Asbestos and fire are two hazards that no homeowner, landlord, business owner, or builder would want to risk in their properties.

Asbestos and fire – a toxic combination

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website, any building erected prior to 2000 could contain asbestos (although it was used more as a building material between the 1950s and 1980s). Clearly, in the UK, a lot of properties and people could be at risk!

Did you know ‘The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012’ means there is a legal duty to “manage” the threat of asbestos fibres? Common areas must be checked to see if the premises contain asbestos. If it does, its location and condition must be recorded and you must put a plan in place to manage and act upon the risk.

Asbestos is very heat-resistant but can be highly toxic when exposed to fire, with the risk of smoke inhalation and debris left unburnt. Licensed survey companies can arrange commercial (or residential) fire and asbestos risk assessments for you.

Fire risk assessments are not optional

It is a legal requirement [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents/made] for all UK businesses, buildings of multiple occupancy (HMOs), and communal areas in flats to carry out a fire risk assessment (FRA).

The Fire Brigade actively enforces the legislation, and insurers could require evidence before agreeing to cover your premises.

Protect yourself with an FRA

You can engage a professional Fire Risk Assessor to carry out a detailed inspection on all areas of your property’s fire safety and risk. Not only does an FRA help you to protect your property, business, staff and customers, they can also make recommendations to address any problem areas and ensure that your fire safety procedures comply.

Don’t let your build or sale be an issue

During any residential or commercial sale, a purchaser’s solicitors will ask for evidence that a risk assessment has been carried out for fire safety and asbestos as a matter of course. So leaseholders (or property owners) will need proof, or risk causing a problem with a sale.

Builders will also need evidence or possibly a survey before starting work on your refurbishment or demolition.

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