Asbestos Surveys

What are the different types of Asbestos Survey?

Asbestos Management Surveys

A management survey is the standard survey required on any building constructed before 2000. Its purpose is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspected ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy (including foreseeable maintenance), and to assess their condition.

Re-inspection Surveys

Over time, ACMs can degenerate or be accidentally damaged, causing the level of risk to change substantially. The law requires that their condition be inspected regularly and records updated accordingly. Our surveyors can re-inspect premises and provide these updates to ensure compliance information is maintained. This also gives you the advantage of cost certainty, protecting your investment in the initial survey.

Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys

These surveys locate and describe ACMs in areas where intrusive maintenance and repair, refurbishment or demolition work is set to take place. The fully intrusive survey requires access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach. Asbestos refurbishment surveys should generally only be completed in unoccupied areas to minimise risks to personnel.

How can I be assured Scopus are competent in line with HSG264 Asbestos; The Survey Guide?

We have full quality control at our in-house UKAS accredited lab (ISO17025), and the flexibility to respond quickly via our strategically sited countywide operatives. We are also able to work with you to deliver strategic long-term plans for your property portfolio, whether for acquisitions, refurbishment and demolition projects, or simply to manage compliance on an ongoing basis.

As a Duty Holder, where do I start to satisfy Regulation 4 (Duty to Manage) of CAR2012?

To help fulfil your duty to manage your Asbestos (Reg 4 of CAR 2012), you must first locate it by way of assessment, sampling or surveys then compile an Asbestos Register using the knowledge/information gathered. Typically; most Duty Holders/Clients with non-domestic premises will arrange for an Asbestos Management Survey to be undertaken as a starting point, this type of survey is designed to be thorough but non-intrusive and is deemed suitable for normal operations and foreseeable maintenance.

Also as part of Reg 4 of CAR 2012 Duty Holders/Clients are also expected to monitor the condition of ACMs withintheir building(s) in line with their strategy for compliance (detailed within an Asbestos Management Plan). Regular re-inspection surveys are required, the frequency of which can be determined by risk assessment, however annually is fairly standard practice.

An Asbestos Management Plan that is fit for purpose is a MUST.It should look to provide details of how the ACMs within buildings, identified or presumed, are to be managed after an Asbestos Survey has been conducted. The AMP should include:

  • Strategy for Compliance
  • Details of Asbestos Register(s)
  • Personnel and Their Responsibilities
  • Re-inspection and Monitoring Arrangements
  • Training Arrangements
  • Implementation of Asbestos Procedures
  • Communication Arrangements
  • Monitoring and Reviewing the Asbestos Management Plan
  • Emergency Procedures

An Asbestos Policy should partner your AMP. The Policy will be a brief but clearly documented stance that is maintained by good use of the AMPensuring you continue to work strategically towards objectives and/or compliance. In short, the AMP will provide a description of how a policy is to be carried out and define courses of action to meet planned objectives.

How do I decide which Asbestos Survey type is required?

Reg 5 (Duty to Identify the presence of asbestos) details:

An employer must not undertake work in demolition, maintenance or any other work which exposes or is liable to expose employees of that employer to asbestos in respect of any premises unless either—

(a) that employer has carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos, what type of asbestos, contained in what material and in what condition is present or is liable to be present in those premises; or

(b)if there is a doubt as to whether asbestos is present in those premises, that employer—

  • assumes that asbestos is present and that it is not chrysotile alone, and
  • observes the applicable provisions of these Regulations.

And so, before any work is undertaken within a building; work that has the potential to disturb Asbestos containing materials (ACMs); you need to select the survey type most relevant to your proposed works, whether it be maintenance (likely an Asbestos Management Survey) refurbishment (likely an Asbestos Refurbishment Survey) or Demolition (likely an Asbestos Demolition Survey). It is your duty to ensure you have a suitable and sufficient assessment for your proposed task/project but of course, you can look to Scopus for advice/guidance to make the correct choice.

Don’t forget that any ACMs identified during these surveys must be included within your “live” Asbestos Register.

What is a Material and/or Priority Risk Assessment for known ACMs?

Reg 4 of CAR2012 also requires dutyholders to ensure that “the risk of anyone being exposed to these materials is assessed”. This type of risk assessment is often referred to as a priority risk assessment.

An Asbestos Survey Report will identify the material risk. The material risk provides information on how readily the material will release airborne asbestos fibres should it be disturbed. The material risk score can range from very low to high. However, it does not automatically follow that those materials assigned the highest score in the material assessment will be the materials that should be given priority for remedial action.

