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  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Click on the Questions below to reveal the answers.

Is it a legal requirement to have an asbestos management plan?
Do all buildings need a survey?
What happens if you find asbestos on our premises?
Will most buildings you survey have asbestos in them?
How long has Asbestos been used in the construction industry?
Will we wait a long time for the survey report?
What sort of report do we get?
Do you keep a copy of our report on your computers?
What type of survey do we need – Management or Demolition and Refurbishment?
How can we find out how much a survey will cost?
Will my staff be made aware that you are looking for Asbestos?
Do I have to close my premises if you find asbestos?
Who will sue me if I do not have a report?
I am buying/selling a house do I need a survey?
What qualifications do you have?
Do I need floor plans?
Can I leave you in the premises working on your own?
How many asbestos samples do you take?
Do I have to have the asbestos you find removed?
How many Asbestos Surveyors will turn up?
Are the reports confidential?
Do you wear a facemask and seal off areas?
After the survey what happens during repair/renewal work on our premises?
Is all asbestos the same?
Can asbestos be found in materials in small or large percentages?
Will there be any dust made during the survey?
Will you damage my property?
Can we stay working at the premises whilst the survey is carried out?
Do you have to go everywhere in our building?
How long will the survey take?
Do photographs need to be taken?
What is asbestos?
Is it really dangerous?
I heard that it was only a problem if it was disturbed? Is it True?
Do you remove the asbestos when you find it?
Will there be a lot of mess when it is removed?
Can you do the necessary building work to replace what was there?
After asbestos has been removed, does the property need to be resurveyed?
How do we dispose of asbestos?
Do we get a certificate to say we are clean? And does it have to be prominently displayed?

Q. Is it a legal requirement to have an asbestos management plan?

A. Yes, if you are a non-domestic property, the HSE requires all non-domestic properties to manage any suspect asbestos materials safely. Please check with the Health & Safety Executive’s website for full details. http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/

Also the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (CAW) lays down the requirements for the protection of people being exposed to asbestos. These regulations are for those with responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises, to identify and manage any risk from asbestos within their premises.

These regulations were launched in 2002 in support of the introduction of regulation 4 of CAW with the aim of encouraging an awareness of and compliance with.

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Q. Do all buildings need a survey?

A. The requirements as set out by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), refers to non-domestic properties, however asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) are present in domestic properties as well. Dwellers and builders/maintenance workers and the insurance industry are instructing surveys to be carried out on non-domestic properties.
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Q. What happens if you find asbestos on our premises?

A. This depends on the type location and mainly the condition of the Asbestos that is found on the premises. The recommendations vary from managing the asbestos in place. Clearly marking with warning labels and not allowing disturbance. In extreme cases it will be required to be removed immediately by a licensed Asbestos removal contractor.
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Q. Will most buildings you survey have asbestos in them?

A. Yes, our findings suggest as high as 98%.
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Q. How long has Asbestos been used in the construction industry?

A. In Britain, since the late 1800’s through to 1999. Some forms of Asbestos, (Amosite & Crocidolite) were banned from being used in the mid 1980’s, and finally Chrysotile (apart from a small number of specialised uses) was banned in 1999.
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Q. Will we wait a long time for the survey report?

A. An analysis providing an overview of the results from the laboratory can be emailed/faxed to you within 24 to 48 hours after we survey your property (where samples were taken). A full and comprehensive report with back up CD will be sent out by recorded delivery.
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Q. What sort of report do we get?

A. The report is detailed as set out by the HSE in their document HSG264. The report will contain analysis of samples, details of the extent, location and type of asbestos found on the property. Recommendations for the management of asbestos materials and a risk score are included. This forms the basis of ‘the duty to manage’ asbestos related materials on the property.
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Q. Do you keep a copy of our report on your computers?

A. Yes we do. This means if further copies are needed we can supply a new report. This is important if builders or any other parties are working on the property as they should have access to the asbestos report, we can also update the report by visiting the site to review the conditions of any asbestos containing materials.
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Q. What type of survey do we need – Management or Demolition and Refurbishment?

