If you own a residential property that contains communal areas then you will need to comply with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2006. This will include for example, hallways, lift shafts, stairs and roof spaces.
The responsibility belongs to the “Duty Holder”. This is anyone who has the responsibility for maintaining and repairing all or any part of the property or who has control of the building. A Landlord and /or managing agent has a responsibility to pass on relevant information to tenants. Leaseholders have a duty to allow access for inspection of the premises.
As the Duty Holder you will need to undertake the following steps:- • Investigate whether the property contains asbestos or asbestos containing materials • Check the condition of the material • Carry out a risk assessment of the relevant areas • Prepare and keep an up to date written plan explaining the management of the risk and make sure that this is available for appropriate people to view
If you have the responsibility to deal with this, then firstly consider what you already know about the building, such as its age, plans or information about previous alterations. Think about contacting the people who may have already carried out work on the premises, such as surveyors or builders.
You will need to inspect the building, which may require an expert to carryout a survey if you suspect that the building contains asbestos. Once the inspection has taken place and if the building contains asbestos, then you will need to record the results of this inspection and assess the risk of any asbestos fibres being released into the air.
Then prepare a management plan. This should include a clear plan of where the asbestos can be found. It may be that you need to identify which areas need asbestos to be sealed or if absolutely necessary removed. If an area does contain asbestos it can be sealed by an expert in that field and marked with a warning sign. The aim of the management plan is to ensure that if someone is coming to work on the building they can easily recognise where the asbestos is located and so prevent accidental exposure.
Regularly inspect the condition of any area to make sure the material has not deteriorated and keep a record of this in the management plan.
It is important to make sure that anyone who is responsible for carrying out the maintenance of a building is kept informed of any asbestos in the building and the plan for managing this. They must also be made aware of the risk to health and be told that they must not disturb the asbestos.
If any asbestos containing materials are to be removed then a licensed contractor must be employed to do so.