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Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012


The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 apply and update previous regulations for the control of asbestos.

The HSE have produced guidance for anyone who is responsible for maintenance and repairs in a building which may contain asbestos – ‘The dutyholder’.

You are a ‘dutyholder’ if:

  • You own the building
  • You are responsible through an contract or tenancy agreement
  • You have control of the building

For local churches the ‘dutyholder’ is usually the trustees (elders) of the church and covers the following buildings:

  • All non-domestic buildings, churches, halls etc
  • The common areas of domestic buildings, halls, stairwells, litf shafts etc

Duty to Manage Asbestos

The duty to manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It requires the person who has the duty (elders) to:

  • Take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic properties, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in;
  • Presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not;
  • Make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos;
  • Assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified;
  • Prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed;
  • Take necessary steps to put the plan into action;
  • Periodically review and monitor the plan (annually) and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date; and
  • Provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them

There is also a requirement on anyone to co-operate as far as is necessary to allow the duty holder to comply with the above requirements.

The 3 essential steps

There are three essential steps to ensure that dutyholders comply with the Regulations:

  1. Find out whether the premises contain asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what condition it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain asbestos. If the building was built or refurbished before 2000 assume that asbestos is present, if it was built after 2000 asbestos is unlikely to be present so no further action would be required.
  2. Assess the risk; and
  3. Make a plan to manage that risk and act on it.

Basic principles

There are a number of basic principles that should be followed when dealing with materials containing or presumed to contain asbestos:

  • Asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed. If it is safely managed and contained, it doesn’t present a health hazard;
  • Don’t remove asbestos unnecessarily – removing it can be more dangerous than leaving it in place and managing it;
  • Not all asbestos materials present the same risk. The measures that need to be taken for controlling the risks from materials such as pipe insulation are different from those needed in relation to asbestos cement;
  • Don’t assume you need to bring in a specialist in every case, but if you do, make sure they are competent;
  • If you are unsure about whether certain materials contain asbestos you can presume they do and treat them as such;
  • Remember that the duty to manage is all about putting in place the practical steps necessary to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. It is not about removing all asbestos.

Selection of a surveyor

It is recommended that you employ a competent person to deal with the asbestos survey for you. When making the appointment of a competent person you should:

  • Ask for evidence of their training and experience in such work
  • Check they are going to carry out a survey in accordance with HSE guidance. (See HSE guidance HSG264 second edition);
  • Ask for evidence that they have suitable liability insurance

Types of survey

Managing trustees (elders) must remember that the Regulation places a ‘duty to manage’. This means that it is essential that trustees at a local level arrange for survey of all building stock and keep a record of any asbestos. This is best done by recording everything in an asbestos register which should be reviewed annually.

The types of survey are:

Management Survey

The purpose of this survey is to locate and assess the extent of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and their condition. It is still possible to be presumptive in this type of survey, but it will usually include the need to be intrusive as material sampling will be necessary.

Refurbishment or Demolition survey

This survey is needed before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out. This survey is used to locate and describe all ACMs in the area where the refurbishment work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. It will be fully intrusive and often involve destructive inspection so that all areas where the work or demolition is to be carried out have been surveyed, tested and reported on. This type of survey will lead to removal of all materials containing asbestos to be carried out, under controlled conditions, prior to the refurbishment or demolition work being commenced.

Further Information

Further information and guidance can be found on the HSE website:

A large print version of this document is available upon request. Contact Synod Office: 020 7799 5000.

Asbestos regulations 2017 .pdf file | 585 KB

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