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Asbestos and Commercial Properties

Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause severe health issues, and there are legal obligations in place to manage asbestos in commercial properties in order to protect people from asbestos-related diseases.

Here's a summary of the key points regarding asbestos management in commercial properties:

Legal Obligations: There are strict legal obligations for managing asbestos in commercial properties. Breaches of these obligations can result in unlimited fines and even imprisonment for serious violations.

Condition-Based Management: In cases where asbestos is identified and found to be in good condition, it can often be safely left in place as long as it remains undisturbed. The key is to have a clear plan in place to manage the risk associated with asbestos.

Risk Assessment: The obligation is to conduct an appropriate risk assessment. In many cases, this assessment is based on an asbestos survey, which can be of different types.

Management Survey: This survey identifies asbestos and provides information to property owners, potential buyers, or occupants. It helps in making decisions about risk assessment, planning remedial work, or deciding whether to leave the asbestos undisturbed.

Refurbishment or Demolition Survey: This survey identifies asbestos when there is a need for refurbishment or demolition work, ensuring that no one, including contractors, is put at risk. It also determines the specialists required to carry out the work safely.

Duty Holder: The duty holder is the individual or organization with a clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the commercial property. This can be the landlord, tenant, or managing agent, depending on the terms of the lease.

In a full repairing and insuring lease, the tenant typically takes responsibility for all repairing obligations, including asbestos.

In an internal repairing and insuring lease, the tenant is only responsible for internal repairs, and the landlord is typically responsible for any asbestos-related matters.

Duties of the Duty Holder: Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the duty holder has specific responsibilities, including:

·         Identifying the presence of asbestos, its type, quantity, and condition.

·         Presuming that asbestos is present unless proven otherwise.

·         Maintaining up-to-date records related to asbestos.

·         Conducting a risk assessment to determine the likelihood of asbestos exposure and preparing a plan to manage the identified risks.

·         Implementing the plan and regularly reviewing and amending it as necessary.

It's crucial to take these responsibilities seriously to protect the health and safety of individuals who may come into contact with asbestos in commercial properties. For more detailed and up-to-date information, you should refer to the relevant regulations and consult with professionals who specialize in asbestos management.