisle Housing Association Admits Asbestos Failings

A housing association in Carlisle has admitted serious failings with regards to asbestos. Riverside Housing has advised they have no idea how many of their properties contain asbestos. Best estimates are around 3,000 which is half of it 6,000 property portfolio. Asbestos was extensively used within the construction industry throughout the UK from the 1930s … Read more

asbestos through a scope

New Asbestos ACOP for Working With Asbestos

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released a consultation document proposing the new Approved Code of Practice (ACOP)  for working with asbestos. It has invited comments and responses (to be received no later than 30 September 2013) as part of a consultative exercise into a proposed consolidated version of its Approved Code of Practice … Read more

cwmcarn

Asbestos removal worker dies in Cwmcarn school

Health and Safety Executive leading investigation after 26-year-old asbestos removal worker dies in Cwmcarn school. A police and health and safety investigation has been launched following the death of an asbestos removal worker at an asbestos-hit school. Paramedics were called to Cwmcarn High, near Newport, on Friday after a 26 year old collapsed. The school … Read more

Management Survey 2

Who should you commission for your asbestos surveys?

There are many companies that provide asbestos consultancy and asbestos surveys, sometimes at what initially appears to be at low cost. However, before commissioning an company to undertake such work it is important to ask yourself the following: Are you confident that the company has the technical competence to undertake the asbestos survey? Are you satisfied that the company has the resources … Read more

DSCF0017

Children are at greater risk from exposure to asbestos!

A special scientific consultative committee to the Government has concluded that children are at greater risk from exposure to asbestos than adults. Pressure is now being placed on the Government to act upon the findings and undertake full review of current policies in relation to asbestos in schools. The Department for Education’s – Asbestos in Schools … Read more

Acorn Lower Service 55

What happens when asbestos goes wrong?

What happens when asbestos goes wrong? Every day there are incidents with asbestos that could have easily been avoided. Here we have highlighted recent incidents that have been highlighted in the press during January 2013: Engineering Company and Building Company Fined In January two companies had to pay just under £30,000 pounds in costs and fines … Read more

Asbestos Awareness

Is asbestos an issue for employers in 2013?

Answer: Yes it is. A lot of people are still surprised to find out that asbestos is an issue within the UK. The last set of figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that 4,759 people are currently dying each year from various diseases related to asbestos exposures. This figure has increased … Read more

Asbestos removal 2

Acorn Help Raise Money for Help The Heroes

Saturday 4th May 2013 saw the second Tough Mudder event at Boughton House, Kettering. Taking part and helping to raise money for Help The Heroes was Acorn Analytical Services Director – Neil Munro. Tough Mudder® events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, determination, and camaraderie. … Read more