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Do I need an asbestos survey before buying a house?

Posted on by Asbestos Waste Solutions Limited

Do I need an asbestos survey? This is one of the questions that most home buyers grapple with. While a survey isn’t a legal requirement for residential properties, it’s always a good idea to have a survey conducted especially if the house you’re looking to buy was built before the year 2000. This is because large amounts of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used in the construction of buildings until August 1999 when ACMs were banned in the UK. Statistics show that approximately 70% of residential properties in the UK contain the mineral in some form.

When in good condition or undisturbed, ACMs do not present a risk. When the materials are in poor condition, damaged or disturbed, the materials release fibres which when inhaled can cause serious health problems such as fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis) and mesotheliomas.


Do I need a home inspection?

Family/household members may unknowingly disturb ACMs putting their health at risk. To prevent this exposure, it is important that a home buyer knows whether there is asbestos present or not on the premises. A home survey will help you assess the risk the material presents and put in place appropriate measures to manage those risks.


Asbestos survey


Common Places Where ACMs Can Be Found in the Home

Houses may contain this mineral in roof shingles and flashing, old floor tiles, insulation (around boilers, pipes sheeting, air duct coverings, fireplaces), siding, door gaskets, textured paint, window panels, gutters, and cement panels.


The Survey

A thorough inspection of the property will usually take the form of a home survey. Conducting the correct survey will help home buyers identify and manage the risks posed by any ACMs that are present.

Home surveys can be classified into two types:

  • Management Survey
  • Refurbishment Survey

Management survey – these types of surveys are carried out to identify any ACM that could be interrupted by normal day-to-day activity, installation of pipes, new equipment, cabling or building maintenance. These inspections are fairly non-intrusive – the material will slightly be agitated to get an idea of whether the fibres can be released into the air if damaged or disturbed.

Refurbishment survey – refurbishment survey, also known as demolition survey, is conducted when the property (or part of it) is to be demolished, refurbished or upgraded. This type of survey is more intrusive and may include things like removing floor coverings and breaking walls to have access behind cladding.


Both types of surveys are carried out to determine:

  • The location of any ACMs within the property
  • The type of asbestos present
  • The condition the ACMs are in


The information obtained from the survey can be used to prepare a:

  • Risk register
  • Risk assessment
  • Management plan


Surveyor Must Be Competent

The home survey should be conducted by competent surveyors who understand the process and clearly demonstrate that they have the appropriate skills, qualifications, and experience. After the survey, the expert should provide a detailed report showing the exact findings. This information will enable the home buyer to prepare a risk register, a risk assessment, and management plan.

Here at Asbestos Waste Solutions, we recognise the need for a fully safe, reliable and environmentally responsible approach to collecting and disposing of asbestos products. Founded in 2009, and with over 20 years of experience prior to that, our experts provide a fully comprehensive, accredited service that you can rely on. If you think you may be at risk, or simply require more information, contact our professional team today to chat to one of our friendly advisors.

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