Does your Commercial Business Need an Asbestos Survey?

James Carter
Authored by James Carter
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - 23:50

Asbestos was once an extremely popular material, known for its heat resistance and durability, is now recognised as a serious health hazard. It was widely used in construction for decades until its harmful effects on human health were discovered. Consequently, regulations and guidelines have been established to manage its presence in buildings, making asbestos surveys a crucial consideration for commercial businesses. But does your commercial establishment really need one? Let's delve into this question.

Understanding Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that were extensively used in various industries, particularly in construction, due to their desirable properties. However, when disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres can become airborne, posing significant health risks when inhaled. Exposure to asbestos is linked to serious respiratory diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Regulations and Compliance

In the United Kingdom, businesses are subject to regulations governing the management of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) outlines the legal requirements for managing asbestos in non-domestic premises, including commercial buildings, workplaces, and public facilities for buildings built before 2000.

CAR2012 only applies to domestic properties if they are used as an HMO or for communal areas such as blocks of flats with shared stairwells, store's, loft's and external areas.

Under CAR 2012, the duty holder, typically the building owner or the person responsible for maintenance and repair, is legally obligated to manage asbestos risks within their premises. This includes conducting asbestos surveys as part of a comprehensive asbestos management plan.

Non-compliance with CAR 2012 can result in severe consequences, including enforcement actions, prohibition notices, fines, and even criminal prosecution. Therefore, it is imperative for UK businesses to adhere to their legal obligations regarding asbestos management and undertake asbestos surveys as necessary to ensure compliance and protect the health and safety of their workforce and visitors.

Identifying the Need for an Asbestos Survey

Determining whether your commercial business needs an asbestos survey involves several considerations:

  • Age of the Building: Buildings constructed before the 1980s are more likely to contain asbestos-containing materials. However, all buildings built before 2000 could contain these, so therefore should have an asbestos survey carried out.
  • Renovations or Demolitions: Any renovation or demolition activities can disturb ACMs, potentially releasing asbestos fibers into the air. Before undertaking such projects, it's essential to identify and manage asbestos risks through a thorough survey.
  • Occupational Health and Safety: Businesses have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for employees and visitors. An asbestos survey helps identify potential hazards and allows for the implementation of appropriate control measures to mitigate risks.
  • Lease or Sale Requirements: Property transactions often require asbestos assessments as part of due diligence. Prospective buyers or tenants may request an asbestos survey report to ensure they are aware of any asbestos-related risks associated with the property.

Benefits of an Asbestos Survey

Investing in an asbestos survey offers several benefits for commercial businesses:

  • Compliance Assurance: Ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, minimizing the risk of penalties and legal consequences.
  • Risk Management: Identifies asbestos-containing materials and assesses the associated risks, allowing for informed decision-making and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Occupant Safety: Protects the health and safety of building occupants by minimizing exposure to asbestos fibres.
  • Cost Savings: Early identification of ACMs enables proactive management, potentially reducing the costs associated with remediation and potential legal liabilities.


In conclusion, all commercial buildings built before 2000 need to have an asbestos survey carried out. While it may seem like an additional expense, the benefits of an asbestos survey far outweigh the costs, particularly in terms of legal compliance, risk management, and occupant safety. By proactively addressing asbestos risks, commercial businesses can safeguard their employees, visitors, and reputation while ensuring regulatory compliance in a responsible and ethical manner.

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