Asbestos in Buildings – Advice for Domestic Property Owners

As a general rule, if you own domestic residential property, which consists of private dwellings and which do not contain common or communal areas, then your only duty is to ensure that you engage competent contractors to carry out repairs and maintenance. The onus for compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 is on the builder or contractor. However, if the property contains communal or common areas then you are a duty holder under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Common parts of domestic properties which would be covered by The Duty to Manage would be areas such as: Corridors, Foyers, Stairwells, Lift Shafts, Out houses etc. The general principles of Management of asbestos including the implementation of the asbestos in buildings register is essential in protecting occupants and other workers.

The Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 2, requires all employers to conduct their work so their employees will not be exposed to health and safety risks……Section 3 places duties on employers and the self-employed towards people not in their employment (tenants?) and Section 4 contains general duties for anyone who has control, to any extent, over a workplace.

Notifying Workers and Contractors

It is important that any employees and contractors who are involved with building maintenance are informed of the location of ACMs.  They must be made aware of the risk to health and be told that they must not disturb ACMs. In addition to informing them of the location of the known ACMs, they should be aware of what sorts of materials contain asbestos and the need to inform a responsible person if they inadvertently discover or disturb any materials that may contain asbestos.

Disposal of Asbestos

Asbestos waste (that is any material containing more that 0.1% asbestos) is covered by environmental legislation, the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005. Asbestos waste should be double wrapped in heavy-duty polythene bags and clearly labelled before it is transported to a disposal site.  It can only be disposed of at a site that is licensed to take hazardous waste.