The new duty to manage the risks from asbestos came into force on 21 May 2004 and places legal responsibilities on duty holders. It will apply to you if you have maintenance and repair responsibilities for non-domestic premises either through contract or tenancy agreement or because you own the premises.
You are required to manage the risk from asbestos by;
Finding out is asbestos is present in the premises, its amount, location and its condition
- Presume material contains asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
- Make, and maintain a record of the location and condition of the asbestos - or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
- Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
- Make and 'asbestos management plan' that sets out how the risks from these materials will be managed
- Implement your 'asbestos management plan'
- Periodically review and monitor your 'asbestos management plan' and ensure adequate arrangements are in place to ensure plan remains update; and
- Provide information on the location and condition of asbestos material to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them
There is also a requirement on anyone to cooperate as far as is necessary to allow the duty holder to comply with the above requirements.
Who is the Duty Holder?
Owners and occupiers of non-domestic premises, who have maintenance and repair responsibilities for those premises, have a duty to assess the building for asbestos and assess its condition and implement a management plan.
Other parties have a legal duty to cooperate with the duty holder. For example, there is a requirement on landlords to pass on information to their tenants. Similarly tenants must cooperate with their landlord by allowing access to a building. Also building surveyors or architects, who have plans which show information on the whereabouts of asbestos, are expected to make this information available to duty holders.
What premises are effected?
The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises. For example, all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
Non-domestic premises also includes 'common' areas of certain domestic premises. Common areas might include foyers, corridors,lifts and lift-shafts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, yards, outhouses and garages etc.