Meet the Experts: Matt Potter


Next in our ‘Meet the experts: A year in review’ series offering insights from across Bureau Veritas, we speak to Matt Potter, our service line manager for asbestos.

Here is Matt’s interview with Vicky Shah, sector lead for retail, hospitality and leisure, where he discusses his vast experience of asbestos services and why cutting corners is not an option.


Vicky Shah: Tell us about your own experiences through the years and how they help you in your role at Bureau Veritas.

Matt Potter: I’ve been working in the asbestos industry since 2001, first as an asbestos consultant completing surveys and conducting air monitoring for a wide range of clients across domestic properties, commercial retail premises and more complex industrial sites.

I progressed to project manager and regional manager, before joining Bureau Veritas in 2015 as area manager for the South, where I was able to use my experience overseeing project delivery and scoping, pricing and coordinating the delivery of asbestos services.

Bureau Veritas gave me the opportunity to manage large contracts and dealing with key clients across a wide spectrum of industry sectors, from small independent retailers to large retail banks and office buildings. I’m now the service line manager for asbestos, actively managing the asbestos business within the Health and Safety Services division of Bureau Veritas, but the asbestos surveyor in me will never leave. I have a passion for safety and compliance in the workplace and I always find myself constantly surveying buildings as I walk around them whatever the situation.

VS: What is the most significant legislation that impacts your clients and how can Bureau Veritas support them?

MP: The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (CAR 2012) is the legislation which underpins the requirement to manage asbestos within buildings. Regulation 4 - the duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic properties – is the key driver in compliance.

VS: What are the key areas to be considered?

MP: In line with Regulation 4 of CAR 2012, it is vitally important that the duty holder has been identified for each site, and that the duty holder has been sufficiently trained and understands their responsibilities under the CAR 2012.

The Regulations tell us that for all buildings built prior to 2000 we need to find out if asbestos is present, how much there is and what condition it is in. This is usually by way of an asbestos management survey.

VS: What is required to achieve compliance?

MP: When you are effectively managing the asbestos in your portfolio of properties you will have a comprehensive asbestos management plan/policy underpinning all actions that strive for compliance with CAR 2012.

This will include key personnel roles and responsibilities, identification of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) and an asbestos management survey for each site. The plan should also include and frequency of review/monitoring, clear instructions on who, when and how you will instruct project specific refurbishment or demolition surveys, details on training staff, as well as emergency and decontamination procedures.

Alongside the asbestos management plan/policy, an up to date asbestos register must be made available to anyone who may come into contact with the building fabric. This document identifies all ACMs at each site, including their location, condition and extent.

VS: In your mind, why does it sometimes go wrong?

MP: One the biggest challenge comes when the duty holders are unaware of their responsibilities or even that they are responsible for the management of asbestos within their buildings. Sufficient training must be given to the duty holders (CAR 2012, Regulation 10) to ensure that they are fully competent for the role.

Another challenge comes when you have a duty holder responsible for the management of asbestos within a building and various teams within an organisation that are responsible for refurbishment projects. This can leave gaps in data from project surveys feeding in to overall asbestos management, which reinforces the point about having a robust asbestos management plan/policy.

There remains a belief that a single Asbestos Survey (generally carried out before 2012) will achieve compliance with CAR 2012, but striving for compliance is a continuous work in progress. It requires continued updates of management policies/plans as and when personnel change roles, as well as regular updates to management surveys and asbestos registers to monitor the condition of identified ACMs.

VS: How does your team help?

MP: My team supports clients towards achieving and maintaining compliance with CAR 2012, by first understanding the organisation, its specific requirements and the sites/buildings in its portfolio.

We have a large number of highly skilled consultants that are available to offer services such as:

• Support in writing/reviewing asbestos management plans/policies
• Gap analyses of existing asbestos management plans/policies
• Asbestos management/refurbishment/demolition surveys
• Asbestos re-inspections
• A full range of asbestos air monitoring and four stage clearance services

Most importantly, our clients can have confidence in the competence and experience of our team. Each consultant holds the relevant BOHS proficiency modules and takes part in RICE schemes, while Bureau Veritas is accredited by UKAS for ISO 17020 - Inspection and ISO 17025 – Testing. We also have a fully UKAS accredited asbestos bulk analysis laboratory at our Harlow office and all of our consultants are regularly audited by our in-house TQR (Technical, Quality and Risk) department to ensure we can provide consistency and quality to our clients UK-wide.

VS: What one top tip would you give your clients?

MP: If you’re unsure have it surveyed, sampled, tested and confirmed. It’s quite simple really but the repercussions of cutting corners where health and safety is concerned are unthinkable. Asbestos is the hidden killer!

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