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Written by
on 14 April 2009


Surveyors Guide MDHS100

New HSG guidance document, “Asbestos surveyors Guide – Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials. (Out Aug 2009)

The new asbestos survey guidance document, “Asbestos surveyors Guide – Surveying, sampling and assessment of asbestos-containing materials aims to help asbestos surveyors and duty holders ensure that proposed asbestos survey methods and procedures are appropriate for the situation and are able to be managed in sound and operational for all asbestos survey situations.

There are currently 3 methods of Asbestos survey as described within the surveyors guide (MDHS 100) a Type 1 asbestos survey, Type 2 asbestos survey and Type 3 asbestos survey of which in the near future, (subject to approval by HSE) will be revised to include 2 types of asbestos survey namely “management surveys” and “demolition/refurbishment” surveys.


Management Survey


An asbestos survey which is undertaken to address the risks from asbestos associated with the continued use of the building (ie normal occupancy and activities and associated maintenance and development). These “management” surveys are performed to ensure that no one is harmed by the continued presence of asbestos in premises (ie ACMs remain in good condition and that no-one inadvertently disturbs ACMs during maintenance and other work).

The purpose of this type of survey is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any suspect ACMs in the building. Management surveys may involve minor intrusive work and some disturbance to allow maintenance or installation work.


Demolition/Refurbishment Survey


This type of survey is necessary prior to any demolition or refurbishment work being carried out. These “demolition/refurbishment” surveys will be quite different and much more intrusive and destructive compared with management surveys as their intention is to locate all the ACMs so that they can be removed before the demolition or refurbishment takes place. All buildings normally require a management survey as part of the on-going arrangements to manage asbestos. However refurbishment/demolition surveys will only be required as necessary when the needs or use of the building changes.

The revised technical guidance sets out how to survey workplace premises for asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and how to record the results in a usable form.

Its function is to support other duty-to-manage guidance, which deals more broadly with the management arrangements.

The methods of asbestos surveys purpose, irrespective of the type, is to assist in the management of asbestos in the buildings. The survey has to provide sufficient information for an Asbestos Register/plan to be prepared and for a risk assessment to be carried out. Therefore the survey in most cases will have three main elements:

• firstly, it must as far as reasonably practicable locate and record the location, extent and product type of any presumed or known ACMs;
• secondly, it must inspect and record information on the accessibility, condition* and surface treatment of any presumed or know ACMs
• thirdly, it should determine and record the asbestos type, either by collecting representative samples of suspect materials for laboratory identification, or by making a presumption based on the product type and its appearance etc.


Here is a summary on the existing asbestos survey types.


A type 1 asbestos survey is the simplest of all asbestos surveys and will not usually involve sampling. A visual, rather than invasive survey, the type 1 asbestos survey involves the surveyor examining all accessible areas of a building looking for asbestos containing materials (ACM’s).

The type 2 asbestos survey is also known as a sampling survey.

Like the type 1 asbestos survey, the type 2 asbestos survey is a visual survey and is non-invasive. The asbestos surveyor will take small samples of materials suspected of containing asbestos and then arrange for laboratory testing to confirm or rule out the presence of asbestos.

A type 3 asbestos survey is required whenever a building is to be demolished or the subject of a major refurbishment.

When a type 3 asbestos survey is undertaken, the asbestos surveyor will conduct an invasive survey, which means that there will inevitably be some damage caused in the areas affected by the survey.


Veritas Consulting provide asbestos surveys and asbestos awareness training – don’t you owe it to your family, colleagues and friends to find out more call 0121 249 1281 now or if you prefer send an EMAIL


About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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