This week on LinkedIn, we got involved in a discussion around the idea of a national asbestos database - as mooted by Andrew Paten of UKNAR.
Andrew was highlighting a campaign by the Sunday Times, 'Act Now on Asbestos' which is calling for a phased removal of asbestos, starting with schools and hospitals.
"The reality is that our hospitals, schools and many thousands of other aged public buildings, which are not in great condition, contain asbestos that needs to be managed very well indeed until it can be safely removed."
In this blog, Asbestos Limited's MD, Debbie Hales offers her own insight and believes that knowledge is key; understanding the risks so we can properly manage them is the first step.
We need to keep banging the drum to make sure we raise as much awareness as possible regarding how to safely manage asbestos risk.
If every contractor, conveyancer, estate agent et al asked during the first contact with a property owner/occupier, “Was your property built before 2000?” it would really help raise asbestos awareness.
Is your property pre-2000?
They would all really benefit from knowing the answer - if it is pre-2000, they should immediately be asking for a copy of the live asbestos management plan to be sent with the job spec.
Whilst the enquiry is progressing, they are fully aware of any asbestos related requirements and can plan the work accordingly, rather than a week before work starts and everything becomes fraught.
An even better scenario - the person planning the work being aware, or becoming aware from contractors requests, right at the beginning. This way, an asbestos survey can be carried out and if asbestos containing materials (ACM's) are identified, an asbestos management plan can be created and followed, to ensure that any work required is planned as safely and cost effectively as possible.
The contractor, who will of course have the legally required asbestos awareness training, can have the site specific live asbestos management plan to confirm that is it safe to carry out the planned work, with the knowledge that the asbestos has been removed, or be aware of its location (if it is not going to be disturbed during the work).
Don't get caught out
At Asbestos Limited, we are getting more calls than ever for asbestos surveys on domestic properties, as mortgage companies seek to minimise their risk. If the estate agent/conveyancer asked this simple question, we wouldn’t have people calling in tears as they explain they are due to exchange contracts the next week.
A simple survey is all it takes
We need to do all we can to make sure that everyone stays as safe as they can, by appropriately managing their asbestos risk. As always, presume worst case scenario, until proved otherwise! A simple survey is proof!