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Kasia

Survey or not to survey - asbestos - Birmingham

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Hello,

I've had an offer accepted on a house that will need a full refurb. I'm guessing it's from 60s (need to confirm) and potentially full of asbestos. Would you do a full building survey or an asbestos specific survey or both? I have only done homebuyers report before and I know it doesn't go into details about specific issues, just highlights potential problems and recommends to seek specialist advice. Is it the same with building survey? Or would they do sample asbestos testing as part of the survey? 

I'm trying to find out the cost of removing asbestos (potentially in the old electric heaters) if it turns out necessary.

Any advice or recomendations for local surveyors would be greatly appreciated!

Regards

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Hi Kasia,

I'm surprised no one has replied to this. The first thing is to identify if you have asbestos. A survey is obviously the best starting point but I have never heard anyone do it on a residential property. I work in project management so have done quite a few asbestos surveys. Asbestos is only an issue if it is disturbed and released into the air. Therefore if you aren't doing any major works just painting, decorating, replacing kitchen, bathroom etc. it shouldn't be an issue.

You may be able to speak with the local council and see if they offer any services. If the property was ex-council they may have records of previous surveys, maybe a long shot with the council!

If you want any advice regarding surveys just let me know, they tend to do either a 'management' survey to identify it or a 'demolition' survey which takes samples and analyses it. Trust me you don't want to be paying for a demolition survey if its not needed! I would therefore just go with a building survey at this stage. If you have major concerns maybe you can push the seller to do one as part of the sale?

If you want to discuss further let me know.

Thanks,

Ben

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Thanks for your reply Ben, that's very helpful. 

The property requires a new heating system so we'd need to get rid of the old style storage electric heaters which apparently are very likely to contain asbestos. That would definitely mean disturbing and releasing it into the air. Hence why our concern. 

It's not ex council so that's probably not an option. 

Do you know if the building survey would identify it? Also, do you know if asbestos surveys provide a cost of the removal should we need it? And what are the rough costs of such surveys? 

Thanks again! 

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Hi Kasia,

Not sure about the building survey. Ive bought 3 houses and never had one done!

Even if they did identify it you would still need to get it removed so i would say you should either get the survey done anyway so that the whole house is covered or use the money for the survey to have it removed. Otherwise you will be paying for a survey to tell you what you already know followed by having to pay for removal. 

I dont expect that the survey would give a cost but i would estimate about £500. The survey, from my experience large projects would be about £250.

These are just rough figures though, it will depend on the amount to be removed etc.

Hope that helps.

Ben

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Thanks Ben.

The property was in a good condition overall so we're leaning towards skipping the building survey and using the money for asbestos survey instead. Any recommendations for survey companies in or around Birmingham?

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Hi Kasia,

To be honest I could only advise on the larger scale companies but they may also survey residential property. One company I have previously used is Lucion (https://www.lucionservices.com/). They were pretty good but like I say I have only used them for corporate surveys.

Hope that helps, sounds like you are taking all the right steps!

I live in Telford but work for a company in Birmingham, if you ever want to grab a coffee I would be more than happy to offer any other advice on refurbs and project management etc.

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