All the way from the Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974, to the first Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations of 1987 ~ up to the current Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, there is a considerable body of legislation governing how asbestos issues have to be dealt with.
There is also a further body of Approved Codes of Practice and also HSE Guidance Notes ~ which ‘sound like’ recommendations.
However, in practice, if some asbestos problem then takes you to Court, and you haven’t fully complied with all these documents, then the consequences can be profound.
The largest fine to date for asbestos violations, is one million pounds (in 2011).
More recently, in October 2015, a company was fined £ 35,000 for multiple failings, including not having the buildings surveyed for asbestos.