A. Management Survey - Samples are taken proving if asbestos materials are present or not.

Refurbishment and Demolition Survey - Samples are taken with an intrusive survey. Important that all areas are investigated, voids, cavities, behind dry lined walls, shafts etc. In fact anywhere that it is deemed safe to work. This type of survey is carried out prior to refurbishment or total demolition.

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Q. How can we find out how much a survey will cost?

A. Call our sales team on 0845 607 6813. It helps to know the size of the building, the approximate year of construction, the number of floors, and check to see if floor plans are available.

Also it would be useful for us to know if all areas of the building accessible? And for example if cherry pickers are required to survey the roof, from this information, we can post, fax or email a quotation.
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Q. Will my staff be made aware that you are looking for Asbestos?

A. We never mention the ‘A’ word on site. We have discreet, unmarked vehicles. If any questions are asked, we reply by saying a building survey is being undertaken.
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Q. Do I have to close my premises if you find asbestos?

A. Very rarely. Our survey maps the location, extent and condition of any asbestos materials, found on your property. The condition and location of the asbestos materials, govern the recommendations in the survey report.

If the asbestos materials pose a health hazard to the users of the building and there is a potential to have asbestos fibres released into the environment we recommend that areas are sealed off.
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Q. Who will sue me if I do not have a report?

A.  It is a requirement for all non-domestic properties to have an asbestos survey conducted, as part of the ‘duty to manage’ asbestos materials within the property. The HSE, have the powers to prosecute if there is any failure to comply with the legislations.

See the following website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/

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Q. I am buying/selling a house do I need a survey?

A. This depends on your estate agent/insurance company, mortgage broker etc…
More and more requests for a domestic asbestos survey are received each day. Especially at the time of buying/selling, individuals want to know the materials contained within the property, the environment that their family is going to be living in, especially if refurbishment is planned after taking possession of a property.
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Q. What qualifications do you have?

A. The qualification certificate P402 is required as set out by the British Occupational Hygiene Society for the proficiency in building surveys and bulk sampling for asbestos.
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Q. Do I need floor plans?

A. We use floor plans, photographs and descriptions to display information showing the exact areas surveyed and to show where samples were taken.

If no floor plans are present for the property we draw and record our own layout plans.
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Q. Can I leave you in the premises working on your own?

A. All our asbestos surveyors are security cleared, after introduction and being shown around your property we can be safely left to carry out the survey.

For areas that are of a sensitive nature or locked areas you may require someone to accompany ASN personnel.
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Q. How many asbestos samples do you take?

A. It depends on what we find as we survey the property, usually, the larger the property the more samples are taken.
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Q. Do I have to have the asbestos you find removed?

A. No, it depends on the condition of the asbestos materials and the location. The final report will give recommendations on any asbestos containing materials found.
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Q. How many Asbestos Surveyors will turn up?

A. Usually two asbestos surveyors. They will always have ID and can produce this if requested. At the time of booking the survey, information on ETA and surveyors' names can be given.
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Q. Are the reports confidential?

A. Yes. An asbestos report is only given to the client.
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Q. Do you wear a facemask and seal off areas?

A. Yes, we wear facemasks when taking samples. The object of conducting a survey is to obtain samples without polluting the environment. If during a survey we discover a dangerous asbestos material in very poor condition we would discreetly discuss this with the onsite contact and seal off an area. However, this is a rare occurrence.

During the survey we may control the movement of personnel until an area has been surveyed.
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Q. After the survey what happens during repair/renewal work on our premises?

A. Recommendations are given in the survey report.
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Q. Is all asbestos the same?

A. Yes in terms of the risk of Asbestos fibres being harmful if inhaled. Asbestos was used in hundreds of different products over the years. Depending on the product there is a varying risk concerning the potential for that product to release asbestos fibres into the surrounding environment.

The answer is therefore to know what products have asbestos fibres in their composition, and either not disturb them or have them removed from the property.
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Q. Can asbestos be found in materials in small or large percentages?

A. Yes. Depending on the use of the product, asbestos fibres are part of the overall composition in varying concentrations. There is no safe threshold for a product containing asbestos.
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Q. Will there be any dust made during the survey?

