When should you carry out an asbestos survey?

The dangers of asbestos are well known, and while it isn’t an issue relating to modern buildings, if your property or premises was built or refurbished before 2000, asbestos might be an issue. This is why you must understand the importance of carrying out an asbestos survey and the laws relating to you.

We don’t carry out Asbestos Surveys or testing but if we identify Asbestos or other hazardous materials, we will recommend one which will normally involve testing.

The laws regarding residential & commercial properties are different, but as Health and Safety Executive (HSE), statistics still prove asbestos presents significant risk.

It is believed asbestos is responsible for the death of more than 5,000 workers every year, which is more than the number of people who die on the road. Of course, asbestos is a long-term issue, developing over the years, but usually, a diagnosis comes too late to protect someone suffering from asbestos inhalation.

You need to know when to conduct an asbestos survey for your safety, your loved ones, and the professionals working on your property.

There are two types of asbestos surveys:

  1. Asbestos management survey
  2. Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey

Who needs an asbestos survey and how long does an asbestos survey last?

For a commercial property built or refurbished before 2000, there is a legal requirement to hold an Asbestos management survey. If the asbestos is managed correctly, this survey remains valid indefinitely.

If the results of the Asbestos management survey indicate there is asbestos in the property, a re-inspection must take place in line with the Control of Asbestos Regulations. This re-survey should be undertaken every 6 to 12 months.

For commercial or domestic property built or refurbished before 2000, and you are looking to carry out renovation work at the premises, you must have a Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey in place. This survey is valid for 12 months.

How long does it take for asbestos to settle down after being disturbed?

The stated time for disturbed asbestos to remain airborne is between 48 and 72 hours, so it is best to leave at least three days between asbestos being disturbed and returning to work in the area. HSE guidelines indicate work must stop immediately upon discovering asbestos, even suspected asbestos.

If it is suspected there is asbestos, work should stop until a sample is tested. If it is known there is disturbed asbestos, work must stop immediately, and someone must implement emergency procedures. This includes informing people who might be affected, cleaning debris and ensuring anyone not wearing PPE leaves the site immediately.

Our inspections ensure you comply with all these regulations and provide a duty of care to people on your premises.

How big of a sample is needed for asbestos testing?

The recommended sample size is at least two square inches of asbestos material, which will be analysed in a laboratory.

Will a house survey pick up asbestos?

You should note that a Homebuyer Report or a Building Survey Report will not provide asbestos information as standard. However, our experienced Surveyorswill state their concerns when reporting and if any asbestos products or hazardous material are identified then an Asbestos Survey with testing will be recommended.

It is helpful for homeowners & for purchasers to instruct an asbestos inspection for peace of mind, especially when refurbishment work is planned.

If you are concerned about the presence of asbestos in a property you are purchasing, please contact Brian Gale Surveyors today. You can complete an online form or call us on 01737 245947, and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your concerns.

Thatched Roof

Patrick Moyle has carried out a number of inspections to thatched roofs in recent months and these include a property in Oxshott, Surrey.

The property dated back to the 1930s however the house had been extended and completely rethatched. Although the thatch was only a few years old the standard of workmanship was poor and major stripping back and recovering was required.

Thatched roofs are attractive but do require regular checking and inspection especially before purchase. The roofing block and other sections, especially around windows, were poorly detailed and materials had weathered within 5 to 6 years whereas normally a ridge should last at least 10 years.

If you are considering purchasing a property with a thatched roof please contact Patrick Moyle for further advice and information. Patrick in his career has inspected numerous thatched roofs throughout Surrey, Sussex and Kent and also in Devon.

Thatched Roof
Thatched Roof
Thatched Roof
Thatched Roof

Industrial Warehouse Roof Coverings

This week our Surveyor, Patrick Moyle, has surveyed a property at Horley near Gatwick Airport for a client who is wanting to take on a Full Repairing Lease. A detailed protected Schedule of Condition has been prepared.

The property was built around 1990 and is therefore 27 years old. The roof covering although only 27 years old, is in very poor condition with Cut Edge Corrosion having occurred – steel work sheeting is corroding at the edges and the paint finish has curled up and deteriorated. Also the paint finish has deteriorated to the main area and the galvanising has failed resulting in corrosion.

