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Introduction to this document

Asbestos material assessment algorithm

If you have asbestos-containing materials in your premises, your surveyor’s report should include an assessment of its condition. Our document replicates the form surveyors use, allowing you carry out your own reassessment going forward.

Risk assessment

When asbestos-containing materials are identified in your building you must ensure that they are properly managed. The first step is to assess the risk posed by the materials. Based on this assessment you might choose different courses of action, either by removing or managing them to prevent disturbance and deterioration.

The risk assessment is undertaken in two halves which assess: (1) the material’s condition; and (2) the risk of staff or others being exposed to the fibres.

Our Asbestos Material Assessment Algorithm is based on the HSE’s method of assessment which uses the same name. It covers the material’s condition.

When to use it

Usually your specialist asbestos surveyor will have included a material assessment algorithm in the survey report. However, it’s possible that you might want to re-evaluate materials later, for example, if you’ve had work done to enclose them or damage has occurred. Also material condition should be re-assessed during your annual (or more frequent) inspection of the materials.

What’s included?

The document is a one-page evaluation tool within which there is a three column table. The first column includes the four sample variables, i.e. product type, extent of damage/deterioration, surface treatment and asbestos type.

By the end of the assessment you will have a score for each of these four variables. This will be between zero and three and is selected from column two. Column three includes notes which help you to select the right score for each variable.

Worked example

Let’s say that you have some asbestos cement profile sheeting on the roof of a shed. The material is in generally good condition apart from a few chips and analysis shows that it contains chrysotile fibres.

Variable 1: product type - score “1”. Asbestos cement is included in a list of composite materials in the notes adjacent to the number “1”.

Variable 2: extent of damage - score “1”. The notes for this score include “low damage: a few scratches or surface marks, broken edges on boards, tiles, etc.”

Variable 3: surface treatment - score “1”. The notes for this score include “asbestos cement sheets”.

Variable 4: asbestos type - score “1”. Analysis results show that the substance is chrysotile. If you did not know you would need to assume that it was the most risky type of asbestos and choose the highest available score of “3”.

To complete the assessment, add your scores together. In our example we scored 1+1+1+1= 4. At the end of the document there is an index which tells you the “potential to release asbestos fibres”. Here you’ll find that a “total score” of “4 or less” is regarded as “very low” risk.