If you’ve discovered asbestos in your home or workplace, there’s no need to panic. Instead, you should organise an asbestos survey (also commonly referred to as an ‘asbestos test’), with a licensed professional in your area as soon as possible. The right survey will discover the extent of the asbestos in your building, and develop a plan to manage the risks and keep your staff or family safe.
There are several different types of asbestos surveys, each suited to appropriate situations and settings. We’ve run through the details of each type to help you decide which is right for you.
This is the standard survey type, ideal for most homes and business where owners suspect there is asbestos in their building, but do not plan on renovating, demolishing or otherwise disturbing the fibres.
An asbestos management survey will aim to locate the presence and extent of any suspected asbestos containing materials (ACM), that could be damaged or disturbed during everyday life in the building (where reasonably practicable). This will include assessing the condition of the asbestos in the area and analysing its ability to release dangerous fibres into the air.
The nature of asbestos testing means they are intrusive, however generally speaking asbestos management surveys will not cause noticeable damage or disturbance to your home. To assess the extent and condition of asbestos in your home, technicians will take samples of materials they suspect contain the fibre and analyse them in an accredited laboratory.
You’ll then be presented with a full asbestos management report, including details of all ACMs in the home, a plan to minimise the risk, and details of any maintenance or asbestos removal that may be required in future. All discovered ACMs will be given an asbestos register listing as required. Note: under the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016, if you are a landlord or business owner you are legally required to provide an asbestos management plan if asbestos is present in the workplace.
Asbestos demolition/refurbishment survey
If your home or place of work fits the following criteria, you are legally required to conduct an asbestos demolition and refurbishment survey before carrying out demolition or renovation on any structure:
Constructed or installed before 1 January, 2000; or
Asbestos has been identified; or
Asbestos is likely to be present.
A demolition and refurbishment survey aims to locate any asbestos inside a structure as far as reasonably practicable, in order to prepare for refurbishment or demolition.
It is absolutely essential that this survey is carried out by skilled and experienced asbestos testing professionals. If the survey misses or incorrectly classifies dangerous materials, there is a risk the site will be contaminated or that workers and occupants will be placed at risk during renovation or demolition.
Asbestos demolition and refurbishment surveys are often more invasive than management surveys, as they usually have to inspect all areas of the structure, including behind walls, under floors, and inside ceilings.
They are only required for the parts of a structure likely to be affected by planned refurbishment or demolition, while an asbestos management survey is recommended for all other parts of the property. After the results of this survey are returned, all ACMs will be removed to ensure workers or occupants are not at risk when works begin.
Asbestos contamination survey
If you suspect your building or site has been contaminated by asbestos during renovation, a natural disaster, or other catastrophic event, then it’s advised you undertake an asbestos contamination survey.
This comprehensive structural survey will ensure all ACMs are detected where possible, as well as checking the results of any prior asbestos surveys and conducting bulk sampling. This will clarify the extent of contamination, and assist in creating a plan to manage risks and decontaminate the property if possible.
Your asbestos management programme will require you to re-inspect your property at regular intervals. This is will entail another inspection of previously surveyed areas, aiming to update information on the asbestos register, and review or amend your asbestos management plan if necessary.
Each case will differ, but generally speaking it’s a good idea to re-inspect your property every six to 12 months after your initial asbestos management plan is created. Whatever your asbestos testing and surveying needs are, Chemcare are here to help. As one of Auckland’s most skilled and accredited asbestos surveyors, we’re uniquely qualified to assess and manage the level of asbestos on your property.
If you’re looking for more information about what you can do about asbestos, feel free to check out our free downloadable ebook below.