Commercial Property Investment? Asbestos-Related Documents

The occurrence (or lack thereof) of asbestos containing materials in and around commercial premises should be a matter of concern for anyone looking to invest in commercial property. Exposing employees to asbestos containing materials poses a threat to their safety.

Prospective property investors should also be interested in the question of asbestos because it can affect their investment budget by creating the need for asbestos management before the property in question is considered to be habitable. Here are two documents that prospective investors should ask for before they make commercial property acquisitions.  

The Asbestos Register

Before a potential investor agrees to purchase commercial property, they should ask to be shown the asbestos register of the property. In an ideal situation, this document should provide accurate information on the occurrence and distribution of asbestos containing materials around the property. 

The information referred to above includes the type of asbestos contained in the various materials, the exact location of asbestos containing materials around the property and a description of the physical condition of such materials.

Commercial property owners are required by the law to have an asbestos register that is updated regularly. This requirement can only be waived if no asbestos containing materials have been identified around the property or if the occurrence of these materials from time to time is unlikely.

The Asbestos Management Plan

In the event that there's positive identification of asbestos containing materials around the property, a prospective investor should proceed to ask the property owner for his/her asbestos management plan.

Asbestos management plans will contain vital information on strategies that have already been put in place (or those that will be put in place) in a bid to manage the risks posed by exposure to asbestos containing materials.

Because the structural condition of commercial buildings keeps changing, it is important for prospective investors to confirm that the management plan presented to them has been recently updated in preparation for the property sale. A recently updated asbestos management plan will also be more compliant with the building codes in the specific locality.

While at it, prospective investors should check that a management plan spells out the safety precautions taken (and those that will be taken) to protect employees exposed to asbestos containing materials in their line of duty.

There's no room for mistakes when investing in commercial property. Be sure to ask for the discussed documents. For assistance, talk to a professional about an asbestos management plan.