High Risk Licensed Asbestos in Retail Properties

We have carried out Asbestos surveys of shops in Kingston and Wimbledon and Surrey that have identified asbestos materials including Asbestos spray coatings to beams above the ceiling of shops, asbestos pipe lagging and asbestos insulation board ceiling tiles. In some cases, these higher risk asbestos-containing materials were damaged with exposed raw asbestos fibres and visible debris.  In the worst case scenarios, these unsealed asbestos materials become increasingly airborne thanks to air conditioning systems and the shop doors opening and closing.
Asbestos removal for shops

Asbestos Insulation Board in shops

We find asbestos board as a fire retardant to the front of shops, as ceiling tiles, above the doors and ceiling and as fire breaks in ceiling voids and lofts.  Asbestos board is also used around boilers and service risers and lining lift shafts. Where there is a basement to the shop we will regularly find ceilings of asbestos insulation board especially where there are plant rooms and boiler rooms. Asbestos Insulation Board will also be used to line understairs and s boxing. We have carried out both asbestos surveys and carried out the removal of asbestos ceiling tiles from shops in Tolworth, Surbiton and Twickenham.

Where is Asbestos found in shops?

Floor tiles are commonly found in retail units we have surveyed often under a newer floor covering in the shop area or exposed in the storerooms and offices or toilets. The asbestos in shops include the same materials as those found in other properties such as Artex / textured coated ceilings, asbestos cement flue pipes and water tanks, amosite asbestos toilet cisterns and textile rope and chrysotile asbestos flash-guards in the electrics and possibly in the lifting gear. We have carried out asbestos surveys of shops in Epsom and several asbestos surveys of shops in Sutton and Redhill where numerous asbestos materials were identified.

Do I need an Asbestos Survey of Retail property?

There is a statutory requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations to carry out an asbestos survey of shops and all other commercial properties. This should be in place to protect employees clients and anyone using the premises from exposure to asbestos. Given the potential risk of exposure to asbestos and the common use of some higher risk material in shops the need to ensure everywhere is checked and an Asbestos Register is maintained is essential.

Due to the high number of customers that will be visiting retail premises if asbestos is exposed and not removed (or encapsulated), the danger is extremely high.

Asbestos Management Survey of shops

This is the survey required as starting point to meet compliance requirements. Though this should already be in place as a legal requirement however we are often called upon to carry out an Asbestos Management Survey of shops when the lease changes hands, finance is required or because the responsible party or Duty Holder realises no Asbestos Survey has been carried out and no Asbestos Register is in place. The register will summarise the asbestos present in the building the risk associated with it and the action to be taken.

Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys of shops

The other reason we are commonly called upon to carry out an asbestos survey of shops is in advance of the refurbishment of a shop fit-out. In these case, we will carry out a fully intrusive Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Survey which will again determine the location of asbestos, the risk and what remedial action is required. In most cases, if asbestos is present in areas where works are planned then the recommended action is likely to be removal.

Reinspection Asbestos Surveys of Shops and retail premises

There is a requirement to maintain a record of any asbestos materials and to manage them so they are not disturbed and have not deteriorated. The condition of the materials should be documented and if there is a risk then it may be necessary to remove the asbestos-containing material. Where asbestos is present there is a requirement to carry out a reinspection of these materials typically on a minimum annual basis with the inspection carried out by an asbestos surveyor.

Removal of Asbestos in Shops and Retail Outlets

Ultimately retail premises need to be free from asbestos risk to be operational for the safety of both staff and customers.

Removal can be carried out of both licensed higher risk or lower risk asbestos-containing materials. These works should be carried out in advance of a change of lease and should be factored into the timescale for refurbishment or shopfitting projects. If Licensed asbestos materials are identified then a statutory 14 day notification period has to be submitted to the HSE in advance of removal works and this should be incorporated in planning the works.  We have carried out asbestos survey in Weybridge, Surbiton and Chiswick amongst numerous others and are used to working to the tight timescales these jobs demand.