Every site has a legal duty to manage asbestos if the material is present. A dutyholder is the person or organisation that is responsible for on-site asbestos management. They are responsible for meeting regulations under asbestos law in their premises.
In many cases, the dutyholder will be made clear an explicit agreement such as a tenancy agreement or contract. The extent of the duty will depend on the nature of that agreement.
In a building occupied by one leaseholder, the agreement might be for either the owner or leaseholder to take on the full duty for the whole building; or they might share the duty. In a multi-occupied building, the agreement might be that the owner takes on the full duty for the whole building.
Or, it might be that the duty is shared. For example, the owner takes responsibility for the common parts while the leaseholders take responsibility for the parts they occupy. Sometimes, there might even be an agreement to pass the responsibilities to a managing agent.
In some cases, there may be no tenancy agreement or contract. If one is in place, it also may not specify who has responsibility for the maintenance or repair of the non-domestic parts of the building. In these cases, or where the premises are unoccupied, the duty is placed on whoever has control of all, or part of, the premises. Often, this will be the owner.
The duty to manage asbestos covers all non-domestic premises. Such premises include all industrial, commercial or public buildings such as factories, warehouses, offices, shops, hospitals and schools.
Non-domestic premises also include those ‘common’ areas of certain domestic premises, like purpose-built flats or houses converted into flats. The common areas of such domestic premises might include foyers, corridors, lifts and lift-shafts, staircases, roof spaces, gardens, yards, outhouses and garages, but would not include the flat itself.
Such common areas would not include rooms within a private residence that are shared by more than one household, such as bathrooms, kitchens etc. in shared houses and communal dining rooms and lounges in sheltered accommodation.
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It is the responsibility of the dutyholder to ensure that any asbestos on the premises is well managed and doesn’t present a threat. Remember, asbestos is only dangerous if it is damaged and the fibres are released into the atmosphere. The dutyholder must ensure asbestos risk stays low.
To comply with your duty to manage asbestos, the dutyholder should:
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