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The duty to manage asbestos

The duty to manage asbestos is directed at those who manage non-domestic premises: the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises, or use them in other ways, from the risks to ill health that exposure to asbestos causes.

This page should provide answers to some questions about the duty as well as some further information:

This page should also provide answers to some questions about the duty as well as some further information:

How can M3 Asbestos help?

If you have any concerns regarding asbestos and your responsibility, contact our team now and we can advise you.

As professionals in the asbestos business, we can ensure that your commercial business premises are legal and any asbestos is managed or removed.

Below you will find a brief outline of responsibility and how the law affects commercial premises and the dutyholder.


What is the duty?

Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 who has the duty (i.e. the "dutyholder") to:

  • take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in;
  • presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not;
  • make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials - or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos;
  • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified;
  • prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed;
  • take the necessary steps to put the plan into action;
  • periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date; and
  • provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them.

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Who has the duty?

non-domestic premises through an explicit agreement such as a tenancy agreement or contract.
The extent of the duty will depend on the nature of that agreement. In a building occupied by one leaseholder, the agreement might be for either the owner or leaseholder to take on the full duty for the whole building; or it might be to share the duty. In a multi-occupied building, the agreement might be that the owner takes on the full duty for the whole building. Or it might be that the duty is shared - for example, the owner takes responsibility for the common parts while the leaseholders take responsibility for the parts they occupy. Sometimes, there might be an agreement to pass the responsibilities to a managing agent.
In some cases, there may be no tenancy agreement or contract. Or, if there is, it may not specify who has responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises. In these cases, or where the premises are unoccupied, the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises, or part of the premises. Often this will be the owner.

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Which premises are affected?

The duty to manage covers all non-domestic premises. Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
Non-domestic premises also include those 'common’ areas of certain domestic premises: purpose-built flats or houses converted into flats. The common areas of such domestic premises might include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift-shafts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, yards, outhouses and garages - but would not include the flat itself. Such common areas would not include rooms within a private residence that are shared by more than one household such as bathrooms, kitchens etc in shared houses and communal dining rooms and lounges in sheltered accommodation.
Further detail is set out in a chart of premises and includes which are likely to be classified as domestic or non-domestic for the purposes of the duty to manage.

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How do dutyholders comply?

There are three essential steps:

  • find out whether the premises contains asbestos, and, if so, where it is and what condition it is in. If in doubt, materials must be presumed to contain asbestos;
  • assess the risk; and
  • make a plan to manage that risk and act on it

Further details of these steps can be found on pages of this downloadable file 'A short guide to managing asbestos’.
Here are some basic principles to remember:

  • asbestos is only dangerous when disturbed. If it is safely managed and contained, it doesn’t present a health hazard;
  • don’t remove asbestos unnecessarily - removing it can be more dangerous than leaving it in place and managing it;
  • not all asbestos materials present the same risk. The measures that need to be taken for controlling the risks from materials such as pipe insulation are different from those needed in relation to asbestos cement;
  • if you are unsure about whether certain materials contain asbestos, you can presume they do and treat them as such;
  • remember that the duty to manage is all about putting in place the practical steps necessary to protect maintenance workers and others from the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres. It is not about removing all asbestos.

If any ACMs need to be sealed, encapsulated or removed, remember you will need to employ a licensed contractor such as ourselves.

Contact us today if you have any asbestos concerns with your commercial property. Our team of qualified and experienced asbestos surveyors can remove the liability from you by carrying out a thorough survey.


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