The plastic roof lights have all discoloured. The roof now will have a limited life and we have advised our client of the short life span of the roof covering and that any future repair or renewal must be specifically excluded from the lease to ensure that to endure repair and maintenance of the lease they do not have to pay a considerable amount of money.

It is important when negotiating a lease to attach a Protective Schedule of Condition to it to ensure that no dilapidation issues arise at the end and to ensure that dilapidation costs are kept to a minimum. Our Survey also discovered numerous other issues with the building.

Industrial Warehouse Roof Coverings

Industrial Warehouse Roof Coverings in poor condition

Roof Coverings

Industrial Warehouse Roof Coverings

Polystyrene Tiles

Polystyrene tiles were very popular in the 1970s/ 1980s as a form of decoration to the ceilings of a house. It is rare to come across polystyrene tiles now, but if we see it we recommend that they are removed as they pose a fire safety risk to the property, this is relatively easy and cheap to do. This photo was taken in Croydon whilst carrying out a Condition Schedule.

Polystyrene tiles

Poor Swimming pool maintenance

We recently carried out a Full Building Survey on a property in Dorking, Surrey. The rear pool looks as though it is slowly turning into a pond! The plant life and Tadpoles in the water indicated that the water has not been chlorinated or maintained properly for a very long time! Routine maintenance is important, especially with expensive luxuries such as swimming pools.

If you would like to speak to one of our friendly team regarding any of our services please call us on 01737 245947.

Tadpoles in a swimming pool

structural movement

Recently we carried out a Full Building Survey on this property in Redhill, Surrey. There is a rear conservatory extension which has been ‘butted’ up against the original building, the tapered crack between the original building and the extension shows that there is structural movement, caused by inadequate foundations. It is important to have your property inspected if you are worried about any cracks that may appear on your property.

Call us on 01737 245947 to discuss any issues you may be concerned about, or alternatively visit our website https://www.briangalesurveyors.com/ to see the full range of property services we provide.

Tapered crack


We recently carried out a Full Building Survey on a property in Horley, Surrey. It was immediately apparent that the property is poorly maintained externally. There was a lot of vegetation growth around the base of the walls and coming from the gutters. This will increase the likeliness of penetrating damp occurring which may lead to necessary remedial works, which can be expensive. It is good working practice to regularly remove vegetation away from the property and to clear the gutters.

Vegetation growth coming from the gutters

Get in contact with our friendly team today on 01737 245947 or fill in the request form and we will be delighted to help with any queries you may have.

Finlock Gutters

Recently during a Full Building Survey in Crawley, Sussex we noticed the property has Finlock Gutters. These are precast concrete gutters, when new they work perfectly well, but keeping them well maintained is essential. As you can see from the photos attached, the damage that defective gutters can cause. Many companies can line Finlock Gutters making them water tight, this is a very simple solution and should be carried out to prevent leaks. The alternative to this solution is removing the pre cast gutters and replacing with UPVC gutters, however this would be a more expensive option.

Finlock Gutter Maintenance

Finlock Gutters Testing

Damage caused by a defective gutter

Breathable membrane

During a Full Building Survey we inspected a property in Horley, Surrey which has been newly altered and extended . There is a modern breathable membrane beneath the tiles. Unfortunately, where condensation is occurring, breathable membranes are meant to prevent condensation. It is not uncommon to find that not all breathable membranes work effectively and if issues like this occur, then proprietary tiles vents need to be installed to ensure a through flow of air through the roof void to prevent moisture laden air creating condensation issues.


When inspecting older buildings it is not uncommon to find wells in gardens. Many old wells are close to buildings and the sides of the wells must be regularly checked. If pressure from the soil pushes the brickwork in, then they can collapse allowing the ground around to move which can cause structural issues to the house. The well we recently inspected was near Norwood Hill, Charlwood and was in good order. The photographs show the bricks are laid upon each other with gaps so that water could run into the well. Due to the way they are formed, the construction is weak and regular checking should be carried out.

Old well with weak brick structure

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