Conducting an asbestos survey is a critical step for any building owner, manager, or contractor. With the health risks and intricate legal requirements related to asbestos, understanding what’s involved in this process is pivotal. This article will detail the costs and key considerations you should be aware of before kicking off an asbestos survey.

Understanding the Importance of an Asbestos Survey

An asbestos survey is more than just a regulatory requirement. It’s a thorough inspection of your property to locate and manage the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that may pose a health hazard if they are disturbed. This is no ordinary DIY project – awareness of where asbestos might be lurking can save you steep health and legal expenses down the line.

Types of Surveys and Their Purposes

There are two main types of asbestos surveys – management surveys and refurbishment/demolition surveys.

Management Surveys

The primary purpose of a management survey is to locate, as far as reasonably practicable, the presence and extent of any potential ACMs within a building which could be damaged or disturbed during normal occupancy, including foreseeable maintenance and installation, and to assess their condition.

Refurbishment/Demolition Surveys

A refurbishment/demolition survey is required when a building or part of it is to be upgraded, refurbished, or demolished. The survey is used to locate and describe, as far as reasonably practicable, all ACMs in the area where the work will take place or in the whole building if demolition is planned. The survey will be fully intrusive and involve destructive inspection, as necessary, to gain access to all areas, including those that may be difficult to reach.

Breaking Down the Costs

The cost of an asbestos survey can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the property, the type of survey required, the complexity of the building, and the experience of the contractor.

Size and Type of Property

Naturally, larger properties require more extensive surveys, which translate to higher costs. The type of property, whether commercial or residential, can also affect the cost due to differences in survey requirements and regulations.

Complexity of the Building

The more complex a building’s structure, including hidden or difficult-to-reach areas, the more time-consuming and therefore more costly the survey will be. 

Experience of the Contractor

Choosing a reputable, experienced contractor is essential. While this may add to the upfront costs, it’s an investment that can save significant headaches down the line. A contractor with a solid track record can also streamline the process, potentially reducing overall costs.

Legal Implications and Regulations

Regulations regarding asbestos surveys and management plans can vary by region, making it crucial to be well-informed about local laws. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and even criminal charges.

Preparing for a Successful Survey

Before the survey, it’s important to:

  • Inform all relevant parties about the survey
  • Prepare a detailed building plan for the surveying team
  • Survey at an appropriate time, often when the building is least occupied

Post-Survey Actions and Follow-Up

Once the survey is complete, it’s critical to:

  • Keep the survey report on file and readily available
  • Implement an asbestos management plan if required
  • Regularly review and update the survey findings to ensure all information is current


Conducting an asbestos survey is not just about ticking a regulatory box. It is a process that requires careful planning, understanding of the costs involved, and following the appropriate legal frameworks. By investing the time and resources into a thorough asbestos survey, you are not only safeguarding the health of your building occupants but also protecting yourself from potentially ruinous legal and financial consequences. Remember, when it comes to asbestos, knowledge is power, and prevention is key.