Asbestos became an illegal substance in 1999, which came as a shock to many homeowners and owners of commercial buildings, as the mineral was widely used prior to this. As a result, anyone living or working in a building constructed prior to 2000 may find that they’re exposed to this harmful substance. In 2012, legislation was updated and any owner of a building that had tenants was made responsible for their health. Thus, if you own a building, you are obliged to conduct the necessary surveys to find out if there is any asbestos present, and what its condition is.
Engaging with a company for an asbestos survey
The first step you will need to take is to locate a licensed and experienced company that will be able to do a full asbestos survey. If you’re a homeowner and simply want peace of mind, you might have a survey that checks open areas, but doesn’t become intrusive by breaking open any walls or cavities in your home. This way, you’ll be able to learn if asbestos is present, and what condition it’s in. It might well be that, if there is asbestos, it is stable and doesn’t pose a health risk. You might then decide to leave it in situ for the time being. The presence of asbestos and its location in your home will be noted in an asbestos register, and you’d be required to monitor its condition in case this changed.
If you own a commercial building, you might be required to conduct a more intrusive survey, as the health of many would depend upon a safe working environment. Also, if you’re a homeowner who wants to conduct renovations or to demolish part or all of a property, a full intrusive survey needs to be carried out. Prior to demolition, any located asbestos needs to be professionally removed. A licensed firm that undertakes this should file the required documents with the local authorities, and this would include a full removal plan.
Should you discover asbestos in a building but decide to do nothing about it, you will be breaking the law. Asbestos legislation in Leeds would hold you responsible if you knew of the presence of asbestos in a building but didn’t attend to it. Likewise, only licensed contractors are allowed to remove asbestos and to dispose of it in a legally permissible way. There recently was a case of a trader in Leeds who was given a jail sentence for accepting to remove asbestos without a license. He placed his untrained workers in harm’s way, as well as putting the occupants of the home at risk. Authorities are particularly strict in these matters, so it is imperative to do your homework and make certain that you’re complying with all legislation.
There is binding asbestos legislation in Leeds and throughout the UK. In order to be compliant, contact ACS Health, Safety & Environment for advice from their licensed and experienced contractors.