As a Contractor working within buildings that were constructed before 2000, you are highly likely to come into contact with Asbestos containing materials (ACMs). If left undisturbed, materials containing Asbestos are perfectly safe; however, should they become disturbed or damaged for whatever reason and there is a release of fibres, these fibres – if inhaled – could be hazardous to your health.
When Should Samples Be Taken & Tested?
To determine whether a building product contains Asbestos, you will have to appoint a competent Asbestos Surveyor to inspect the building or structure. Any material which can reasonably be expected to contain Asbestos must be sampled or presumed to contain Asbestos. It is important to note that, any areas of a building that cannot be accessed must also be presumed to contain Asbestos.
Methodically, using specialist sampling tools, the Surveyor will typically take a sample of a suspected ACM. The location of every sample taken must be recorded on a plan drawing. Where no plan drawing is available, the Surveyor will normally prepare a plan sketch whilst on site. All samples taken must be double bagged and labelled accordingly.
The following circumstances would require samples to be taken of suspected Asbestos containing materials: –
- As part of an Asbestos Management Survey
- Prior to the demolition of a building/structure
- Prior to a refurbishment project which may disturb the fabric of the building (commonly known as a Pre-Demolition/Refurbishment Survey, or R&D Survey for short)
- If a suspected material has been identified
- If there is a potential contamination
Who Can Take Samples Of Potentially Asbestos Containing Materials?
To confirm whether suspected materials are Asbestos containing, a competent person (i.e. someone who has the skills, appropriate training and experience) must take a sample, which can then be analysed under laboratory conditions.
It is important to note that under no circumstances should samples be taken unless you are competent to do so. If you haven’t been trained, you may unintentionally disturb the Asbestos and breathe in fibres, putting yourself and others at risk.
Where To Get Samples Tested?
Samples should be tested in a UKAS Accredited Laboratory. Typically, samples can be confirmed as being positive or negative for Asbestos within 3-5 days. However, depending on the urgency, sampling can be done within 24 hours. Usually, the testing laboratory will issue a Bulk Sample Analysis Certificate which will confirm whether samples taken are Asbestos containing or not.
What Happens If The Samples Are Confirmed As Being Positive For Asbestos?
If the samples taken are confirmed as being Asbestos containing, the Asbestos Surveyor will provide recommendations to either manage, encapsulate and manage, or remove; recommendations will depend on the level of risk.
If you have a suspected Asbestos containing material, then please contact one of our Asbestos Consultants today. Sound, friendly advice is only a phone call away. Call Marpal on 01332 668877 or email us at [email protected].