Asbestos is a major risk in older buildings. The best way to shield yourself from liability and reduce the risks associated with asbestos is to do an asbestos survey.
Regulations That Require You to Do So
There are lots of different regulations that require that you do an asbestos survey. Different asbestos regulations stipulate the responsibilities of managing asbestos levels and risks in commercial and residential buildings. These regulations are in place to protect people from asbestos-related health complications and diseases. Asbestos can cause serious illnesses and even death if its levels are not managed correctly.
Fortunately, asbestos that is in good condition, that remains undisturbed and where there is a good management plan to manage it, poses little risk to people in the building.
Managing Asbestos Levels
New buildings are unlikely to have any asbestos in them but for older buildings, you might need to do a survey to know what your exposure is and get advice on how to manage asbestos levels. For this, you need a qualified surveyor with asbestos training. These surveyors are can carry out the survey with minor disturbance to the asbestos in the building. These surveyors will also check that any asbestos they find is in good condition and is not deteriorating. They will also make arrangements to ensure no one will disturb the asbestos by accident.
A demolition survey should be done before any older buildings are demolished. This is to establish whether there is any asbestos in the building and if there is, what plans have to be put in place to ensure it remains contained through the demolition process. This will ensure any contractors or demolition teams that come in to pull the building down are not put at risk. This survey also ensures that any work that needs to be completed before demolition is done by the right people who are qualified and certified to work in these conditions.
What Does All This for an Owner or an Investor?
If you want to buy or rent any building, you have to do your due diligence and know your duties as stipulated by your local laws. These can include:
Finding out whether there as any asbestos in the building. If there is, you need to know where it is and how much of it there is
Assuming there is asbestos if you find none in an older building
Keep accurate records of all materials that contain asbestos as well as records on their overall state
Do a risk-assessment survey to find out if anyone could be exposed
Talk to anyone who might work on the building to let them know of any risks and their chances of exposure.
Buying or renting an older property can be a lot more challenging than buying a new property. If you do buy an older building, you need to check if there is any asbestos in the building and how much of it there is. Only then can you mitigate exposure to anyone who would work on the building.