Reply To: Material Assessment of Presumed Items / Area

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#4873
Derek
Participant

    To close this one down – we got confirmation from UKAS that our submission for this finding was accepted. This will be a long post I am afraid – but hopefully it will be of use to others should a similar issue be raised.

    UKAS did not formally write anything on the portal to us to discuss what we had submitted – they just accepted that what we put in the root cause and action sections was acceptable – below is the we background: and what we submitted. Should any member want to discuss it further I am happy to arrange a meeting with you to explain in greater detail what we did – please message me on this platform and I will arrange with you privately.

    Finding raised:

    Where no access is gained into an item e.g. a fuse box or a room, then asbestos materials should be presumed to be present until proven otherwise. Appropriate scoring should then be included in the material assessment part of the report.

    Our written response:

    Note: we distinguish between and item and a material in our recording of surveys.

    An item we class as some sort of “thing” in an area that could be accessible e.g. within boxing, within a ceiling void, within live electrics etc.,

    We class a presumed material as an identifiable suspect ACM that we can actually see and assess e.g. a cross reference to a previously sampled item; a strongly presumed item that we cannot sample (either due to H&S concerns e.g. rope flash guard within a live electric box that is lying open or a cement flue pipe that is operational or a material we are confident is an ACM due to experience but cannot sample) etc.

    The Standard: ISO17020 para 7.4.4

    All  information  listed  in  7.4.2 shall  be  reported correctly,  accurately,  and  clearly.  Where the  inspection report  or  inspection  certificate  contains  results  supplied  by  subcontractors,  these  results  shall  be  clearly identified.

    [we have interpreted this that it is not accurate, correct or clear should we default to scoring presumed item as a 12]

    The guidance: HSG264 page 17

    Presumption or identification of ACMs

    Para 37 The duty to manage requirement in CAR 2012 regulation 4 allows materials to be ‘presumed’ to contain asbestos. Therefore in the asbestos survey, materials can be presumed to contain asbestos. There are two levels of ‘presumption’:

    1. Strong presumption: in this case the material looks as if it is an ACM, or that it might contain asbestos. This conclusion can be reached through visual inspection alone by an experienced, well-trained surveyor, familiar with the range of asbestos products. Examples of ‘strong presumption’ would be:
    §  where laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of asbestos in a similar construction material;

    §  materials in which asbestos is known to have been commonly used in the manufactured product at the time of installation (eg corrugated cement roof and wall sheeting, cement gutters and drainpipes, cement water tanks, ceiling tiles, insulating boards);

    §  materials which have the appearance of asbestos but no sample has been taken, eg thermal insulation on a pipe where fibres are clearly visible.

    2. A ‘default’ situation where a material is presumed to contain asbestos because there is insufficient evidence (eg no analysis) to confirm that it is asbestos free, or where a dutyholder/surveyor decides that it is easier under the planned management arrangements to presume certain materials contain asbestos. Many non-asbestos materials will also be presumed to contain asbestos using this system. There is a further default situation where materials must be presumed to contain asbestos. The default applies to areas which cannot be accessed or inspected. In this situation any area not accessed or inspected must be presumed to contain asbestos, unless there is strong evidence that it does not.

    Additional info from other guidance:

    The survey guide has the following: (I have looked at HSG248 and HSG227, but they don’t shed any more light on things).

    HSG264 58 If any restrictions have to be imposed on the scope or extent of the survey, these items must be agreed by both parties and clearly documented. They should be agreed before work starts (eg at the preliminary site meeting and walk-through inspection or during discussion (see paragraphs 77–78)) and are likely to form part of the contract. If during the survey the surveyor is unable to access any location or area for any reason, the dutyholder must be informed as soon as possible and arrangements made for later access. If access is not possible, then the survey report should clearly identify these areas not accessed. Limitations should be kept to an absolute minimum by ensuring that staff are adequately trained, insured and have the appropriate equipment and tools.

    HSG264 45 The survey will usually involve sampling and analysis to confirm the presence or absence of ACMs. However, a management survey can also involve presuming the presence or absence of asbestos. A management survey can be completed using a combination of sampling ACMs and presuming ACMs or, indeed, just presuming. Any materials presumed to contain asbestos must also have their condition assessed (i.e. a material assessment).

    HSG264 Material assessment algorithm

    125 In the material assessment process, the main factors influencing fibre release are given a score which can then be added together to obtain a material assessment rating. The four main parameters which determine the amount of fibre released from an ACM when subject to disturbance are:

    • product type;
    • extent of damage or deterioration;
    • surface treatment; and
    • asbestos type.

    Please also look at Figure 5 Asbestos building plan that i cannot screenshot in this forum for reference:

    The orange highlights do not appear in the example register either. And are not scored for Material Assessment either in the guidance.

    We also stated extracts from CAR2012 sections 5&6.

    We concluded our statement with:

    Root cause summary is “Other” we do not believe that we are incorrectly not scoring items or areas that we are Presuming (highlighting) may contain asbestos as detailed above.