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What do I need to do?

Everyone must start to take action now - even if all you have to do is to co-operate with the duty holder.

If you are the duty holder you must:

  • Find out whether your building contains asbestos, and what condition it is in.
  • Assess the risk, e.g. if it is likely to release fibres.
  • Make a plan to manage the risk.

Where do I start?

Do a desktop study to check out what you already know about your buildings, e.g. look at plans and other documents.

Contact anyone else who may already have useful information about the building, e.g. a surveyor, architect or contractor who knows the building.

Carry out an inspection of the building. You can do this in house, especially if you simply assume materials contain asbestos. Or use an independent expert if samples have to be analysed.

Record the results of the inspection, identifying the parts of the building where asbestos may be located.

Assess the risk of asbestos fibres being released into the air from the materials in those areas. Take into account the materials' condition and how likely they are to be damaged or disturbed.

Draw up a management plan. State which areas, if any, need asbestos to be sealed, encapsulated or, at last resort, removed. The key part of the plan is to warn people coming to work on the building, to prevent accidental exposure.

Build in regular checks to make sure the condition of materials has not deteriorated. Concentrate on areas of high risk, where materials are more likely to get damaged.

Keep the management plan up to date to show any changes that could affect the risk.

Remember, the new legal duty is about managing any asbestos in a building, not about removing all the asbestos! Removal may be unnecessary and costly.

What shouldn't I do?

Don't panic - asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed. If it is safely managed and contained it doesn't present a health hazard.

Don't remove asbestos unnecessarily. Removing it can be more dangerous than simply containing it.

Don't treat all asbestos materials the same. You only need to use a licensed contractor to work on high risk materials, such as pipe insulation or asbestos insulating panels - not on asbestos cement which is much less dangerous.

Don't assume you need to bring in a specialist in every case. The regulation allows you to inspect your own building and assume materials contain asbestos.

Don't forget the regulation is about protecting maintenance workers and others from asbestos fibres, so concentrate on practical steps to achieve this.


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