Asbestos and YOU
The current regulations do not place any legal obligations on domestic home owners with regard to how asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) are handled on your own property. This is true for the owner of the property, anyone living at the property or a friend of a resident acting on their behalf, without reward. The majority of ACM’s in domestic premises do not pose a measurable risk to health but it is worth finding out what you have and how best to maintain it in good condition.
Commercial Property Owners
As a commercial property owner you have a legal duty to manage asbestos at your premises under the Control of Asbestos (CAR2006) regulations. Whilst the day-to-day management of asbestos can be delegated to a manager or management company, the legal duty cannot be delegated and the property owner is still ultimately responsible for ensuring that any appointed persons are competent to fulfil the responsibilities laid out under this duty.
Be vigilant! You are most at risk of disturbing asbestos containing materials. If you are self employed you are legally required to ensure that the work you undertake does not expose you, your client or anyone working for you to asbestos. If you are employed then your employer has a duty to ensure that you have access to suitable training and to meet the requirements laid out in the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR2006). Ignorance is no defence.
As a manager you will be part of the process at some level but the extent of your duties will depend on the various roles you undertake and the structure of your company. If you are in charge of hiring maintenance workers then you will have an automatic duty to manage asbestos at your premises under the CAR2006 regulations.
If you are a tenant in a commercial property then your duty to manage asbestos will depend on the terms of your lease and whether or not you are responsible for maintenance. If this duty is not yours, you are still required to co-operate as far as is necessary to enable your landlord to comply with their responsibilities.
As a Landlord of a commercial property your duty to manage asbestos will depend on the specific terms of your lease or tenancy contract. If you are responsible for carrying out maintenance then this duty is yours. If this is shared then the cost of asbestos management should also be shared and arrangements made between all parties involved.
Housing Associations have a duty of care towards their tenants and others in respect of the presence of asbestos in dwellings. The CAR2006 Asbestos regulations, whilst not applicable to residential properties, place a specific duty to manage asbestos in common areas. The Defective Premises Act 1972, whilst not specifically mentioning asbestos, requires landlords to take reasonable care to see that tenants and visitors are safe from personal injury or disease caused by a defect in the state of the premises.
Local Authorities in the UK have a statutory duty under Section 51 of the Environment Protection Act 1990 to make provision for the disposal of household domestic waste in their area. However, building materials (including asbestos) are not considered as domestic waste and councils are currently under no legal obligations to provide a collection service.
Architects & Building Surveyors
Architects and Surveyors should be aware of the possibility of disturbing asbestos themselves when accessing old buildings. It is important for Architects to know what type of asbestos survey has been undertaken on a building and ensure that the inspection was suitably invasive for a refurbishment or demolition project.