Asbestos Surveying Part 3: Doing The Survey

Congratulations for persevering this far. Having previously discussed the planning stage of a survey in Asbestos Surveying Part 2: Preparing and Planning now it’s time to ‘actually do the survey’.


Three Golden Rules To A Good Survey



To ensure asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) are not missed, and that all areas of the premise within the scope of works are inspected, ALL surveys should be carried out:
  1. Methodically
  2. Systematically
  3. Diligently


Following these 3 golden rules when approaching a survey will help massively improve the quality of it, and hopefully ensure all key information needed is captured and presented within the survey report.


Building plans (where available) should be used to prepare the survey strategy, and also for checking the progress through premise to make sure building features (voids, risers, undercrofts etc) are included.


Surveyors should be inquisitive and use initiative to ensure everything needed has been checked and inspected. NEVER simply presume every item is the same just because it looks similar. If in doubt, where practical, appropriate, and safe to do so, always take a sample. Whilst taking samples you must also remember to take photos – close up of the material sampled; and one from a distance to appreciate the sample location in the wider context.


Allow Enough Time For The Survey


ACM’s will likely be missed where surveyors are rushed, tired or make assumptions. Always ensure you have dedicated sufficient time to thoroughly inspect all areas needed within the required survey. It is best practice to recheck areas where you have time to do so and to ideally work in pairs.


What Should Be Assessed And Recorded In A Management Survey


Management surveys require that the condition of the ACM’s and their ability to release fibres are accessed. This is known as a Material Assessment. Therefore the information that should be obtained and recorded for each ACM, or presumed or suspect ACM is as follows:


  • Asbestos product type(s)
  • Location of the material(s)
  • Extent (or quantity) of the material(s)
  • Asbestos type(s)
  • Accessibility and/or vulnerability of the material(s)
  • Amount of damage or deterioration
  • Surface treatment (if any)


What Should Be Assessed And Recorded In A Refurbishment And Demolition Survey



Refurbishment and demolition surveys usually require less information as details of the ACM’s condition are not required. The following should be obtained and recorded:


  • Asbestos product type(s)
  • Location of the material(s)
  • Extent (or quantity) of the material(s)
  • Asbestos type(s)


However there is an exception. Where the refurbishment or demolition works will not take place for a significant period of time (3 months or more) then the information required for a management survey should be obtained – as you will still need to manage any identified asbestos during the interim period until it has been removed.


At some point in the near future we will visit the topic of sampling, material assessments, and materials to look out for when surveying in greater depth. For now, in summary, when thinking of doing an asbestos survey simply:
  1. Follow the 3 golden rules
  2. Make sure to allow sufficient time & take adequate photos of samples
  3. Assess and record the necessary information for the type of survey being carried out

If you believe your commercial or private property may have asbestos, you have a responsibility to manage it. ESSS, a UKAS and ISO accredited asbestos consultancy, is equipped to determine the extent of your asbestos situation and develop a plan for the management and/or removal of it. Contact us today at 01268 755 464 or by visiting


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