A. During either a Management, or a Refurbishment and Demolition asbestos survey the methods used are such to avoid polluting the environment. Asbestos materials are safer when not disturbed so if a sample is required a minimum amount of material is extracted, and done so in a safe manner.
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Q. Will you damage my property?

A. No. The taking of samples will be as discreet as possible. Only during a Refurbishment and Demolition survey are areas that are being refurbished or demolished intrusively investigated.
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Q. Can we stay working at the premises whilst the survey is carried out?

A. Yes during a management survey. We only take samples from areas and materials that need investigation. During a refurbishment and demolition survey the building in question should be unoccupied whilst the survey is undertaken. We can discuss with the client to have the survey conducted during out of office hours, or at weekends and holiday periods if required.
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Q. Do you have to go everywhere in our building?

A. Yes. We need to survey all areas, rooms, cupboards, lofts, locked and sensitive areas etc… If there are areas we are unable to gain access to we may have to presume asbestos materials are present or return at a future date.
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Q. How long will the survey take?

A. The larger the building the longer it will take to look around it. Usually several hours is sufficient to survey a property thoroughly.
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Q. Do photographs need to be taken?

A. Yes. Photographs are used to record the exterior and interior of the property and to help identify the areas where samples were taken.

Some clients request that certain areas, rooms, floors etc… are not photographed. In these circumstances this is noted down on the survey report.

We do not photograph personnel faces or items like car number plates. At the end of the survey a client may examine the digital photographs taken around their property.
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Q. What is asbestos?

A. Asbestos (from the Greek word “asbestinon”, meaning "unquenchable" or "inextinguishable"). Asbestos is a naturally occurring incombustible mineral, and it is mined in much the same way as coal, mostly in countries such as Canada, and Australia. Due to its heat resilient nature it was used by the building industry for insulation purposes and fire retardation.
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Q. Is it really dangerous?

A. Yes. Because it is a naturally occurring fibre, and easily inhaled, which due to its ‘barbed’ shape, gets lodged in the lining of the lungs, which can then develop into cancer.
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Q. I heard that it was only a problem if it was disturbed? Is it True?

A. Yes this is true. If the material containing the asbestos fibres is not disturbed the potential to release fibres is kept to a minimum.

Only when the material is cut, scraped, impacted or abraded in anyway to release the asbestos fibres does it become a problem. Over time materials can weather or start to decompose, if this is the case then delamination can occur allowing the parent material to become friable and fibres can be released. During a survey, the condition of the Asbestos containing material is taken into account.
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Q. Do you remove the asbestos when you find it?

A. No. Asbestos products have to be handled in a certain way. The remit of the asbestos survey is to map out the asbestos containing materials. If asbestos removal is recommended in the report, a licensed asbestos removal contractor should then be used.
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Q. Will there be a lot of mess when it is removed?

A. Asbestos is dangerous down to a microscopic fibre level so all of the material containing asbestos fibres needs to be removed. The licensed asbestos removal contractor is someone who has to carefully assess and remove all the material without creating dust which would pollute the area.
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Q. Can you do the necessary building work to replace what was there?

A. No. We only carry out a survey. The licensed asbestos remover, the client and a builder consider the removal and the consequence.
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Q. After asbestos has been removed, does the property need to be re-surveyed?

A. Yes. The property can then be re-surveyed to update the report and state that the material has been removed, with photographs and descriptions to form a living archive to the history of this particular property.
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Q. How do we dispose of asbestos?

A. Due to the dangerous nature of asbestos containing materials it is best to leave any removal and disposal to a licensed asbestos contractor. They have the knowledge and equipment to correctly and safely remove the asbestos.
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Q. Do we get a certificate to say we are clean? And does it have to be prominently displayed?

A. No. The report is a living archive of the property outlining the areas where samples and surveying was conducted. It can be displayed at the reception desk or kept by the site facilities manager.

Contractors or any staff member or anyone using that property can ask to see the report and thus be informed as to the areas if any, containing asbestos materials.
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