Who can test for asbestos in your property?

Posted: 17th Jan 20 10:00 AM

Do you think there are asbestos-containing materials in your home, commercial property or building site? In this guest post, Alpha Surveys explain who can test for asbestos safely.

Asbestos may have been completely banned in the UK for two decades, but it is still having an effect on those who have come into contact with it.

A popular building material in the 1980s in particular, asbestos containing materials can still be found everywhere, from schools and hospitals to residential properties and commercial spaces.

If your building was constructed from the year 2000 onwards, it should be clear of asbestos. But for structures built before this date, the chances are that asbestos containing material (ACM) may be present.

The risks of asbestos

Asbestos is no laughing matter. Contact with it can lead to serious health problems long-term, including:

  • Pleural plaques
  • Asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer

If you suspect asbestos containing materials are present in any capacity, it is important to ensure it is professionally tested and, if necessary, removed.

Testing for asbestos

Due to the potentially dangerous nature of asbestos, testing should only be carried out by an accredited asbestos specialist.

In many cases, asbestos in buildings is completely safe, and only poses a threat if disturbed. Regardless of this, testing for asbestos if you suspect it is present is both good practice and, in some cases, a legal requirement.

Who needs to test asbestos-containing materials?

  • Domestic property
  • At present, there’s no statutory requirement to have an asbestos survey or remove the harmful substance from domestic buildings. However, if you’re concerned about asbestos containing materials in your home or simply want peace of mind that you and your loved ones are safe in your home, you can have a complete survey.

    Although not required, getting the all-clear for asbestos in your home is useful if you’re planning to carry out building work such as construction and demolition on your home, or if you’re planning to sell up.

  • Commercial / industrial premises & landlords
  • It is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012) for all non-domestic premises to be fully aware of all asbestos-containing materials in the premises, and must hold an asbestos register and management plan.

How to test asbestos

Whether it is undisturbed or not, asbestos shouldn’t be messed with by unknowing hands. Asbestos testing is a high risk job, and requires specially trained, skilled surveyors.

All competent and accredited surveyors will:

  • Have survey knowledge, and be aware of the associated risks
  • Have recognised training and experience
  • Use a quality management system
  • Do their work in accordance with good practice guidance

If you suspect asbestos or simply want to have a test conducted, choose a certified asbestos survey provider. With people’s health on the line, ensuring you choose a fully-accredited provider is key.

If you are looking for a test provider, contact a BOHS accredited asbestos surveyor who will arrange for analysis through a UKAS accredited laboratory. The surveyor will explain the results and what action is required.

Further reading

Why is asbestos dangerous?

How long does it take to develop an asbestos-related disease?

What is mesothelioma?

What do I tell my GP if I am worried about asbestos exposure?