Asbestos Re-Inspection Surveys: Top Ten FAQs

3rd April 2020

Under the  Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012,  Approved Code of Practice and guidance document L143 states that “Any identified or suspected asbestos-containing material (ACM) must be inspected and its condition assessed periodically, to check that it has not deteriorated or been damaged”. But what does ‘periodically’ mean and how do I know if I need an asbestos re-inspection survey?

To help demystify asbestos re-inspection surveys, we’ve put together our top 10 FAQs from our clients.

What is an asbestos re-inspection survey?

An asbestos re-inspection survey is designed to allow the duty holder to monitor and record the condition of any previously identified asbestos products within a building.

Like any building material, asbestos-containing materials are also subject to potential damage and degradation. As an asbestos product degrades it can be more likely to become a hazard to health, therefore it should be inspected at regular intervals to ensure its condition has not deteriorated.

For this type of survey to be undertaken, an existing asbestos management survey, asbestos register, and Asbestos Management Plan should already be in place.

How often should I conduct an asbestos re-inspection survey?

Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that asbestos re-inspections should be conducted every 6-12 months depending on the asbestos survey report. Should your asbestos-containing materials be identified as high risk, re-inspections may be required more frequently in order to ensure the risk is being correctly managed along with reviewing risk assessments and control measures. 

Is an asbestos re-inspection survey relevant to my building?

There are two key things to consider when deciding if an asbestos re-inspection survey is relevant to your building:

Firstly, does your existing asbestos survey report contain asbestos? If yes, then you are required under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to have your asbestos re-inspected to assess its condition. Asbestos-containing materials are subject to degradation over time. To ensure your asbestos is in good condition and is not subject to cause dangerous asbestos exposures, an asbestos re-inspection is required.

Secondly, have you had any asbestos in your building removed? If yes, then the asbestos removal works would have been carried out by an asbestos removal contractor. The asbestos removal contractor will self certify that the asbestos has been fully removed. To ensure that this is the case and that you are fully compliant with regulations, any areas where asbestos removal has previously taken place should be included in your asbestos re-inspection survey to give independent assurance that the hazardous material has been fully removed.

Does my building need to be empty during an asbestos re-inspection survey?

Both asbestos management surveys and asbestos re-inspection surveys are non-intrusive and therefore do not require the building to be empty during the survey. Any materials that require further sampling and analysis in order to be identified or any materials that are of high risk ought to be sampled and analysed in an ISO 17025 UKAS accredited laboratory.

Can I undertake the asbestos re-inspection survey myself?

Regulation 10 of the Control of asbestos regulations emphasises the need for persons carrying out the assessment to have “sufficient information instruction and training to carry out the assessment”.

It is debatable what level of competency is required, this could be a number of years experience or a particular formal qualification. However, the re-inspection survey comprises a visual inspection and the reassessment of the risk associated with the condition of the material and the environment that it sits in. 

The purpose of an asbestos survey is to assess the building or environment for asbestos that could potentially cause harm to individuals and/or surrounding environments. If an asbestos survey (of any type) is incorrect, the ability to input control measures to prevent asbestos exposures could be compromised. 

Engaging a competent person or organisation to conduct your asbestos survey can help protect you, your team, and your organisation from the negative impact asbestos exposures. 

Who is a competent person/organisation?

In order to ensure that the risk associated with asbestos-containing materials is assessed correctly, an asbestos consultant holding asbestos specific qualifications should be employed.  Using a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited asbestos consultancy to undertake your asbestos re-inspection survey will ensure that you are provided with a clear report with necessary recommendations.  

What is UKAS accreditation and why is it important?

By using a UKAS accredited service provider, you benefit from the assurance that the organisation has been independently assessed and verified to deliver the works competently. 

UKAS are a government-appointed agency authorised to assess the competency and abilities of organisations who provide certificates in the testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) industry. This includes the asbestos industry. 

Organisations bearing UKAS accreditation have undergone rigorous audits and reviews that assess many aspects of the business including; general management, policies and procedures, and testing of individual team members’ competency. This assessment is conducted annually to ensure the service you, the customer, is getting is a reliable and trusted service from your provider. 

Which UKAS Accreditation should I be looking out for?

There are many types of UKAS accreditations. For asbestos inspections (including asbestos re-inspection surveys) UKAS ISO 17020 is the conformity assessment required for the operation of inspection activities.

What happens during an asbestos re-inspection survey?

Your asbestos re-inspection survey will

  • Assess your current asbestos documentation and identify potential issues with the data or gaps.
  • Attend your site to re-inspect your known asbestos-containing materials and update your asbestos records, identify any changes to your asbestos-containing materials, update the record with a new photograph of the item, provide clarity of your site position through automated site geo-location and a dynamic, data-integrated floor planner.
  • Any areas that were labeled as ‘no access’ in your asbestos management survey should be accessed and surveyed if possible. You may wish to discuss access arrangements to arrange for these areas to be surveyed as part of a new asbestos management survey.
  • Review your current control measures, documentation and asbestos management plan.

What does ‘no access’ mean?

The HSE’s HSG 264 Asbestos The Survey Guide states that in the case an area cannot be accessed, this must be stated on the asbestos management survey report. Materials must be presumed as containing asbestos until proven otherwise. This is also the case for ‘no access’ areas. 

During an asbestos re-inspection survey, all ‘no access’ areas must be surveyed (if available) or will continue to be recorded as ‘presumed to contain asbestos’. Should additional asbestos be discovered in ‘no access’ areas, you may wish to proceed with asbestos sampling and testing. It is essential that all areas of your site are accessible and that minimal caveats are in place if possible. This is to allow you, the client, to be able to attain as much information about your property as possible and, where appropriate, take action to manage the potential risks. 

Need guidance on managing your asbestos risks? Speak to one of our Asbestos Consultants and start your journey to compliance, today: Contact Us

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