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Living with a costly legacy.

Byline: Helen Logan

In spite of new asbestos regulations, which came into force last year, around 3,500 people still die annually in Great Britain from lung diseases related to past exposure, and this figure is expected to continue to rise year on year over the next decade.

Figures for the North-east are high, particularly among former shipyard and industry workers.

Up to 500,000 commercial, industrial and public buildings in the UK are thought to contain asbestos.

So long as it is in good condition and not damaged or disturbed, it provides no risk to health.

So if properly managed, no-one is in danger.

Current legislation demands an asbestos survey for non-domestic buildings to identify and record the presence and condition of any asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

The duty holder, that is the person or company responsible for the building, is then required to ensure on-going monitoring of the condition.

"Most developers and landlords are taking their responsibilities seriously and carrying out monitoring surveys as required," says Colin Sadler, of Lycetts Insurance Brokers.

"Many presume that because they have carried out their duties within the letter of the law by monitoring any ACMs, the costs of removal, should this be necessary, will be covered by their insurance policy. However, this is not the case.

"In the first instance, if the building and ACM is damaged through an insured peril, such as fire, storm, or accidental damage, a correctly arranged buildings insurance policy will provide cover for the removal and disposal of the materials in this circumstance.

He suggests: "It is essential however that, once the survey has taken place, further investigation is undertaken to assess the anticipated cost of both asbestos removal and disposal and this cost assessment must form part of the rebuilding cost calculation so that the premises are not under-insured."

However, if a problem arises during the survey stage where unsafe asbestos is detected which requires removal, cover will not be provided by the insurers.
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Title Annotation:Business Weekly
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2005
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