Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told that Home Inspectors Southern, which carried out the survey, had failed to identify asbestos cement and insulating board containing chrysotile (white) and amosite (brown) asbestos.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the worker who carried out the survey had no training in asbestos surveying or previous experience with a qualified person or accredited organisation.
The survey incorrectly advised that a non-licensed contractor could be employed to remove the large quantities of asbestos insulating board identified.
The HSE also found that the client, Vital Property Solutions, had not asked Home Inspectors Southern for any information to prove its skills, knowledge, experience or training in asbestos surveying.
Vital Property Solutions pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £8,400. Home Inspectors Southern pleaded guilty to the same offence and was fined £4,800. Both companies must pay costs of £930.
HSE inspector Edward Fryer said: “Asbestos surveyors have a duty of care to those persons who use the information they provide. The survey missed a significant amount of asbestos contaminated materials (ACMs) thus increasing the risk to workers, who would be disturbing the fabric of the building during the refurbishment/demolition project. “The risk arises from workers unknowingly working on ACM and not taking effective precautions to prevent exposure and spread of asbestos fibers.”