1. Overview

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This guidance is for the person who has a legal duty to manage asbestos in a building – the ‘dutyholder’. This could be the:

  • building owner
  • landlord for the premises
  • person or organisation with clear responsibility for the building's maintenance or repair

The dutyholder must protect people from the risks of exposure to asbestos. This includes people who:

  • work in their buildings
  • use them in other ways

You should assess your own competence. To do this, you may need to get some suitable training for duty to manage or additional support from industry specialists.

We have a video on the duty to manage asbestos. It takes you through the steps you must take to comply with the law and protect people.

What the duty to manage asbestos in buildings is

The duty to manage asbestos in buildings covers:

  • all non-domestic premises, like factories or shops
  • ‘common parts’ of multi-occupancy domestic premises, like purpose-built flats

The duty to manage asbestos is part of the Control of Asbestos Regulations. It requires the person who has the duty (the ‘dutyholder’) to:

  • assess if there are asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) present, the amount, where they are and their condition
  • presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  • make, and keep up to date, a record or register of the location and condition of the ACMs or presumed ACMs
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to airborne fibres from the ACMs
  • write an asbestos management plan to manage the risk, put the plan into action, monitor it and review it every 12 months or sooner if necessary
  • monitor the condition of any ACMs or suspected ACMs
  • provide information on the location and condition of the ACMs to anyone who may work on or disturb them, including the emergency services

The Approved Code of Practice: Managing and working with asbestos has more information to help you comply with the duty to manage asbestos.

You can use these webpages to check that you are taking the right steps and there are also examples of how asbestos risks can be managed.

Training for duty to manage

To make sure that ACMs within your premises are properly managed, you must identify the person within your organisation who will be responsible for that management.

The responsible or appointed person should be competent to do this work. This means they should have the resources, skills, training and authority to ensure the ACMs are managed effectively.

The right person for this role will vary:

  • for small companies, it is likely to be the owner
  • for larger organisations, where the role will be more involved, the safety, health and environment manager may be the appropriate person
  • for others it may be the maintenance or estates manager, or the building or facility manager

As a dutyholder, you must provide additional training for those in control of parts of the asbestos management plan.

You should also be aware of your responsibilities under the duty to manage asbestos – attending appropriate training will help you.

There is advice on finding a training organisation in our guidance on asbestos information, instruction and training.

Introduction to asbestos safety

Our introduction to asbestos safety provides basic guidance to help protect yourself and others from the risks due to asbestos exposure.

It points employers, workers and others to the right guidance to comply with the law, depending on their job role and includes:

  • why asbestos is dangerous and where it can be found
  • carrying out an asbestos risk assessment
  • relevant legislation

Video on the duty to manage asbestos

The following video sets out the basic steps you should take to manage any asbestos in your building and protect people from the risks of exposure.

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Updated:2021-03-01