Manage Your Documents to Manage Your Asbestos
Posted on 12th May 2017 at 14:21
Rather than simply ordering another expensive asbestos management survey, better results can often be obtained by better updating your asbestos register and managing your documents. This is by far a more effective way of managing asbestos.
We very often get asked to do asbestos surveys on portfolios of properties, only to find when we get on site that there already is at least one, if not more, asbestos surveys of the properties in existence. The problem is an understandable one - the properties may have changed ownership (perhaps several times) and the current owners feel they can't verify the quality of the previous surveys, they may not know that there is an existing survey/s, as the only copies are paper documents in an office somewhere, or there may have been so many potential changes within the property (e.g. asbestos removed) that they just want a fresh start.
From our point of view we could rub our hands together and think 'Great, more work' but at Independent Environmental we don't like to work like that. We advise our clients to do the following, or we will do it for them of course:-
Take time to do a document search and gather all documents relating to asbestos for a property, this would include management surveys, refurbishment surveys, re-inspections, air tests, removal records, clearance certificates etc.;
Audit the information to see if it is accurate. This may be done by a re-inspection, which may well be due, or may involve checking the credentials of the surveying companies and the quality of their reports;
Check areas where removal has taken place, has it been done properly (sorry, but from experience you may be disappointed in this regard)?
Check whether plans are accurate;
Put processes in place to regularly collect new documents and use them to update this information;
If you haven't done so already re-inspect all asbestos containing materials to check if there have been any changes in their condition, or their vulnerability.
Finally when you have done all this, make sure you don't make this common mistake, DON'T USE THE RE-INSPECTION REPORT AS YOUR ASBESTOS REGISTER. You will one day regret doing that as it exposes you to all kinds of problems. This is an all too common mistake.
Following that you're now in a position to develop a simple easy to read asbestos register that can be used on site, to tell those that need to know, where the asbestos is, and also to tell them where has, and where hasn't been surveyed, and to what level it's been surveyed (I've done more on asbestos registers in a previous blog).
These methods may seem time consuming but if you have a portfolio of properties I promise it could save you thousands, and be far safer than just having another survey.
We recently got asked to do more than £130,000 of surveys. Instead we encouraged the client to let us follow this method and we believe we will save them £100,000 and prevent them ending up in exactly the same place 5 years from now. This method of managing documents is a much more robust method of managing asbestos. If you would like us to talk to you more about this subject please don't hesitate to contact us.
So in conclusion, managing your documentation is a key element to managing your asbestos.
Our UKATA Duty to Manage Training Course develops this and many other important points to help you to manage asbestos in your buildings and potentially save you money. Visit our Duty to Manage page for the course content.
We have used IE-365.com for our asbestos training needs for the last 5 years and have nothing but praise for them. The training is always received very well by all staff, whether management or tradesmen. The training can be tailored to the specific needs of those attending, making the sessions much more beneficial than other generic training. I would highly recommend IE-365.com to anyone looking at training in the asbestos sector.
Kevin Palmer Rykneld Housing
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