Architects and Surveyors should be aware of the possibility of disturbing asbestos themselves when accessing old buildings. It is important for Architects to know what type of asbestos survey has been undertaken on a building and ensure that the inspection was suitably invasive for a refurbishment or demolition project. A ‘management survey’ is not sufficiently invasive prior to a major refurbishment but if the planned refurbishment is only in one small area of a large building then a targeted invasive inspection can be undertaken to avoid additional and unnecessary costs. In this case it is important for information on the extent and level of inspection to be clearly recorded and communicated accurately.
Building projects can be seriously hindered and even bankrupted when asbestos materials are discovered at a later date and it is therefore wise to make reservations for this possibility.
With such a wide range of asbestos materials located in many difficult to reach areas even the most invasive and comprehensive asbestos inspections can overlook some well hidden and potentially hazardous materials. Architects and general building surveyors usually have the necessary level of knowledge of buildings and a good understanding of the most common uses of asbestos materials and may feel competent to obtain samples of unknown and suspicious materials and undertake their own asbestos inspections. Whilst there are no legally required qualifications to be able to undertake asbestos surveys, most insurance policies specifically exclude working with asbestos and this should be established before hand.
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