Asbestos safety standard

The safety of our residents, employees and contractors is at the heart of all we do at LiveWest. We are committed to ensuring that arrangements to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres are delivered consistently to this standard, while meeting all regulations as an absolute minimum and best practice where appropriate.

This is our standard:

1.    We have a dedicated Asbestos Management team, working consistently across the whole business. The Director of Property Services is the duty holder and the Asbestos Manager is the designated ‘Responsible Person’.

2.    We have a comprehensive Asbestos Management Plan in place which explains who is responsible for the service, details our arrangements for managing asbestos and explains how we ensure that our staff are trained to work with asbestos.

3.    We review our Asbestos Management Plan annually in line with current regulations. This defines in detail how we manage asbestos.

4.    We employ fully trained and experienced asbestos surveyors and inspectors to undertake surveys of our properties.

5.    Our in house maintenance teams and other employees are trained in asbestos awareness. Asbestos awareness training is undertaken as part of the induction process for maintenance operatives as well as other key meetings. For other employees, specific training is provided according to their level of working with asbestos. Refresher training is undertaken every three years.

6.    All external contractors working directly with asbestos are licensed by The Health and Safety Executive for notifiable works or are trained to comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 for non-licensable or notifiable non-licensed work. All external contractors working on our stock are trained in asbestos awareness where required. Details of their training are obtained at procurement stage. Our Programme Managers are also responsible for checking that any contractors they are using have adequate training in place in accordance with the contract.

7.    We survey all stock with a build date of pre-2000 because asbestos has not been used in construction after that date. Asbestos management surveys involve visual inspections of all accessible areas and any potential materials containing asbestos are then sampled to determine the presence of asbestos or not. We also undertake refurbishment and demolition surveys to any pre-2000 property before the commencement of any major works or repairs which may disturb asbestos. These surveys are more intrusive inspections of areas such as plasterboard walls to ensure that any planned works will not disturb asbestos which could be hidden.

8.    We undertake re-inspections of known and presumed asbestos. For communal areas these are undertaken annually. For our homes, we undertake re-inspections on a risk based approach which equates to one, two or three year cycle of inspections. The timeframes are dependent on risk. 

The timescales are:

Risk level

Frequency of inspection and location

High risk

Annually. All communal areas and properties with high risk asbestos

Medium risk

Every two years. Known asbestos in properties

Low risk

Every three years. External parts of properties only

9.    Other in-house technical teams also report back on the presence and condition of asbestos when surveying our homes.

10.    Our policy is to leave asbestos in place unless it is at risk of damage or is damaged. If we think that works are required to protect or remove asbestos we will carry out these actions as swiftly as possible in accordance with the recommendations of the Surveyor or Inspector. If it is  to be a major risk, the Surveyor on site will isolate the area and arrange for immediate remedial works.

11.    We carry out quality assurance checks on our surveyors’ and inspectors’ work. This is done initially by desk top reviews and secondly by a proportion of site validation surveys. We undertake site validations to ensure that any materials thought to contain asbestos are identified and sampled. We also check levels of customer service.

12.    Our asbestos data is maintained in our asbestos register which is held on our asset management systems. This data is relayed to operatives and contractors so that they are aware of the presence of any asbestos before working in our properties

13.    Asbestos data is also made available to a number of employees, including those in the Customer Service Centre. We provide our employees with this information to ensure that they are able to pass to those individuals who need it.

14.    Asbestos data is provided to all new residents as part of their handover pack and residents are briefed before any asbestos related work starts in their homes.

15.    We manage our performance by regularly reviewing and reporting against a range of key performance targets:
       a.  number of re-inspections surveys completed vs planned number of surveys
       b.  number of communal area inspections undertaken within the year
       c.  number of domestic re-inspections undertaken on an annual basis.

16.    We arrange external audits of our asbestos data and our operating procedures to ensure that we are compliant with all the necessary regulations.

17.    We undertake audits of our external contractors’ work as well as 10% checks of all notifiable asbestos removal works to ensure quality consistency.

18.    Working with our Health and Safety team, we ensure that any asbestos exposure incident or near misses are investigated. Our emergency procedures are stated in our Asbestos Management Plan. Residents are informed as part of this procedure.

19.    We provide an asbestos leaflet when a new resident moves into one of our properties. General information about asbestos awareness is included on our website.