Understanding Asbestos Surveys: Types, Importance, and When to Conduct One

As homeowners, property managers, and business owners, the health and safety of those who inhabit our properties are our top priorities. One crucial aspect of maintaining a safe environment is understanding the presence of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, in our buildings. In Sydney, where many older homes and commercial structures still contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), asbestos surveys have become essential in safeguarding the well-being of families, employees, and customers.

Asbestos surveys are professional inspections that seek to identify, locate, and assess the condition of any ACMs within a property. They provide crucial information necessary for developing an asbestos management plan, ensuring a safe and healthy environment. This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights into the world of asbestos surveys, including types of surveys, their importance, and when they should be conducted.

In this article, you will learn about the various types of asbestos surveys, such as Management Surveys, Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys, and Re-inspection Surveys. Each survey serves a different purpose and must be carried out under specific circumstances.

We will also explore the importance of these surveys in reducing the risk posed by asbestos exposure, guiding decision-making while renovating or demolishing properties, and ensuring compliance with Australian asbestos laws and regulations.

Finally, we will discuss when conducting an asbestos survey is appropriate and the factors determining the necessity for an inspection. Understanding which survey type to opt for and the timing for conducting them will help ensure your property remains safe and compliant with Australian standards.

Seeking the assistance of experienced professionals, like Sydney City Asbestos, for asbestos surveys, is essential in ensuring that your property in Sydney is accurately assessed and that all ACMs are appropriately managed. Delve into this in-depth guide to make informed decisions and prioritise the health and safety of all occupants in your residential or commercial space.

Types of Asbestos Surveys

Several types of asbestos surveys are designed to address specific situations or requirements. It is crucial to select the appropriate survey for your property to ensure the best outcome for safety and compliance.

  1. Management Survey: This survey is designed for routine property management and aims to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) during regular occupation and use. A management survey consists of a non-intrusive inspection of the property, during which suspected ACMs are sampled and analysed to confirm their asbestos content.
  2. Refurbishment and Demolition Survey: A refurbishment and demolition survey is necessary if you plan to conduct extensive property renovations or demolish a building. This in-depth, intrusive survey involves accessing all areas of the property, including floors, ceilings, and wall cavities. The goal is to locate and identify all ACMs to ensure their safe removal before refurbishment or demolition work begins.
  3. Re-inspection Survey: Following the initial identification of ACMs through a management survey or as part of an ongoing asbestos management plan, regular re-inspection surveys are vital. These surveys monitor the condition of known ACMs and evaluate whether changes have occurred that may require further action, such as encapsulation or removal.

The Importance of Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos surveys are essential for several reasons, all of which contribute to maintaining a safe environment for property occupants and compliance with Australian asbestos laws and regulations.

  1. Health and Safety: With the hazardous health effects of asbestos exposure well-established, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, identifying and managing ACMs in properties can save lives and prevent long-term health issues.
  2. Regulatory Compliance: Asbestos surveys ensure property owners adhere to Australian asbestos laws, including the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW). These regulations require identifying and managing ACMs in properties built before 31 December 2003, where the asbestos concentration exceeds trace levels.
  3. Avoid Costly Fines: Failure to comply with asbestos laws and regulations can result in severe financial penalties for property owners. Regular asbestos surveys are an effective way to avoid non-compliance and potential fines.
  4. Informed Decision-Making: Asbestos surveys provide valuable information that guides decisions relating to property renovations, demolitions, and ongoing management. Armed with accurate information about the location and condition of ACMs, property owners can make informed choices to protect the health and safety of all occupants.

When to Conduct an Asbestos Survey

Knowing when to conduct an asbestos survey and the appropriate survey type is crucial for maintaining safety and compliance. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Property Age: If your property was built or renovated prior to 31 December 2003, it is more likely to contain asbestos materials, and an initial management survey should be the first step.
  2. Renovations: If you are planning extensive renovations that may disturb potential ACMs, a refurbishment and demolition survey must be conducted before work begins.
  3. Changes in Property Use: If you are converting a property from commercial to residential use or vice versa, changes in occupancy or property use may warrant an asbestos survey to ensure the safety of future occupants.
  4. Routine Management: Regular re-inspection surveys, as part of an ongoing asbestos management plan for properties with known ACMs, must be conducted. The recommended timeframe for these surveys is every 12 to 24 months.
  5. Following Natural Disasters: In the aftermath of events such as storms, floods, or fires, which may have damaged or disturbed ACMs, an asbestos survey may be required to assess whether further action is necessary to protect occupants.


As property owners or managers, we have a duty to ensure that our residential or commercial properties remain safe and compliant with Australian asbestos laws. Asbestos surveys play a critical role in identifying and managing asbestos risks present within our buildings, protecting both occupants’ health and fulfilling regulatory requirements.

By understanding the various types of asbestos surveys, their importance, and when to conduct them, you can make informed decisions for your property in Sydney. Enlisting experienced professionals, like Sydney City Asbestos, for both initial and ongoing asbestos assessments, is a wise choice for maintaining a safe environment and protecting all those who depend on your property for their homes, workplaces, or services.

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