Before any upgrading, refurbishment, or demolition work commences on a building, a refurbishment and demolition survey is an essential step. This survey is mandatory for all types of structures, including commercial, residential, and industrial premises. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of refurbishment and demolition surveys, the regulatory requirements, and the procedures involved.

What Is a Refurbishment & Demolition Survey?

A refurbishment and demolition survey, often referred to as an R&D survey, is a thorough examination of a building’s structure and materials. It is conducted before any significant construction work, renovation, or demolition activities. The primary purpose of this survey is to identify and manage any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) within the building that could be disturbed during the proposed works.

Legal Requirements for Refurbishment & Demolition Surveys

  1. Health and Safety Regulations: Refurbishment and demolition surveys are legally required under health and safety regulations. These regulations ensure the safety and well-being of workers and occupants during construction or demolition activities.
  2. Control of Asbestos Regulations: The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 in the United Kingdom mandate the execution of refurbishment and demolition surveys in all buildings, regardless of their type or purpose. Failure to comply can lead to legal penalties.

Objectives of a Refurbishment & Demolition Survey

  1. Identification of ACMs: The primary goal of the survey is to locate and identify any ACMs present in the building. These materials can include asbestos insulation, asbestos cement, and other asbestos-containing products.
  2. Assessment of ACM Condition: The survey assesses the condition of identified ACMs to determine whether they pose an immediate risk or if they can remain undisturbed safely during the planned works.
  3. Development of an ACM Register: One of the key outcomes of the survey is the creation of an asbestos register. This document records the location, type, condition, and risk associated with each identified ACM.

Conducting a Refurbishment & Demolition Survey

  1. Hiring a Competent Surveyor: Employ a qualified and experienced asbestos surveyor with the necessary certifications and expertise to conduct an R&D survey accurately.
  2. Survey Methodology: The surveyor will follow a systematic approach, inspecting all accessible areas of the building. This includes visually examining ceilings, walls, floors, and potential ACM locations.
  3. Material Sampling: In some cases, the surveyor may need to take material samples for laboratory analysis to confirm the presence of ACMs.

Managing ACMs After Identification

  1. Risk Assessment: Once ACMs are identified, they are categorized by risk. This categorization guides the management actions. ACMs in good condition may be left undisturbed, while those in poor condition or at risk of disturbance may require remediation.
  2. Removal or Encapsulation: Depending on the risk assessment, ACMs may need to be removed or encapsulated by trained professionals to prevent exposure during construction or demolition.

Ensuring Safety and Compliance

  1. Occupant Awareness: It is crucial to inform occupants and workers about the presence of ACMs and the safety measures in place to prevent exposure.
  2. Safety Measures: Implement safety measures, including controlled access to areas with ACMs, worker training, and protective equipment.


In conclusion, refurbishment and demolition surveys are a legal requirement and an essential component of safe construction and demolition practices. These surveys help identify and manage the risks associated with asbestos-containing materials, ensuring the safety of workers, occupants, and the environment. Engaging qualified surveyors and adhering to regulatory requirements is paramount to the success of any refurbishment or demolition project. By conducting these surveys diligently, we can create safer environments and prevent asbestos-related health risks.