Asbestos Survey Guide – Hsg264

The new asbestos survey guide, HSG 264, which replaces the existing guide for the surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos containing materials in commercial and domestic properties (MDHS 100) has been released.

The key areas to be aware of are summarised below:

It is the duty holder’s responsibility to ensure that they appoint a competent organisation or person to undertake the asbestos survey. In practice, this means requesting references with respect to previous survey portfolios undertaken and ensuring that the organisation or surveyor appointed is accredited or certified by a third party. Organisations can demonstrate that they are technically competent to undertake surveys for asbestos containing materials (ACMs) through accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020. Individual surveyors can also demonstrate that they are technically competent to undertake specified surveys through holding ‘personnel’ certification from a Certification Body accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) for this activity under ISO/IEC 17024. The Duty Holder should not appoint or instruct an independent surveyor to carry out a survey unless the surveyor is competent.

Types of Survey
In the new Survey Guide, there will be two classifications of asbestos survey, not three as there are currently.

Management Survey which replaces the current Type 1 and Type 2 Surveys
This is the standard survey that should be carried out for the continued management of asbestos in premises. The purpose of the survey is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building and assess their condition. Sampling is the most common approach that has been used for surveys. However, a management survey can also involve presuming the presence or absence of asbestos. A management survey can be completed, using a combination of sampling ACMs and presuming ACMs or, indeed, just presuming. Any materials presumed to contain asbestos must also have their condition assessed (i.e. material assessment). Management surveys may involve minor intrusive work and some disturbance.The extent of intrusion will vary between premises and depend on what is reasonably practicable for individual properties. Factors include it the type of building, the nature of construction,accessibility etc.

Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys which replace the current Type 3 surveys
These surveys will be used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. The survey will involve destructive inspection as necessary, to gain access to all locations, including those that may be difficult to reach. Refurbishment work may vary from relatively small to large projects. Small scale work may occur in different parts of a building at different times over several years. A full sampling programme is undertaken in these areas to identify possible ACMs and to obtain estimates of the volume and surface area of the ACMs present. The survey is primarily designed to identify ACMs so that they can be removed in preparation for the refurbishment or demolition.

Survey Restrictions and Caveats
The value and usefulness of the survey can be seriously undermined where either the client or the surveyor imposes restrictions on the survey scope or on the techniques/methods used by the surveyor. Information on the location of all ACMs, as far as reasonably practicable, is crucial to the risk assessment and development of the management plan. Any restrictions placed on the survey scope will reduce the extent to which ACMs are located and identified, incur delays and consequently make managing asbestos more complex, expensive and potentially less effective. Survey restrictions and caveats can significantly undermine the management of asbestos in buildings. They should be included only where absolutely necessary, and should be fully justified. Most can be avoided by proper planning and discussion. They MUST be agreed between the Duty Holder and the Surveyor and documented in the survey report.

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