4. Identifying if asbestos is present and its condition

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Non-domestic premises

To comply with your duty to manage asbestos in your building, for example through a tenancy agreement or contract, you must:

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are asbestos-containing materials in the building, this will usually take the form of an asbestos survey by a competent surveyor
  • if asbestos is present, determine how much, where it is and what condition it’s in
  • presume that materials do contain asbestos unless you have strong evidence they do not
  • prepare a detailed asbestos management plan that sets out how the risks will be managed
  • put the plan into action and monitor
  • at least annually, review the plan including all procedures and arrangements, asbestos register and site drawings so that the plan remains relevant and up to date
  • provide information on the location and condition of asbestos-containing materials to anyone who is likely to work on or disturb them

Find out more on non-domestic premises and how the duty to manage applies.

Common parts of domestic premises

If you are the person responsible for maintaining and repairing common parts of domestic premises, the same requirements apply.

Asbestos surveys and analysis

If no information is available or it is limited and you suspect asbestos may be present, you can:

  • have the premises surveyed
  • arrange for representative samples of the material you are going to work on to be analysed

Alternatively, you can assume that any material you need to disturb does contain asbestos and take the appropriate precautions.

Before building, repair or maintenance work starts

Find out if the part of the building likely to be disturbed contains asbestos and, if so, its type and condition.

If you are an employer, you should check relevant information, such as that contained in construction plans or provided by dutyholders in asbestos surveys or registers.

If no records are available, or you are unsure about their accuracy, you may need to arrange a survey and analysis of representative samples to determine the presence, type and condition of asbestos.

Decide if it’s possible to do the building, repair or maintenance work without the risk of asbestos exposure. If that's not possible, read our introduction to asbestos essentials and do an asbestos risk assessment to identify who might be at risk and the level of possible asbestos exposure from the work.

You can then determine whether you need a licensed asbestos contractor or choose which non-licensed work methods to use and any training required for effective risk control.

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Updated:2021-03-01