Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 places a duty to manage asbestos onto persons or organisations that are responsible for maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises.
Many people are unclear how this legislation affects premises in the grey area between domestic and non-domestic such as flats or social housing. What most people are unaware of is that CAR is a subordinate document to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. In other words it is intended to elaborate on certain duties under that Act and to provide additional detail.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. They also have a duty to provide information to others about their workplace. These duties apply to all those that have control over a workplace.
Landlords and housing associations have responsibilities to maintain certain areas of the properties that they own or operate and will employ tradespeople to carry out work in them. These areas include communal areas, corridors and stairways in shared housing; plant rooms, communal storage and services; and access areas.
By definition that makes these areas workplaces and thus the landlord or manager has the health & safety duties to his employees as stipulated in the Act.
In practical terms this means that they must maintain an asbestos register, by having asbestos surveys carried out, and provide this information to anyone scheduled to carry out work in these communal areas.
This duty to manage can also be passed to tenants with certain types of tenancy agreement where they also inherit the responsibility to maintain communal areas. In this case they are covered under the Act as they have control over a workplace.