If you require an asbestos survey for management or refurbishment and demolition purposes then it is important to ensure that you at appoint a company or surveyor that is competent to undertake the work required.
Asbestos Surveyor Competence
To be competent the surveyor should have sufficient training, qualifications, knowledge and experience and be able to demonstrate independence, impartiality and integrity. The surveying company should also have an adequate quality management system and carry out the survey in accordance with recommended guidance (HSG264).
From a qualification point of view and in accordance with the industry accreditation body (UKAS) to be competent an individual should hold the P402 qualification (or equivalent) and have a minimum of 6 months relevant experience. From a practical point of view and from first hand experience it is extremely unlikely that such an individual would have experience of all building types and in my view should only be undertaking the very basic of asbestos surveys.
Many duty holders believe that by employing a UKAS accredited company that they are getting the very best. Whilst this may be true in some instances and a thorough quality management system will help, at the end of the day the quality of any survey comes down to the quality of the surveyor undertaking the asbestos survey. Unfortunately, as with a lot of skilled trades there is often a shortage of skilled surveyors with the relevant experience so companies may use individuals with only basic qualifications and experience.
When the potential risks of missing asbestos are so high it is critical that when appointing a surveyor that not only is there is requirement to check on the competence of the company but more importantly you check on the experience of the specific surveyor who is going to undertake the asbestos survey (by checking their CV). As a very general rule of thumb for management surveys of non-domestic premises I would expect two years plus experience with more experience required as the complexity of the survey increases. I would expect three years plus experience for a surveyor undertaking a refurbishment and demolition survey.
At Hatch Consultancy all asbestos surveys are undertaken by Chris Pearce who holds the CCP qualification in asbestos (the highest asbestos qualification available) and has over 20 years of experience in undertaking and managing asbestos surveys.