What is asbestos due diligence and does it affect you?

Asbestos due diligence

If you’re thinking of acquiring a business that operates from older premises, or already run one, asbestos due diligence is a key issue that protects your employees’ health and could save you money and time in the future.  

Under UK asbestos law the person responsible for maintaining non-domestic buildings can be fined and/or prosecuted for failing in this respect. If you’re the ‘duty holder,’ you may be required to carry out an asbestos due diligence assessment to identify whether asbestos is present in the building, and if so, to manage the risks.

If asbestos is found following an assessment, its whereabouts and condition need to be recorded in an asbestos register to protect your staff, and also workers carrying out alterations or renovations in the future.  

Why asbestos due diligence is so important

The extensive use of asbestos in older buildings in the past, particularly industrial premises, has resulted in widespread asbestos disease among the people who worked there. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the body assigned to protect worker health and safety in the UK, 2,595 people died from mesothelioma in 2016 alone.¹

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer attributed to asbestos exposure, but a similar number of other lung cancer deaths in the same year were also linked to asbestos. So what exactly constitutes asbestos due diligence, and how can you comply with the regulations?

Asbestos due diligence

Seeking guidance and assistance from professional asbestos consultants is the first step in the due diligence process. Whether you’re a prospective buyer or a commercial tenant you’ll get a full picture of your responsibilities from a due diligence assessment, which also reveals whether any further action is necessary.

This type of assessment could include any or all of the following, but should be tailored to the requirements of each case:

  • Desktop study
  • Site visit to evaluate the existing situation via previous audits and any other information available
  • Report detailing all findings, highlighting any ongoing risks, and providing professional recommendations

The benefits of asbestos due diligence

Given the carcinogenic nature of asbestos, and the ease with which fibres can escape when asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are damaged or degraded, asbestos due diligence is a crucial factor if you’re a business owner or landlord.

It allows you to manage any risk to your employees and visitors, particularly tradespeople and maintenance staff on the workforce. From a business purchaser’s perspective, asbestos due diligence provides a full picture of potential future costs and can influence sales at the negotiation stage. Where a property portfolio is concerned, a due diligence assessment across all premises also highlights potential issues and ensures compliance.

Acorn Analytical Services is a trusted and accredited asbestos consultancy offering professional asbestos due diligence services, asbestos repair and encapsulation, and fast and efficient asbestos project management.

Our director-led due diligence procedure ensures compliance with asbestos legal requirements, protecting your staff and visitors, and saving you time and money in the long run. Please contact one of our highly experienced consultants to discuss your needs.

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.

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