An asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey is a legal obligation when a building (or part of it) is to be upgraded, refurbished or demolished and before any works that are intrusive, disturbing the fabric of any building. This applies to all domestic and commercial premises built before 2000.
A refurbishment and demolition survey is required before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out and may also be necessary in other circumstances, e.g. when more intrusive maintenance and repair work will be carried out or for plant removal or dismantling.
This type of survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. It is a disruptive and fully intrusive survey which may need to penetrate all parts of the building structure.
Aggressive inspection techniques will be undertaken to lift carpets and tiles, break through walls, ceilings, cladding and partitions, and open up floors. In these situations, controls should be put in place to prevent the spread of debris, which may include asbestos.
A refurbishment and demolition survey should only be conducted in unoccupied areas to minimise risks to the occupiers, public or employees on the premises. Ideally, the building should not be in service and all furnishings removed. For minor refurbishment, this would only apply to the room involved or even part of the room where the work is small and the room large. In these situations, there should effective isolation of the survey area (e.g. full floor to ceiling partition), and furnishings should be removed as far as possible or protected using sheeting. The ‘surveyed’ area must be shown to be fit for reoccupation before people move back in. This will require a thorough visual inspection and, if appropriate (e.g. where there has been significant destruction), reassurance air sampling with disturbance. Under no circumstances should staff remain in rooms or areas of buildings when intrusive sampling is performed.