-COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS
The new CAW 2006 Regulations, which came into force in November 2006, will compel all commercial property owners to investigate buildings for asbestos and to manage any associated risks. Those who fail to comply will risk crippling fines and even imprisonment.
A written survey will be mandatory. It will include a management plan for all asbestos containing materials [ACMs] identifying both position and condition.
This may sound fairly simple, but the confusing details of the regulations and the fact that there are literally thousands of different ACMs will leave property owners vulnerable to the large number of unscrupulous surveyors who work hand in glove with licensed asbestos removal contractors. The evidence that unnecessary and expensive work is being forcefully recommended mounts by the day.
OWNERS AND LANDLORDS OF SOCIAL HOUSING AND PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION
Some of the biggest headaches are those facing social and private landlords. Although the new 2002 regulations only require landlords and managers to identify asbestos in common areas (stairwells, hallways etc.) the already existing 1987 regulations in effect impose much the same obligation in relation to living areas.
The HSE has confirmed that, although the new regulations do not require a written survey for living accommodation, owners and managers still have a Duty of Care to know where all asbestos in their properties is situated. The HSE has confirmed that it will prosecute anyone who unwittingly exposes workers to such materials.
PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNERS
The new regulations do not apply to private residential property ( NB However private homeowners who expose workers entering their homes to asbestos during the course of their work do risk prosecution, as do workers who expose homeowners to asbestos). But many Chartered Surveyors with their own agenda are now actively searching for ACMs in houses up for sale. Owners are being pressured to have such ACMs professionally removed or face the property being devalued by up to a third. However, in many cases the ACMs did not need to be removed nor would it have needed the expensive services of a licensed contractor. This disgraceful process is inadvertantly being supported by many loan providers.
PRIVATE LAND OWNERS
Due to the high cost of asbestos removal there is now an epidemic of fly tipping up and down the country. Recently the Environment Agency has imposed a new regulation which forces owners to remove asbestos waste that is fly tipped on their land. Non compliance has now become a criminal offence. On many occasions Asbestios Watchdog has been able to establish that non existant ACMs have been "identified" within such fly tipped material.