Under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 it is necessary for the common parts of residential blocks of flats, whether purpose built or converted from a house, to be tested for the presence of asbestos.
The scope of the duty is more or less identical to the scope of the duty in respect of the Fire Safety Order 2005 in that it extends to all common parts of the building. These include the entrance hallway, communal hallways, possibly the roof, any communal car parking areas and store rooms and cupboards.
The duty holder is the person who is managing the building. That person may be the freeholder, an intermediate landlord, a management company or a managing agent depending on the circumstances.
The duty holder must find out whether the premises contain asbestos, and if so where it is and what condition it is in. If there is any doubt as to whether asbestos is present materials should be presumed to contain asbestos.
The assessment should consider the risk posed by any asbestos found in the building. If a risk is posed a plan should be put in place to manage the risk.
Anyone working or living at the building should then be warned about the presence of the asbestos. Ideally it should be removed where possible. Asbestos is not harmful unless moved, and so if asbestos is discovered it should be removed by a specialist.