Frequently Asked Questions

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Your Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos, Answered!

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of 6 naturally occurring sillicate minerals present in rock in the form of fibres. These rocks are mined and processed to extract the asbestos fibres. Asbestos has high resistance to heat and chemicals as well as other good properties such as its fibre strength. These properties made asbestos very popular for industries such as construction, manufacturing and chemical industries. In the year of 1973 asbestos imports to the UK peaked at around 195,000 tons of raw asbestos fibres. It is believed that around 6 million tons of raw asbestos fibres have been imported into the UK since the 1800`s.

What are the types of Asbestos Surveys?

An asbestos survey can come in several forms, the correct type is dependent on each individual situation. Below is a list of each asbestos survey and when you would need it. Properties built after the year 2000 do not require an asbestos survey.

• Asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey – This is required before any demolition works or refurbishment works (adding extensions, removing walls, re-wire ect). This type of survey requires intrusions to establish if there is any materials hidden from view (behind partition walls, under floor coverings, above ceilings ect)

• Asbestos management survey – This type of survey covers general occupancy and maintenance of a building / site. As such no major intrusions will be undertaken to keep the integrity and aesthetics of the areas being surveyed, visual checks only to take place. (checking anywhere without damage, above ceiling tiles, surface checks of materials ect)

• Asbestos reinspection survey – This survey is undertaken with the information collected from the R&D / management. This survey will highlight the asbestos containing items found from the previous reports, these items will then be reinspected by the surveyor periodically (depending on assessment) to check the materials have not changed in any way that could cause the spread of asbestos.

Do I need an asbestos survey before buying a house?
There is no legal obligation to undertake an asbestos survey before buying a property. Although it is strongly advised to get a property surveyed to ascertain if any materials are present so you are aware of this and any possible extra costs for removal works before proceeding with the sale. Buildings built after the year 2000 do not require an asbestos survey.
How much do asbestos surveys cost?
Costs for surveys can vary widely depending on type of survey, size and type of building etc.

Every quotation we produce has been costed specific to the building / site in question.

What is a lead survey?
A lead survey determines the parts per million of lead within lead based coatings. Based on the results an assessment can be made on how to move forward with any high level lead containing coatings and what precautions would be needed. This will all be detailed within your lead survey report.
What is an asbestos survey?
An asbestos survey is a document which provides information regarding asbestos containing materials (ACM`s) to a specific place or item. This place could be, but not limited to, a single item (machinery ect), rooms or sections of buildings, entire buildings or even a collection of buildings forming a full site. The information within the report can help you comply with duties to manage asbestos and ensure anyone within the surveyed areas will be free from exposure to asbestos fibres.
Why do I need an asbestos survey?

Asbestos surveys within commercial properties are a legal requirement under the control of asbestos regulations 2012. A duty holder should be appointed (this could be the building owner or designated person) and that person has a duty to prevent the spread of asbestos by managing any asbestos containing materials (with surveys, reinspection of materials, training ect).

Asbestos surveys within domestic properties are not a legal requirement, however multiple occupancy buildings of residential nature (flats, bed sits, flats above commercial properties ect) have a duty to manage asbestos within communal areas (corridors, stairwells, bin stores ect)

Fulfilling legal obligations is only one reason to obtain an asbestos survey. Knowing that you are living or working in a safe environment and you are aware of potential dangers can give peace of mind to yourself and anyone effected by potential ACM`s.

Buildings built after the year 2000 do not require an asbestos survey. Although no building is required, it is known that asbestos contamination has occurred in buildings in the early 2000s

Do I need an asbestos survey before refurbishment?
If you are undertaking refurbishment within a commercial property there is a legal requirement to undertake an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey. If you are undertaking refurbishment works within a domestic property there is no legal requirement although it is good practice and strongly advised to undertake one to avoid disturbing any asbestos containing materials if the property was constructed before the year 2000.
What do I need to do once I receive my asbestos survey report?
Any asbestos containing items found within the survey will have their own specific recommendation with any actions needed for the materials and what steps are needed next this could include an asbestos management plan for the materials identified. If no asbestos containing materials are present the report should be kept for future records.
An Asbestos management plan will give you a plan to move forward with the asbestos containing items you have within your site / property and to ensure you are complying with the control of asbestos regulations 2012.
Our office team are also available to help you digest the report and assist in any queries you may have about the report.
Do I need a lead survey?
Lead surveys are predominately undertaken on refurbishments of old buildings where original features are being restored and lead based paints need to be removed. But lead based paints were used extensively throughout the UK until 1992 when a ban for the general public came into place. Pillars has extensive experience on large and small scale lead based paint surveys for clients around the Uk. These can range from full lead surveys throughout large grade 1 listed buildings to specific items of heritage within a building that are being kept as features etc
How do you undertake an asbestos survey?
Asbestos surveys comprise of different phases:

• Desk top study – Prior to attending the site / property. This will give the surveyor an understanding of the site / property, information will be collated such as old reports, building layouts ect.

• On site inspection – This is the stage where the surveyor will attend site and visually inspect for any asbestos containing materials, take samples of suspect materials and collect anymore information needed for the report such as missing layouts, areas of no access ect.

• Writing the report – Once the samples have been analyzed the findings can be collated into the report with all other relevant information needed to complete it.

Do I need an asbestos survey before selling my house?
There is no legal obligation to undertake an asbestos survey before selling a domestic property.

Is it law to have an asbestos survey in a commercial building / workplace?

Under the control of asbestos regulations 2012 the duty holder is legally bound to protect anyone who works on the premises or anyone who uses it in any other way from the exposure to asbestos. Part of fulfilling this obligation is undertaking the relevant asbestos survey.
Can Pillars help me fulfill my legal obligations regarding managing asbestos?
Pillars can assist you with what you need to fulfill your legal obligations from a survey, to a reinspection, to managing any asbestos removal projects or air monitoring you may require.
What asbestos training do Pillars provide?

Pillars offer a comprehensive list of different courses to suit different needs, a list can be found below:

• Licensed asbestos new removal operative (3 day)

• Licensed asbestos refresher (1 day)

• Licensed asbestos new contracts manager (3 days)

• Licensed asbestos contracts manager refresher (1 day)

• None licensed asbestos removal operative (1 day)

• Asbestos awareness training (1 day)

• Introduction to asbestos removal for construction management (1 day)


Our process will usually begin with either a refurbishment/demolition or management asbestos survey. Both surveys are HSG264-compliant…


An Asbestos Management Plan shapes your commitment to asbestos obligations, detailing how you ensure that nobody will be exposed to asbestos…


Asbestos removal and abatement projects are often comprehensive and costly. To help keep these projects under control, we can co-ordinate activity…