FAQs

Frequently asked asbestos questions

How can I tell if a building contains asbestos?

A professional asbestos survey is the only way to confirm the presence of asbestos in a building. A visual inspection and sample collection is typically conducted to identify asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

Is it necessary to vacate the building during an asbestos survey?

It is not necessary to vacate the building during an asbestos survey, as long as the survey is conducted by a professional who follows proper safety protocols. The surveyor will take steps to minimise the disruption of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) and prevent the release of fibres into the air.

Can I conduct an asbestos survey myself or do I need to hire a professional?

It is not recommended to conduct an asbestos survey yourself as it requires specialised knowledge and training to safely identify and handle asbestos-containing materials. It is best to hire a qualified asbestos surveyor who is trained and certified to conduct the survey.

Can asbestos cause immediate health problems?

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. However, these health problems can take years or even decades to develop after exposure.

Is it possible to determine the age of asbestos-containing materials?

It is not always possible to determine the age of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) by visual inspection alone. The age of the ACMs can be determined by taking samples and analysing them in a specialist laboratory.

What is an asbestos survey and why is it important?

An asbestos survey is an inspection of a building or property to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). It is important because asbestos can cause serious health problems if it is disturbed and the fibres become airborne.

What should I do if asbestos is found in my building?

If asbestos is found in your building, it’s important to follow the recommendations provided in the asbestos survey report. This may include managing the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to minimise the risk of exposure, such as encapsulation or appointing an asbestos abatement contractor to remove the asbestos. It is also important to inform all building occupants and employees about the presence of asbestos and the steps being taken to manage it.

Can asbestos be painted over or covered up?

Asbestos should never be painted over or covered up, as this can cause the fibers to become airborne and pose a risk of exposure. Asbestos-containing materials should be removed or encapsulated by a professional.

What happens if asbestos is found during a survey?

If asbestos is found during a survey, the asbestos surveyor will provide a report detailing the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). The report will also include recommendations for managing the ACMs to minimise the risk of exposure.

How can I ensure the safety of my employees during an asbestos survey?

To ensure the safety of your employees during an asbestos survey, you should hire a company that follows proper safety protocols, such as proper personal protective equipment and air monitoring. The company appointed should also provide training and information to employees regarding the potential risks of asbestos exposure.

Can asbestos be present in all types of buildings?

Asbestos was widely used in building materials prior to the 1980s, so it can be present in many types of buildings, including commercial buildings, homes, schools, hospitals, and industrial facilities.

Is it mandatory to conduct asbestos survey before buying a property?

It is not compulsory to conduct an asbestos survey before buying a property, but it is highly recommended. Asbestos can be present in many building materials and can pose a significant health risk if it is disturbed.

Conducting an asbestos survey before purchasing a property can help identify any potential hazards and give the buyer peace of mind.

What does an asbestos survey involve?

An asbestos survey typically involves a visual inspection of a building’s accessible areas and a sample collection of materials that are suspected of containing asbestos. The samples are then analysed in a laboratory to check for the presence of asbestos.

What happens if asbestos is found during a home inspection?

If asbestos is found during a home inspection, the inspector will typically provide a report detailing the location and condition of the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). The report will also include recommendations for managing the ACMs to minimise the risk of exposure.

Are there different types of asbestos surveys?

Yes, there are different types of asbestos surveys, including management surveys, refurbishment and demolition surveys, and re-inspection surveys.

Each type of survey is designed to address specific needs and requirements. Management surveys are for regular monitoring and management, Refurbishment and demolition surveys are for buildings that are going to be refurbished or demolished and re-inspection surveys are to check if the asbestos is still in good condition or not.

What are the legal requirements for asbestos surveys?

Legal requirements for asbestos surveys vary by country and region, but generally, it is the responsibility of the building owner or manager to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in their building. It’s important to check with local authorities for specific regulations and guidelines.

How long does it take to receive the results of an asbestos survey?

The amount of time it takes to receive the results of an asbestos survey can vary, but it typically takes about a week for the research laboratory to analyse the samples and provide a detailed report. The length of time may vary depending on the size of the building and the type of survey being conducted.

Can asbestos be detected by smell or taste?

Asbestos fibres are not visible to the naked eye and cannot be detected by smell or taste. A professional asbestos survey is required to confirm the presence of asbestos. You should NEVER touch or ingest anything you suspect to be asbestos.

Is it safe to live in a building that contains asbestos?

As long as the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are in good condition and not disturbed, it is generally safe to live in a building that contains asbestos. However, if the ACMs are damaged or exposed, it may be necessary to remove or encapsulate them to minimise the risk of exposure.

Can asbestos be safely removed from a building?

Asbestos can be safely removed from a building by a local asbestos abatement contractor, who is trained and certified to handle asbestos-containing materials. The process involves sealing off the area, removing the asbestos and safely disposing of it.

How often should an asbestos survey be conducted?

The frequency of asbestos surveys depends on the type of building and the likelihood of asbestos disturbance. For example, a commercial building that is undergoing renovations would require a more frequent survey than a residential building that is not undergoing any changes.

How long does an asbestos survey take to complete?

The time it takes to complete an asbestos survey can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building.

A small residential property may only take a few hours, while a large commercial building could take several days.

How can I find a reputable asbestos survey company?

To find a reputable asbestos survey company, you can check for certifications and accreditation from professional organisations, such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA). It is advised that you check for references from previous clients and check reviews.

Are asbestos surveys only required for older buildings?

Asbestos was widely used in building materials prior to the 1980s, so older buildings are more likely to contain asbestos. However, asbestos can also be found in newer buildings if materials containing asbestos were used during construction.

What types of buildings require an asbestos survey?

Asbestos surveys are typically required for commercial and industrial buildings, schools, hospitals, and multi-unit residential properties.

Will an asbestos survey identify all asbestos in a building?

An asbestos survey will identify the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that are accessible and visible during the survey. However, it is not possible to guarantee that all asbestos has been identified, especially if it is hidden behind walls or under flooring.

Is it safe to remove asbestos yourself?

It is not safe to remove asbestos yourself as it requires specialised knowledge and training to safely handle asbestos-containing materials. It is a sensible idea to hire a professional asbestos contractor who’s trained and certified to safely remove asbestos.

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