The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have recently launched the second phase of their Construction Inspection Campaign this month (October ’17). Whilst the HSE’s newest campaign will focus on a variety of areas in the construction industry including, control of harmful construction dusts, work from heights, structural safety, materials handling and good order and welfare provision, it also identifies refurbishment works as a key risk in construction.
In a recent press release the HSE identified that: ‘Nearly half of fatal construction accidents and injuries reported to HSE involved refurbishment work’. This is an area which is particularly relevant to asbestos refurbishment surveys. It is important to understand the relevance and process for planning your refurbishment asbestos survey.
What is a Refurbishment Asbestos Survey?
Undertaking a refurbishment asbestos survey prior to construction work is vital. It will ensure that workers are not exposed to harmful asbestos fibres that may be released into the air if asbestos is damaged. If asbestos is not identified in the property prior to the work beginning, workers may unwittingly disturb asbestos containing materials and be exposed to the health risks associated with this. Asbestos is generally considered safe if in good condition and left in situ, however when there is a chance it may be disturbed, a refurbishment survey must be carried out.
What can I expect from my Refurbishment Asbestos Survey?
EMS will be able to advise you throughout the process. An appointment will be made to suit you. Access will be needed to the property. All rooms and areas that are shown for refurbishment on the plans will also require access. Every effort will be made to ensure as little disruption to you as possible.
How will the Survey be conducted?
The survey will be conducted to a defined scope dictated by the refurbishment survey.Plans will be needed to detail the parts of the building which are to be refurbished. This is important to allow the onsite surveyor to easily and accurately identify the areas of the building affected by proposed construction works.The surveyor will undertake a more invasive survey on areas of the building which are part of the planned renovation work and they suspect may contain asbestos. This may involve removing floor tiles, wall paper or floor boards. The surveyor will only do this in the areas earmarked for refurbishment works detailed on the plans for work.
What is the difference between a Refurbishment Asbestos Survey, a Demolition Asbestos Survey and a Management Asbestos Survey?
There are three types of asbestos survey. These are refurbishment, demolition and management. Refurbishment surveys differ from demolition surveys in that an intrusive survey will only be undertaken in areas scheduled for refurbishment. Demolition surveys involve intrusive surveying inclusive of all areas of the site. This can involve taking down walls and parts of the structure itself. Management asbestos surveys are the standard level of survey. Their purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed by normal occupancy, foreseeable maintenance and to assess their condition.
What happens if the refurbishment Asbestos Survey identifies Asbestos in my property?
Once the survey is completed and the onsite surveyor has taken samples of any suspected asbestos materials, these will be sent away for conclusive testing. After EMS have received the results a detailed report of the visit will be produced. This will be sent to you with the findings of the visit and recommended action. EMS will be here to advise you throughout this process. Should asbestos containing materials be identified that require removal, EMS can also advise you on this process.