What is an Asbestos Survey? Do I Need One?

There are many documents and requirements when dealing with asbestos and one that is essential is the asbestos survey. You may have heard mention of an asbestos survey but be unsure what it is, when it is required, and who needs one. This is what we discuss in the below article so you can have work carried out on your premises safely and in compliance with regulations.

What is an Asbestos Survey?

An asbestos survey is a process carried out by a trained asbestos surveyor (or the duty holder depending on the type of survey). The aim is to typically identify the presence of any asbestos on a premises, how likely it is for the fibres to become airborne, and safe working measures or containment measures to make sure no harm comes to anyone on site.

Typically, during the survey, various identification and testing is undertaken including air testing to check for the presence of fibres after the asbestos has been disturbed. Samples are often taken too to be sent off to laboratories to identify suspected asbestos, the type, and concentration.

The HSE has guidelines for surveys and they are commonly split into two types – asbestos management surveys, and asbestos refurbishment or demolition surveys and we take a look at both in greater detail below. 

Management Survey

An Asbestos Management Survey[1] is primarily for properties where there is asbestos but there is no work intended to remove it. This type of survey can be done by the duty holder of the property providing it’s a straightforward process and the asbestos is easy to identify.

The purpose of a management survey is to make sure that the risk of contamination and health hazards are minimised on the property, that the ACM (Asbestos Containing Materials) remains in a good condition and doesn’t deteriorate, and that it isn’t accidentally disturbed.

A management survey also guides the duty holder if any further work is needed such as maintenance or removal. There will be some intrusion and disturbing of the asbestos in order to assess how likely the fibres are to become airborne.

Refurbishment / Demolition Survey

A refurbishment or demolition survey is needed when major work is required to a property that contains asbestos. This works differently from a management survey in that you don’t need to know the condition of the asbestos – just its location.

The asbestos does still need to be disturbed and there is an element of destructive inspection which can be dangerous. Once the survey is completed, it must be certified as “fit for reoccupation” and vacated until the work is completed. 

The main aim of this type of asbestos survey is to make sure that any risks are mitigated during the work and that the work carried out is done in a responsible manner by the contractors. 

Do I Need an Asbestos Survey?

If there is asbestos on your property then you need an asbestos survey – this applies for both residential and commercial properties. Which properties exactly require a survey depend on the duty to manage or duty of responsibility and the HSE has a set of guidelines[2] on which properties require a duty holder, and who is responsible.

The duty of care is specifically for properties built before the year 2000 and examples of domestic and non-domestic properties that it applies to includes:

·      Warehouses.

·      Offices.

·      Shops.

·      Factories.

·      Hospitals.

·      Dental Practices.

·      Leisure Centres.

·      Care Homes.

For domestic properties such as your house, there is no legal obligation. However, we still advise obtaining a survey if you need major work on your property and there is asbestos – for your safety and compliance. 

We have a complete article on who is responsible for asbestos on a property here and this includes details on who the duty holder is, such as the landlord if you are a tenant of a property that contains asbestos.


What is an asbestos surveyor?

Asbestos surveyors are those responsible for undertaking a professional asbestos survey. They will enter a premises and do relevant checks to identify materials that could contain asbestos including taking and sending off samples.

Why do you need an asbestos survey?

Asbestos surveys are part of the duty of responsibility of the person responsible for a premises. They aim to identify sources of asbestos together with the potential risks and dangers. The survey can then be used to remove asbestos, or to make everyone aware of its location to mitigate any risks. 

Does my landlord have to tell me about asbestos?

Yes. The person with the duty of responsibility of a premises whether that be a landlord or owner should notify anyone within the property of the presence of asbestos and give access to things like an asbestos survey and up to date logs.

How do I get an asbestos report?

To get an asbestos report or survey you need to get an asbestos surveyor. They will survey your property for between £250-1000 and then provide a detailed asbestos report with their findings afterwards.


[1] – HSE - Surveys

[2] – HSE – The Duty to Manage Asbestos

The content on this page/article was last updated on the 6th December 2023 by our team and was reviewed and fact checked by William Wright, DipNEBOSH on the 6th December 2023.

William is a qualified health & safety consultant who holds NEBOSH & IOSH certifications.