Watts Bulletin

New asbestos guidance from HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated its asbestos guidance to place more responsibility on both asbestos surveyors and duty holders.

The new guidelines published in ‘Asbestos - The Survey Guide’ state that adequate time and resources must be made available to the surveyors to allow a thorough survey to be carried out. A new Management Survey replaces the previous Type 1 and 2 surveys and should be carried out at regular intervals to produce and maintain a working asbestos register and enable duty holders to manage it accordingly.

The extent of the management survey has increased. Surveyors are expected to carry out minor intrusive works including: false ceilings and loft spaces above 2.4 metres high; service risers and ducts; behind panels and fascias. Where not accessed, areas must be ‘presumed’ to contain asbestos and managed accordingly until this can be confirmed. The surveyor and the duty holder should discuss the risks and limitations of the works at planning stage and provide relevant equipment such as ladders, platform lifts, harnesses etc. All effort should be made to access and identify asbestos containing materials in all relevant areas.

The Refurbishment/Demolition Survey now replaces the previous Type 3 survey. This must be carried out before any refurbishment or demolition works that affect the fabric of the building. Such surveys are intrusive to the building but can be tailored to work areas only and are to be carried out in unoccupied buildings only. In extreme circumstances, a building can be decanted of occupants and furniture in a sectional programme. Where a survey is being undertaken on an educational institution, the intrusive survey should be carried out in the previous school holiday prior to the planned works. Re-occupancy cannot take place until all relevant certification has been produced.

For more details and a copy of the new guide go to www.hse.gov.uk

Watts Pocket Handbook

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.

To subscribe to Watts Pocket Handbook Online, visit wattshandbook.co.uk.