RICS Draft Guidance Note: Asbestos - legal requirements and best practice for property professionals and clients (4th edition)

RICS Asbestos 4th edition consultation draft

3.4 Asbestos in soils and construction and demolition materials

The presence of ACMs in soils and construction and demolition materials is a matter that is taken into account throughout the property life cycle: in site and land assessments for purchase due diligence, planning and development, demolition and site clearance, and waste disposal and recycling for the reuse of aggregates. Asbestos is also considered to be a contaminant, which is relevant to the assessment of contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

ACMs can range from intact materials such as asbestos cement sheets to highly damaged fibrous insulation and other asbestos debris, or bundles of asbestos fibres. Often, they are a legacy of demolition of previous buildings on the site, or the use of demolition arisings imported from other sites for made-ground, or simply ACMs that have been discarded and become buried. They may be on the surface and therefore visible to the surveyor, or buried and only revealed during site investigations, ground works or demolition. They carry the same asbestos fibre hazards as ACMs in buildings.

Risk assessment and management of asbestos in soils and construction and demolition materials is a specialist and complex area. Suitably trained, competent and insured professionals and contractors should be used to provide advice or carry out work in this area. Comprehensive practical guidance has been produced by a Joint Industry Working Group (including RICS and supported by the HSE), which was published by CL:AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments) and is known as CAR-SOIL. Other relevant guidance has been published by the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) and the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS).

4 Best practice