The presence of asbestos in or around a building can pose serious health hazards to its occupants.

Experts have shown asbestos to be responsible for up to 18% of lung cancers.

Thus the ban on the use of asbestos in the United Kingdom and other countries was critical.

We’ve put together a useful guide to uncovering what an asbestos surveyor’s job entails.

This includes what they do, the different types of asbestos surveyors, how to become an asbestos surveyor, and the skill and competencies required.

What is an Asbestos Surveyor?

An asbestos surveyor is a professional tasked with inspecting buildings and machinery to determine the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACM’s).

They carry out surveys called Asbestos Management Surveys or Refurbishment Demolition Asbestos Surveys.

In the UK, the supply and use of all forms of asbestos, including amphibole (1985), have been banned since 1999.

Hence there is a major concern that most homes built before 1999 may contain certain levels of the material.

Exposure poses serious health risks such as various forms of cancer and other health concerns.

Qualification of an asbestos surveyor:

What Does an Asbestos Surveyor Do?

Asbestos Surveyor Taking Sample

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The job of an asbestos surveyor is to carry out asbestos surveys on selected properties.

In particular, the surveyor begins with a visual examination of the proposed site, followed by sample collection, asbestos testing and documentation.

Once completed, the surveyor will create a report recommending a demolition or maintenance plan.

Furthermore, under the Control of Asbestos Regulations, an asbestos survey is legally required for:

  1. Premises built before 2000
  2. Construction premises
  3. Other Public locations

Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence under UK law.

The ‘duty holder’ may be punished with a fine or imprisonment.

In addition, competent asbestos surveyors should understand the various health risks associated with different types of asbestos and what measures should be taken to dispose of them.

Types of Asbestos Survey


An asbestos surveyor produces different types of surveys depending on what they’re aiming to achieve.

In each of these surveys, an asbestos surveyor will apply different procedures to accurately identify the presence of asbestos containing materials.

Below are explanations of the different surveys:

Asbestos Screening

Asbestos screening helps surveyors to reduce the health risk of inhaling asbestos fibres when repairing asbestos-infused materials.

The surveyor targets samples from areas they suspect could contain asbestos.

These samples are sent to an accredited asbestos laboratory for analysis.

Limited Asbestos Surveys

A Limited Asbestos Survey involves a more comprehensive sampling of unsafe materials.

This survey is usually shaped to meet customer needs and would see surveyors target samples for analysis in suspected areas such as roofs, specific walls, windows etc.

Pre-Renovation Survey

Under this type of survey, an asbestos surveyor assesses the path of construction or renovation for materials containing asbestos.

The older the building, the more necessary this test becomes.

Once this survey is completed, the renovation process is less likely to harm the environment since asbestos materials are removed

Pre-Demolition Survey

As an asbestos surveyor, you must comprehensively survey all parts of the building marked for demolition.

It includes inspecting all interior and exterior building materials that could contain asbestos fibres.

This survey is particularly important to protect construction workers from asbestos exposure.

How to Become an Asbestos Surveyor

Hazmat Suit

If you’re planning a career as an asbestos surveyor, there are several routes to choose from.

The minimum qualification needed is a high school diploma or GCSE.

Once acquired, you may go through the route of a university or college degree, training course, or apprenticeship.

With this in mind, most employers focus more on skill-based hiring than on university or college degrees.

Certain employers may require a university degree or certificate before employing.

University or College

If you plan the university route, you’ll need to complete a surveying, construction, civil, or building engineering degree.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors must approve the degree you choose to study.

Also, you must complete all 3 A levels for an undergraduate course.

After completing your undergraduate course, you can enrol for specialist training to become an asbestos surveyor.

Colleges can also help on your journey to becoming an asbestos surveyor.

You’ll need a Level 3 Award in asbestos surveying.

You can choose to work or further your training with a Level 4 Certification in an asbestos laboratory and project management.

More experience is great to improve skills and relevancy in the market.

Training Course

This course requires no formal entry requirements.

Anyone may take a training course to become an asbestos surveyor.

All you need to succeed is a strong willingness to learn, participate in training and follow appropriate instructions.


An apprenticeship is the way to go if you’re interested in gaining hands-on experience in the asbestos survey industry.

After completion, you qualify to work as a surveying technician, and with more training, you can become a fully qualified asbestos surveyor.

Work Experience

Your work experience usually influences how potential employers will view you.

People with a lot of work experience are generally seen as more employable than others.

You can gain work experience from an asbestos survey company by working part or full-time.

Ensure you always keep your CV up to date with the most recent work experience.

Skills & Competencies

Certain skills can play a role in your success in becoming an asbestos surveyor.

Most of these skills require long hours of dedication for them to stick.

Below are some of these skills:


As an asbestos surveyor, your documentation is relied on by different parties involved in a case.

As such, you’re expected to conduct your duty with impartiality.

Any sign of manipulation or falsity is greatly frowned upon and in extreme circumstances, can lead to conviction and a possible custodial sentence.

In all cases, an asbestos surveyor must abide by the legal guidelines surrounding their work.

Environmental Awareness

The presence of asbestos in a building is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

As a surveyor, your environmental awareness ought to be high to aid early detection of asbestos.

This way, you can easily prevent further damage to the environment.

Collaboration & Adaptability

Carrying out a successful asbestos survey is more like a team sport.

You’ll need to collaborate with different people across the board.

In this regard, good team working skills are vital.

How well you collaborate with your teammates may determine the type of results you receive.

An asbestos surveyor should also be able to adapt different types of surveys to assess the presence of asbestos on-premises.

Communication Skills

An effective surveyor needs to show excellent communication skills.

Clear communication is needed to avoid confusion and other problems that may arise from miscommunication.

At the bare minimum, you should be able to communicate the details of a job with a client and also pass on instructions to appropriate parties.

Decision Making Skills

A huge part of being an asbestos surveyor is decision making.

From start to finish, you’ll need to be able to use your learned experience to ascertain:

  • Where samples should be taken
  • Which one’s are sent to a lab
  • Which results to follow
  • What action is needed to remove asbestos from buildings

How Much Do Asbestos Surveyors Earn?

Several factors can influence the amount of money you earn as an asbestos surveyor.

For example, your salary may depend on your level of experience, the location of the job, the nature of the employer and your working schedule.

On average, an asbestos surveyor can earn anywhere between £20,000 to £70,000 per annum.

You can find a further breakdown below.

  • £20,000 – £30,000 pa (earned by asbestos surveyors with little experience).
  • £30,000 – £45,000 pa (earned by surveyors with more experience in their job portfolio)
  • £40,000 – £70,000 pa (reserved for top or senior asbestos surveyors in the industry)

Asbestos surveyors with a chartered certificate (MRICS) or a fellow (FRICS) are generally expected to earn in the £70,000+ pa region.

Jobs may offer other benefits and compensation to their employees.

Selecting a Competent Asbestos Surveyor

Asbestos Sample Test Tube

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If you need a competent asbestos surveyor for a project, your first step is to consult the UKAS website.

While on this website, you can select from a pool of accredited surveyors and asbestos testing laboratories.

Your goal should be to select an asbestos surveyor who;

  • Pays attention to detail and has a wealth of survey knowledge.
  • Has gained extensive experience conducting asbestos surveys.
  • Is trustworthy and professional enough to show impartiality and integrity.
  • Will abide by recommended national guidelines for an asbestos survey.


There are different routes through which you can become an asbestos surveyor.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to become a competent surveyor, irrespective of the route you follow.

Beyond university degrees and asbestos training courses, ensure you focus on relevant skills such as cooperation, communication and decision-making.