When carrying out renovations or maintenance on a building , it is important to be able to identify potential asbestos.
By being able to prevent the unsafe removal of potential asbestos material you are already limiting your risk to health
All too often we receive calls from customers who have removed a material in their home and then queried if it could be asbestos. Panic sets in and sleepless nights start.
So , before carrying out any works on your property (domestic or commercial) , we have compiled a handy list which will help to identify potential asbestos , so that appropriate action can be taken.
So , why was Asbestos used in Homes in the UK?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral , mined for use in commercial building purposes. A cariogenic , asbestos is the cause of thousands of deaths in the UK year on year.
So , if asbestos is so dangerous then why was it used in so many building products?
Asbestos , at the time was a good building material and came with many benefits.
- Heat insulation
- Resistant to water and electricity
How you can you identify potential asbestos in your home in the UK?
1. Building Age
Asbestos was fully banned in 1999 in the UK. Taking this into account , the year 2000 is used as a cut-off point to determine whether asbestos could be in a building.
So , if your property was built after the year 2000 it is highly unlikely that asbestos can be found within your property.
2. Asbestos Surveys
Has an asbestos survey been carried out on the property before you acquired it? Asbestos surveys are completed to identify potential asbestos. Samples are taken on the suspect areas and lab analysis performed to determine the exact material.
If you can get hold of an asbestos survey for the property this will give you a good insight into whether it contains asbestos.
3. Neighbouring Properties
Sometimes neighbouring homes may have been built at the same time as yours , using the same materials. Therefore, if you can speak to your neighbour, they may give a good insight into whether asbestos was found in their home.
Obviously, this is not a fool proof way of determining asbestos , considering renovations which may have been carried out. However , it may give a good insight.
4. Location and Look of the Material
Checking the HSE Website guidance gives a great indicator on where asbestos can be hiding in Domestic and Commercial Properties. If you find a suspect material, there are also handy images of what potential asbestos may look like.
Our brief video on where asbestos was used in homes gives an idea on materials and locations they can be found.
What to do if you discover what you think is asbestos
Get the suspect material(s) tested.
Professional sampling and testing of material will determine if asbestos is present. A small sample of the suspect area is removed by a professional. The sample is then taken to a UKAS* accredited laboratory for analysis. Results are provided direct to the customer with a certificate.
What if the material is asbestos?
Keeping it in place
If the asbestos is not damaged or likely to be disturbed, then it is safe to be left in place. Getting a professional to visit to check the asbestos is always the best way to determine this. It is advisable to continually check the asbestos material to ensure it has not become damaged or shows no signs of deterioration.
Asbestos can be encapsulated and the life of it prolonged. Encapsulation is the process of applying a protective layer onto the asbestos containing material. The asbestos will need to be in good condition before encapsulation.
Asbestos which has been encapsulated will still need to be checked and in the case of commercial properties it will need to be fully managed.
Removal of Asbestos
The most effective way to mitigate cost and eliminate health risks it to have the asbestos removed. It can be costly to have asbestos removed in the case of licensed material , however for unlicensed material such as cement , artex , pipes and floor tiles the costs are much lower and the benefits outweigh the cost.
Need some advice about Asbestos waste?
Call us on 01623 272 611 and we'll be happy to help