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Asbestos advice for leased properties

If your company operates from a leased property, do you know if you have a legal duty to arrange an asbestos survey? Health and safety expert Geoff Davies explains your responsibilities.

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If your company operates from a leased property, do you know if you have a legal duty to arrange an asbestos survey? Health and safety expert Geoff Davies explains your responsibilities. Firstly, you should determine when the building was constructed and/or when any significant refurbishments to the building took place. All non-domestic buildings constructed during and prior to 1999 must be surveyed to determine whether or not asbestos containing material (ACM) is present (the manufacture and import of asbestos was banned in 1999). Secondly, identify who is the asbestos 'duty holder' for the building. This is generally the person who is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the building – irrespective of whether this person is the owner, the leaseholder or landlord. This may be identified in the terms of your lease. Having established where the duty lies, the duty holder will need to arrange for a competent person to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment – an asbestos survey – of the building to determine the precise location of any suspected ACM. There are three types of asbestos survey to consider and the choice will depend on your requirements and plans. Further information is available in the Forum's Health and Safety Guide and also from www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos. About the author MD Safety Management Ltd prepare the Forum's Health and Safety Guide and provides health and safety services to small to medium-sized businesses across a wide range of industry sectors.

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