December 8 2020

Asbestos is responsible for around 2,500 deaths a year in the UK alone. Older buildings and buildings in poor states of repair are the most at risk to this invisible danger. If you own, lease, or even manage a commercial property it’s important to understand the requirements of asbestos regulation and who is responsible for ensuring the safety of you, your team, and any visitors to your property.  

Who is responsible?

According to the Government; “If you’re the landlord, tenant or managing agent of a commercial property you may be responsible for managing asbestos unless your contract or lease says otherwise.” The person responsible for commercial premises is known as the ‘duty holder’. If you’re not sure who the duty holder is you should check your contracts or ask for legal advice to find out who is responsible for managing asbestos on commercial properties.

What is a duty holder?

A duty holder is any person with an obligation to the repair and maintenance of non-domestic property. This can apply to landlords, tenants, and freeholds depending on the nature of the ownership and contracts. This definition is quite broad so make sure you understand what is required of you according to your property contract.

As a duty holder, you must have a plan to deal with asbestos and that you put it into action. There are severe penalties for breaches in this duty such as fines up to £20,000 and imprisonment for up to 12 months. Additionally, any serious breaches can result in larger fines and longer prison sentences. 

What duties does a duty holder have?

As a duty holder, you are responsible for knowing where and what state any asbestos materials are in. You will need to carry out an asbestos survey with an accredited service provider. Once this is done, you should follow the suggested actions of the asbestos survey, have materials analysed, and keep records of the findings. You must also carry out a health and safety risk assessment.

Once you have all this information, you must share this information with anyone likely to come into contact with the problem areas/materials. This information should include the location and condition of any asbestos in the building. Depending on your situation, you may be able to keep visitors away from the areas with asbestos in good repair. If, however, you find your asbestos damaged or in any way dangerous, you will need to have it sealed or removed. We highly recommend choosing an accredited asbestos removal service when doing so.

You can also read the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to fully understand the responsibilities of managing asbestos in any non-domestic property.

What is commercial premises?

A commercial property, in its broadest sense, is a property that is engaged or concerned in commerce. Town and Country Planning use a variety of classes to order buildings and land usage with many properties having several definitions at once. This class system encompasses several different types of buildings, even ones you may not consider ‘commerce’ such as schools, universities, farms, offices, and garages. It can also include mixed-use buildings, wholesale, and larger stores. You should endeavour to find out from your local council or legal support what classification your property has and what regulations you should abide. 

Who we are

At Midlands Asbestos Solutions, we use our years of experience and expertise to find, test and remove all harmful asbestos. From pipe lagging to roof tiles, insulation and anything else used in the construction process, we are well-versed in safely identifying, removing, and replacing asbestos with safer alternatives. We are fully licensed to remove and safely dispose of asbestos as well as inform and educate people on how to look out for the warning signs. If you’re concerned about the safety of your commercial property, or just want peace of mind contact us today and we’ll carry out a comprehensive asbestos survey. 

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