Management priority must be determined by carrying out a risk assessment, which will also take into account additional factors such as:

  • Maintenance activity
  • Occupant activity
  • Likelihood of disturbance
  • Human exposure potential

The priority risk assessment can only be carried out with detailed knowledge of all the listed factors and so although a surveyor can undertake this assessment, the duty holder is vital to ensure accuracy.

Asbestos Bulk Sampling

How many different types of Asbestos are there?

Asbestos refers to six unique minerals;Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite.

Chrysotile belongs to the Serpentine family whereas the other five belong to the Amphibole family.

Serpentine Asbestos has curly fibers made up of sheets of crystals. The single type of Asbestos from the Serpentine family, Chrysotile, has historically accounted for more than 95 percent of all Asbestos used around the world. As a result of Asbestos-industry lobbying, some countries that have banned other types of Asbestos still permit the “controlled use” of chrysotile.

Amphibole Asbestos has needle-shaped fibers. Studies suggest it takes much less exposure to Amphibole Asbestos to cause cancer, compared to Serpentine Asbestos. Amosite and Crocidolite are the most commercially valuable types of Amphibole Asbestos, while Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite are considered non-commercial forms.

How are Asbestos Samples tested?

A representative sample of the material, suspected to be asbestos containing, is collected and submitted immediately to the laboratory for testing. In the analytical laboratory, this suspect material is analysed by a detailed examination by stereo microscopy. One or more representative sub samples are prepared mechanically and or chemically for further examination. Fibres observed in the course of the examination are categorised tentatively on the basis of morphology and certain physical properties.

Each fibre type recognised is sampled by selecting a few fibres or bundles and these are mounted in a refractive index liquid to match the most likely asbestos type. The fibres are then positively identified as one of the six regulated types on the basis of their detailed optical properties using polarised light microscopy.

Asbestos Consultancy

Why use a Specification and Tender Exercise to package Asbestos Removal Projects?

Asbestos Remedial Specifications assess the risks and capture the preferred techniques for managing or remediating each Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) within the context of a building or proposed works/schemes. A specification if prepared in consultation with our client and often their wider design team, taking into account locations, methodology and the extent of the actual refurbishment or removal activity which has been planned.

Managing the tender process for the Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractor, we ensure complete compliance with any client procurement policies. This includes tender administration, dealing with subsequent enquiries within the tender period, managing contractor visits to the site, assessment and evaluation of all tenders received, production of a tender report including recommendations and management of the LARC appointment process.

When would a site-specific risk assessment be required and what does it entail?

For more complex surveys or analytical monitoring projects, our Asbestos Consultants will design Site-Specific Risk Assessments and Method Statements. These bespoke projects often require a site visit with our client to fully understand the unique nature of each site/project; enabling us to balance health and safety risk with asbestos project risks. Using the relevant project teams site/project experience we will assess all risks and design the best work method/procedures to control and deliver the project successfully.

How can I be sure all Scopus staff deliver a project/scheme to identical standards?

To ensure we deliver to client expectations we consider it best practice to produce a contract overview process & procedure document for sensitive or extensive projects/programmes. Our project team will all get together to discuss the key stages of project delivery and record client arrangements/agreements, admin procedures, survey/analytical processes, finance instructions and report requirements; essentially an operational bible for all to refer too or follow, a process and procedural document to rely on and assist with project/programme delivery.

Can Scopus provide impartial assistance for Court Cases and/or Accidents/Incidents?

When accidents happen and/or exposure incidents occur or expert evidence is called upon its best to have a partner you can rely on. Our highly trained consultants are sharp to respond to emergency incidents; also trainedand competent in their understanding of the strict guidelines of the Expert Witness role within the UK court system.

Investigations and expert witness events will be dealt with individually using control, skill and discretion. We will execute a safe, smooth and speedy service to ensure that legislation is left satisfied and that where required RIDDOR incidents are reported.

Our advice is completely impartial and we place great importance on the integrity service we provide.

Scopus expert witness services include:

  • Advising organisations of their duties under the current asbestos legislation
  • Advice on asbestos-related legislation including personal injury claims, contamination of buildings/land and breaches of regulations
  • Undertaking site inspections
  • Reviewing witness statements
  • Assessments of negligence
  • Breaches of legislation
  • Writing up expert witness reports
  • Asbestos litigation matters

Our incident investigation and emergency call out services include:

  • Emergency response service
  • Site attendance
  • Segregation advice/incident control
  • Remedial support from Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractors
  • Reactive bulk and air sampling (even surveying)
  • Exposure interviews/RIDDOR assistance
  • Formal investigation report/recommendations
  • Incident review training

What is an Asbestos Management Plan and What Should it Include?

