Asbestos Surveys

Birmingham City Laboratories is a UKAS accredited Laboratory and Type C Inspection Body holding accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020: 2005 and ISO/IEC 17025: 2004. Our UKAS accredited services include surveying for asbestos in premises in accordance with HSG 264 and sampling of bulk materials for asbestos fibre identification.To affectively inspect and locate asbestos in premises as required by HSG 264, the location, type, condition and extent of any ACM’s must be established. HSG 264 specifies the following two types of survey: 

Asbestos Management Surveys locate as far as reasonably practical, the presence, extent and condition of any suspect asbestos containing materials in a building so that the ACM’s can be managed during the normal occupation and use of the premises. 

Asbestos refurbishment / Demolition Surveys aim to ensure that nobody will be harmed by ACM’s in a premises when a building or part of it, requires upgrading, refurbishment or demolition. There is a requirement for all ACM’s to be removed as far as reasonably practicable prior to major refurbishment or final demolition. The survey must locate and identify all ACM’s before any structural work begins on the building. This may involve destructive inspection and possible asbestos disturbance.

It is important to specify the appropriate requirements on suppliers according to the type of work required. For example, you can be confident in the technical competence of an asbestos surveying organisation if it holds UKAS accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020, the internationally recognised standard that sets out the requirements for organisations performing inspection. UKAS accredited certification of a supplier’s management system to ISO 9001 tells you that they have arrangements for managing the quality of their product or service, but it doesn't relate to their technical competence.

Why use a UKAS accredited asbestos survey company?

There are many companies that provide consultancy and surveying services, sometimes at what initially appears to be at low cost. However, before commissioning an organisation to undertake such work it is important to consider the risks. 
Selecting an organisation accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) will ensure that you are appointing a competent surveying organisation that will understand and meet your requirements. . Are you confident that the organisation has the technical competence to undertake the work in question? . Are you satisfied that the organisation has the resources to do the work? Are the surveyors working to suitable codes of conduct to ensure inspections are carried out impartially and with integrity? 

Are you confident that the organisation has an adequate quality system in place? . Are you satisfied that safeguards are in place, e.g. suitable liability insurance and professional indemnity? 

Since publication of  HSG 264 in 2010 the ABICS scheme mentioned in paragraph 24 has been discontinued. This scheme was specifically designed to certificate individual surveyor competence. There is at present no replacement scheme for individuals. However surveying organisations of all sizes can demonstrate competence through obtaining UKAS accreditation. In addition, clients can also appoint other organisations or individuals provided they are competent. In these situations clients should seek evidence of competence through obtaining details of qualifications, experience, written quality procedures and references.

Birmingham City Laboratories,
12 Dec 2011, 03:22