How to Prepare for an Asbestos Survey: A Step-by-Step Approach

How to Prepare for an Asbestos Survey: A Step-by-Step Approach

An asbestos survey is a crucial step in any property transaction or management plan. It is a legal requirement to identify asbestos survey before starting any construction or demolition works. The survey helps in managing asbestos on an ongoing basis by providing accurate information on the location, type, and condition of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) within the property.

Step 1: Determine the Survey Requirements

Not all asbestos surveys are equal. The first step in preparing for the survey is to understand the type of survey needed for your property. There are two main types:

  • Management Survey: This is the standard survey required during the normal occupation and use of premises. The aim is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, to assess their condition.
  • Refurbishment or Demolition Survey (R&D Survey): This survey is commissioned in relation to the planning of refurbishment or demolition work. The survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned.

Step 2: Gather Property Information

To make the survey process efficient, gather all relevant property information beforehand. Information should include:

  • Building plans or blueprints
  • Any previous asbestos surveys or registers of any known asbestos in the property
  • The history of the building and any past or anticipated renovations or repairs
  • Areas of limited access or hazardous conditions that may impact the thoroughness of the survey

Step 3: Notify the Occupants

If the property is currently in use, inform the occupants about the survey. This is particularly important for a management survey as it is conducted while the building is still in use. Providing advance notice and explaining the purpose and process of the survey can help alleviate concerns and ensure smooth cooperation.

Step 4: Identify the Survey Areas

Work with the surveying company to define the specific areas to be surveyed based on the property type and survey requirements. For a management survey, this may involve surveying all accessible areas, while an R&D survey will focus on the areas affected by the planned refurbishment or demolition.

Step 5: Select a Competent Surveying Company

Choose a surveying company that is accredited, experienced, and knowledgeable in the specific type of survey required for your property. Ensure they adhere to strict guidelines and regulations set out by health and safety authorities. The company should be equipped with trained professionals and appropriate testing equipment.

Step 6: Schedule the Survey

Coordinate with the surveying company to set a date and time for the survey. Try to schedule the survey at a time when the property will be least occupied to minimize disruption. An R&D survey, for example, can be scheduled during off-hours or when the property is closed.

Step 7: Provide Access to the Surveyor

On the day of the survey, make sure the surveyor has easy and safe access to all areas that need to be assessed. This may include providing keys or access codes to relevant sections of the property and arranging for escort or supervision as needed for sensitive areas.

Step 8: Plan for Inspection Outcomes

Prepare for potential outcomes of the survey, which may include the presence of ACMs, recommendations for management or removal, and the imposition of responsibilities under health and safety legislation. The survey report will be the basis for any necessary actions and future asbestos management plans.


Preparing for an asbestos survey is not only about fulfilling legal obligations but also about ensuring the safety of all individuals who may come into contact with the property. Following these steps will help you manage the process efficiently and will set the stage for a comprehensive and reliable asbestos survey.