When you are managing a property or assets, as part of satisfying Regulation 4 (duty to manage) an Asbestos Management Plan is required; but if you don’t have the relevant experience, it can feel like a daunting task.

The good news is; with a little help from you, we can write a client-specific one for you. We’ll even throw in an Asbestos Policy for FREE!

Asbestos Management Plans (AMP) provide details of how the ACMs within buildings, identified or presumed, are to be managed after an Asbestos Survey has been conducted. The AMP should include:

  • Strategy for Compliance
  • Details of Asbestos Register(s)
  • Personnel and Their Responsibilities
  • Re-inspection and Monitoring Arrangements
  • Training Arrangements
  • Implementation of Asbestos Procedures
  • Communication Arrangements
  • Monitoring and Reviewing the Asbestos Management Plan
  • Emergency Procedures

An Asbestos Policy should be in place to partner your AMP. The Policy will be a brief but clearly documented stance that is maintained by good use of the AMPensuring you continue to work strategically towards objectives and/or compliance. In short, the AMP will provide a description of how a policy is to be carried out and define courses of action to meet planned objectives.

What will be assessed as part of an External Systems Audit or Asbestos Compliance Review?

Scopus willformally review client policies, procedures, permits to work, contractor control/competence, survey records/registers, management plans, training and other asbestos-related documentation against industry regulations, approved codes of practice and HSE guidance documents. Upon completion of the audit, a documented report will be produced with audit notes and recommendations/actions.

Asbestos Training

What are the different recognised categories for Asbestos Training?

Category A– Asbestos Awareness Training, which is appropriate for those people who do not work on asbestos containing materials however require training to enable them to identify asbestos containing materials or undertake their job with an appreciation for Asbestos legislation.

Category B– Training for Non-Licensable Asbestos Work, applicable to operatives who carry out small works on asbestos containing materials.

Category C– Training for Licensable Asbestos Work which is for companies that hold a license issued by HSE that allows them to remove asbestos.

Although no alphabetic category has been assigned it should also be noted that our partners can also provide other management level training whether it be a tailored bespoke course to meet your requirements or even an industry recognised BOHS P series training course specific to surveying and/or managing buildings; these may include:

  • Management Level Client Training; covering Industry Key Regulations, ACOPs and HSE Guidance
  • P402 – Surveying and Sampling for Asbestos
  • P405 – Management of Asbestos in Buildings

Asbestos Removal

Who can dispose of Asbestos Waste and How do They do it?

Disposal of Asbestos Waste is a major part of AsbestosRemoval Projects. Asbestos waste must be packaged appropriately (double bagged/wrapped in 1000 gauge polythene and clearly labelled as Asbestos) and be transported by registered carriers to a limited number of registered waste sites that accept waste from Asbestos Removal Projects. Staff undertaking the removal and transportation of asbestos waste must be competent/suitably trained. They must also provide consignment notes both whilst the waste is in transit and upon completion of the disposal of the waste at a licensed landfill site.

What is an Asbestos License and why is it important?

A license to work with Asbestos is required if the project or the material falls into the licensed category. The company undertaking this type of work must hold a license that has been granted by the Health and Safety Executive. Work in this category is usually subject to a 14-day notification to the enforcing authority prior to works being allowed to commence.

Companies that carry out notifiable asbestos work are subject to health surveillance of their employees and must maintain comprehensive records detailing the nature, duration and likely exposures to asbestos. The regulations state that these health records must be kept for a minimum of 40 years.

What levels of competence is there for Asbestos Removal Works?

Asbestos Removal Works fall into three categories:

  • Category B Trained Non-Licensed Asbestos Work – Usually does not require notification (dependent upon the project details)
  • Category B Trained Notifiable Non-Licensed Asbestos Work – Notification is required to the HSE prior to work commencing
  • Category C Notifiable Licensed Asbestos Work – Notification is required to the enforcing authority a minimum of 14 days prior to works commencing. In addition to all of the above and regardless of category, the works will require a risk assessment covering all site risks that may be encountered during the works.

Regardless of the category, the removal contractor must be competent to undertake the work, the employees must hold appropriate training certificates and be able to prove competence for the tasks they are planning to undertake.

