What a Property Manager Needs To Know About Asbestos

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

Non licensed contractor

What you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

We recently had a query from one of our clients that we wanted to share with you in this blog. They are a contractor working in the commercial and retail sectors and occasionally they have to remove bolts from floors which may contain asbestos. Their query was about wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and RPE (respiratory protective equipment) to carry out the work safely. …

Read MoreWhat you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

Asbestos Emergencies

Asbestos emergencies – what to do?

In this blog we will discuss asbestos and emergency situations. We will look at what can go wrong, who can be affected and how to control and minimise risks from those situations. Who is at risk? To begin with we need to consider who is at risk of coming into contact with asbestos. It comes down to a list of people …

Read MoreAsbestos emergencies – what to do?

Asbestos Insulating Board

Asbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

Asbestos insulating boards are boards that have a high asbestos content usually containing Amosite (Brown) and can also contain Chrysotile (White) asbestos. When you look at an unpainted board you can see the asbestos fibres. The boards can be easily damaged and can easily release asbestos fibres. They tend to be off white or grey …

Read MoreAsbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

What does asbestos look like

What is asbestos?

This is a question we get asked a lot. But, for the purposes of this blog, we think it is worth exploring what asbestos isn’t. Firstly, there is a big misconception that asbestos is man-made, but that’s not the case. The shortest and easiest way to describe asbestos is that it is a mineral which …

Read MoreWhat is asbestos?

Asbestos Removal in hot conditions

Life-Changing issues surrounding asbestos removal in hot conditions

Working with asbestos brings many complications and there are many risks which need to be assessed and actions are taken to reduce those risks. However, asbestos removal in hot conditions can pose a significate risk to the health of the workers involved. Examples of asbestos removal in hot conditions Asbestos removal quite often happens in …

Read MoreLife-Changing issues surrounding asbestos removal in hot conditions

Asbestos awareness training (2)

Don’t forget your legal duty to provide asbestos awareness training

Asbestos awareness training enables workers who are likely to come into contact with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to recognise and avoid disturbing them. In doing so, they protect their own health and safety, as well as that of their co-workers and people nearby. This type of training is particularly important for tradespeople and construction-related workers, including …

Read MoreDon’t forget your legal duty to provide asbestos awareness training

Asbestos Emergency

6 Actions To Take In An Asbestos Emergency

When you’re caught up in an asbestos emergency it can be difficult to think clearly and react appropriately to minimise your own exposure, and that of those around you. Asbestos is a carcinogenic material and has the potential to cause life-threatening disease, so what should you do in the event of an asbestos emergency? If …

Read More6 Actions To Take In An Asbestos Emergency

DSCF0564 e1431533668372

How dangerous is asbestos?

Asbestos continues to cause serious health concerns even though the substance was banned in the UK in 1999. Originally used for fireproofing and insulating, and typically encased in concrete and other building materials, it’s been the subject of controversy for decades. So exactly how dangerous is asbestos, and why is there such a risk associated …

Read MoreHow dangerous is asbestos?

Acorn Square Service 1

What are the 6 Main Types of Asbestos and how were they used?

Asbestos is a collection of naturally occurring minerals extensively used in construction, shipbuilding, and other industries from the 1950s until the 1980s. There are 6 main types of asbestos, which can be categorised into the Serpentine and Amphibole families. The fibres of Serpentine asbestos are softer and more flexible when compared with the Amphibole family, …

Read MoreWhat are the 6 Main Types of Asbestos and how were they used?

Asbestos Awareness Training Session image

What makes asbestos awareness training so crucial?

The considerable harm that the once widely used construction and insulation material known as asbestos can cause is thankfully now widely known. So with that in mind, what role does asbestos awareness training play, who could benefit from it, and how could they benefit from it? Asbestos awareness training is relevant and useful to a …

Read MoreWhat makes asbestos awareness training so crucial?