Asbestos is now prohibited for use in building materials and it has been banned since 1999; however, there are many properties still standing which were built using asbestos materials and need to be repaired or refurbished. This means that the threat of asbestos poisoning is still among us even if the use of this hazardous product has been banned for nearly two decades. It is possible for this deadly substance to be found in brownfield sites or even in modern buildings that contain old equipment.
Since asbestos is known for causing serious issues and even fatal conditions such as mesothelioma cancer, testing for asbestos inside a commercial building and managing the presence of it is extremely important.
Who Is Responsible for Testing for Asbestos?
As a business owner, you may wonder when asbestos testing is required. Any time that you have concerns about the presence of asbestos on your property, you should have it tested. By law, you may even be responsible for the identification and the removal of asbestos because of the “duty to manage asbestos” that is included in the Control of Asbestos Regulations put into place in 2012.
The regulations state that you are responsible for managing asbestos within your building if:
- You are the owner of the building.
- You are the person responsible through a contract or a rental agreement.
- You are the owner of a multi-occupancy building and have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the building.
When Should You Test for Asbestos?
There are a few factors that you should consider when it comes to determining when you should test for asbestos in your building.
Was your building renovated after 2000? If so, then there is very little chance of asbestos being present since it was banned from use in 1999. If the building was not remodelled after 2000, you have a bigger chance of finding asbestos on site.
Do you already have proof that asbestos has been found in the building? Be sure to review all builder’s invoices and documents from the architects to gather more information. These resources will indicate whether asbestos has already been removed from the building.
Could there be any possible asbestos-contaminated materials, also known as ACMs, around the building? If so, do not touch them or disturb them in any way. Keep in mind that materials such as glass, floorboards, bricks, stone, and solid wooden doors cannot contain asbestos.
By answering these questions, you can get a better understanding of whether you need to test for asbestos now. If you feel that you need to have your building checked out, be sure to contact a qualified asbestos surveyor who has several years of experience in the industry. He or she will be able to determine if your building is safe to use or if you need to have asbestos-related products removed from the area. Be sure to only hire a qualified specialist in the field of asbestos inspection to ensure that your commercial building will be safe for your employees to work in from that moment forward.