They must also hold appropriate and sufficient insurances as well as hold an Asbestos waste carriers license for the tasks they will be undertaking. As a general rule most insurance policies specifically exclude working with asbestos from their cover which can leave both the contractor and you open to litigation if works do not go according to plan.

Why use Scopus for Asbestos Removal Projects?

An effective Asbestos Removal Plan is essential for ensuring the safety of your premises. If your Asbestos Removal Contractor does not achieve the highest possible standards of cleanliness, you may be left with encapsulated or isolated residual asbestos. This can cause a threat to safety, increased costs and a failure to meet regulatory requirements. We will manage your asbestos removal project, ensuring that your contractor provides effective, high-quality service.

A Scopus Project Managing Consultant will audit the Removal Contractors training, equipment, records and working methods then ensure that the Removal Contractor complies with specifications, uses the methods specified in the contract and does everything possible to meets all deadlines.

Scopus technical staff have a proven track record of project managing asbestos removal and remedial work, ensuring that the work is carried out in accordance with all current legislation and approved codes of practice.

Our management of the works encompasses the following duties;

  • Production of a Specification for the works
  • Obtaining quotations from removal contractors including escorting during site visits
  • Review of the chosen contractor’s Risk Assessments & Method Statement
  • Chairing of any project meetings (these will be minuted)
  • Checks of the contractor’s documentation required on site (medical certificates, insurance, equipment test certificates and maintenance records, risk assessments, face-fit test certificates for RPE, etc.)
  • Liaison with the contractor to ensure the work area is prepared satisfactorily
  • Inspection of the work area/enclosure to verify integrity prior to the start of remedial work; witnessing of smoke test.
  • Background air tests to establish baseline ambient levels prior to starting work
  • Inspections and checks during work to ensure that correct removal procedures are being followed
  • Air monitoring during works (leak tests) and also personal tests inside the enclosure(s) to ensure that fibre levels do not exceed the capability of the RPE and that control measures are sufficient to suppress airborne fibre levels
  • Final visual inspections/4-stage clearance to ensure remedial works completed to a satisfactory standard
  • Liaison between our site Analyst and Client representatives as required during the contract
  • Verification of satisfactory completion and submission of a consolidated final report document of site paperwork

All air monitoring/analyst’s duties will be carried out as per HSG248: The Analyst’s Guide as per our accreditation to ISO17025

A remedial project that is managed in this way means that the Client is assured that every stage of the process is being managed and audited in keeping with industry best practice.

Air Testing and 4SC

What are the different types of air testing?

Personal Air Testing

This form of air testing is used in order to evaluate asbestos exposure to your employees and is required in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It can be used in the following circumstances:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your asbestos control measures being utilised during asbestos works
  • To assess whether the control limit is exceeded so that you can select the appropriate RPE to be used
  • To assess that the RPE you plan to use is adequate and will provide you with the correct level of protection
  • Provide information in relation to asbestos exposure for your medical surveillance records
  • Provide important risk assessment details to support your current and future asbestos works.

Background Air Testing

This is generally conducted when you require evidence or a check that fibre levels in the air are below the recommended level. Most commonly this is carried out to establish fibre concentrations before any activity which may lead to airborne asbestos contamination. It can also be used as part of an overall monitoring strategy to manage asbestos-related risks.

Leak Air Testing

This form of air testing is used to measure the airborne fibre concentration outside a live asbestos removal enclosure at your premises in order to determine whether the integrity of the enclosure is being maintained and that the control measures are adequate. Leak air testing is used to support an initial smoke test and the frequent thorough visual inspections of an enclosure during removal work.

Reassurance Air Testing

This is generally used to measure airborne fibre concentration following a disturbance, incident and/or when asbestos remedial works have been undertaken; to confirm that the residual asbestos fibre concentrations are <0.01 f/cm3.

What are the requirements for a 4 Stage Clearance Procedure?

Obligations for 4-stage clearance:

  • Analyst to be independent of the removal contractor, employ the services of a UKAS accredited testing body, in accordance with ISO 17025
  • Employ qualified and experienced personnel to carry out the work
  • The multi-stage certification process is set up to allow the inspection and assessment to be undertaken in a structured, systematic and consistent manner

As set out in HSG 248 Asbestos: The analysts’ guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures:

  • Stage 1: Preliminary check of site condition
  • Stage 2: Thorough visual inspection inside the enclosure area
  • Stage 3: Air monitoring
  • Stage 4: Final assessment post-enclosure area dismantling

Only when all of the stages have been completed satisfactorily, the Certificate of Reoccupation can be issued.