The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 came in to force from November 2002 but part deferred until 2004.
The “Duty Holder” includes anyone who has maintenance or repairing responsibilities for non-domestic premises(including common areas of blocks of flats) or the means of access to them, or any person controlling those premises or access.
Commercial property freeholders, employers, landlords, tenants, managing agents, licensees, lenders, investors and developers are included.
The “Duty Holder” must assist, manage and provide information on the risk of asbestos by carrying out an investigation to determine whether there is likely to be any asbestos present and, if so, to assess its condition.
A risk assessment must be performed and written-up including the likelihood of anyone being exposed.
A risk management system must be prepared, implemented and regularly monitored. A plan of the premises must be prepared, identifying the location and condition of any asbestos and available to anyone who is likely to disturb it e.g. service personnel, contractors, emergency services.
The line of your report “materials strongly presumed to contain asbestos by experience of the surveyor” is not very helpful to you without having a sample tested you can not carry out your responsibilities to manage the risk, if any. I see no point in having another survey again next year until this has been sampled, as you will be in the same position not knowing the extent of the risk.
My strong advice to you is to get an asbestos specialist who CAN work from height to enable you take a sample for analysis. As only then will you be able to establish the nature of the asbestos and manage any risk as the duty holder, if this sample comes back as being ‘low risk’ asbestos present you will then be able to label this area make sure it remains undisturbed and therefore minimise any risk. Without taking a sample I can’t see how you can fulfil your duties under the legislation.
Your local authority should able to assist with recommending suitable contractors to carry out this for you.
My advice is that you ignore these requirements at your peril! As Enforcement action can be taken by the Health & Safety Executive. Prosecution can result in an unlimited fine in the Crown Court?
I hope this answers your query but please do feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss this further.