Asbestos survey requirements for Architects and Designers

CDM requires arrangements to be in place to deal with asbestos during construction work, including refurbishment and demolition. Where construction or building work is to be carried out, the CDM client must provide designers and contractors who are bidding for the work (or who they intend to engage) with project-specific information about the presence of asbestos, so that the risks associated with design and construction work, including demolition, can be addressed. It is not acceptable to make general reference to hazards that may exist. Therefore, site-specific asbestos surveys should be carried out in advance  of construction work to make sure that the information is available to those who need it.

In practical terms this means that the designer must ensure that there is asbestos information available and almost more importantly that the information available is adequate for the planned works.  For most proposed works an asbestos management survey is not suitable and there is a requirement to carry out an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey. 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. Once the correct asbestos information has been obtained it is then imperative that this information is then supplied to the appointed contractor.

There is also a specific requirement in CAR 2012 (regulation 7) for all ACMs to be removed as far as reasonably practicable before major refurbishment or final demolition. Removing ACMs is also appropriate in other smaller refurbishment situations which involve structural or layout changes to buildings (eg removal of partitions, walls, units etc). Under CDM, the survey information should be used to help in the tendering process for removal of ACMs from the building before work starts. The survey report should be supplied by the client to designers and contractors who may be bidding for the work, so that the asbestos risks can be addressed.

Unfortunately there are numerous cases (detailed within this website) where one of the above stages is not undertaken resulting is large fines for either the client, the architect or the contractor.