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Why an asbestos specification is important

When supplying a service, it is important to know who needs what and at what point they need it.  

Clients contact us because they need answers to questions regarding their asbestos management. This is where a good specification comes into play as we, the service provider, need to know what questions must be answered.  

What are your expectations, so that we can meet, manage or exceed them?

You just asked me to buy you red footwear

One of my favourite phrases, to help clients understand the need for a spec, is “You just asked me to buy you red footwear.”  

They are obviously puzzled by my statement, until I follow up with: “Are you going to a beach, a festival, on a hike etc., and when are you going?”

If you don’t give me a complete spec, you risk wearing red flip flops on a hike...

Asbestos compliance checklist

When working through the process, we establish where our client’s starting point is, by sending them a very basic compliance checklist. When I say basic, I mean a single page Excel sheet. If they put ‘No’ in any of the boxes, this identifies where the gaps are and where the starting point is.

Sometimes clients have had surveys carried out but not transferred that data to a live Asbestos Management Plan.  In some instances, it’s possible to retrospectively put a plan together, by collating all the information about the site from the date of the survey to the current date.

Sadly, usually for more complex or multiple sites, this has challenges. Once the responsible person establishes that they do not feel comfortable relying on the historic data they have, it can be a safer and more cost effective option to have a new survey carried out, rather than spend months trying to collate data that may still miss something.

The risk is that your shiny new asbestos management plan doesn’t list all the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on site and you are responsible for putting your name to and managing an incomplete plan.

Keep feeding your live asbestos management plan

In a perfect world (I know, but it’s worth a try) you would constantly feed your live asbestos management plan.

The asbestos management survey will identify if there are any ACMs on site. This forms the basis of your live management plan. When adding the information to your plan, you will notice if there are any un-accessed areas that require more planning and a return visit for further investigation.

Should you have any subsequent surveys carried out, i.e. pre-refurb surveys, the findings from this are added to your live management plan.

If damage is noted and a sample is taken of a suspect material, this is also added to your live management plan.

You know it makes sense (Rodney) as this way, you are only managing one live document, rather than trying to remember where you read what.

Done properly, it also helps you decide how to manage any potential risk and detail any action that has been taken.

Should any work be required, you can add links to where you can find the evidence of how the work was carried out and how the waste was disposed of etc. It also helps you plan the work, so that any economies of scale can be utilised, or enable simple removal of an ACM located in the same enclosure when another ACM is removed.

Need some advice?

If you’re thinking you may need some help and guidance, don't hesitate to get in touch via our Enquiry form or call us on 01634 232221 and let us help you keep everyone safe.