Asbestos boarding on loft hatch in domestic property

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Kent Surveys - Asbestos management and surveys of domestic properties since 1987 - quick and inexpensive

info@kentsurveys.com or jerry@kentsurveys.com

Talk to Jeremy direct:  Mobile 07712068424 - 01843592243

A larger sample of asbestos materials commonly found in domestic properties can be found in the asbestos gallery

 


Kent Surveys: Asbestos cement water tank in domestic property

Asbestos cement sheet undercloaking to tiled roof

Asbestos clad iron rest found in domestic property

AIB asbestos board used as domestic fire plinth

Asbestos panel on old ironing board commonly found in domestic properties

asbestos cement and rope used in Aga style flue joints

asbestos insulation board used in entrance canopy soffit panel



 

Asbestos In Houses

 

Different asbestos materials likely to be found.

Not all asbestos materials are the same, most are low risk and can be easily managed, some are higher risk and need to be treated with respect, because they contain a lot of asbestos fibres and if damaged can pose a significant health risk. The asbestos survey report will tell you which of these materials you have and provide information on how to deal with them without significant cost or disruption to your plans.

I'm selling / buying a house do I need an asbestos survey?  

I usually get most of my domestic asbestos survey jobs as a request from the solicitor or buyer/seller because the building survey has 'mentioned' that asbestos may be present in the building. If you are planning to carry out work in the building either immediately or in the future, an asbestos survey is probably a good idea to prevent accidental exposure or expensive removal and clean up costs (asbestos contamination). If you are employing contractors to work in the property you will have a legal duty to inform them where the asbestos is, so they can avoid disturbing it.

Communal Areas

Communal areas include gardens, entrances, corridors, stairs, landings, hallways, meter rooms, basements, laundry rooms, storage rooms, anywhere that is shared by more than one tenant, this includes the roof and external materials (guttering, facia, soffit, roof tiles etc).

Hidden Asbestos

Because asbestos was used in many different building materials, it is quite common to find it houses, bungalows, flats etc, which were built before 1990. Many materials are not easily recognised as containing asbestos, because of the different reasons it was used in materials, sometimes for strength, sometime for flexibility and sometimes and most commonly for its fire protection and insulation properties. Most are low risk, some may be high risk  but you need to know the difference in order to deal with it and manage it.

Finding and dealing with asbestos in houses and flats

"But my builder/neighbour/cat said it wasn't asbestos!"

Just a few asbestos materials found in houses

Why Survey Houses

Some of the asbestos materials commonly found in houses are, basement pipework, basement ceilings, basement fire doors, fire protection of basement stairwell, fire door to basement, bitumen damp course, vent lining in walls, asbestos cement outer walls, cement downpipes, cement tiles on canopy, AIB entrance soffit, AIB main soffit, asbestos cement guttering, asbestos floor tiles and bitumen adhesive, asbestos paper carpet backing, AIB fire doors, Artex and textured coatings, AIB door surrounds, AIB ceiling boarding, asbestos cement ceiling boarding, AIB ceiling tiles, asbestos cement boiler flue, AIB electric fire plinth and rear panel, AIB fireplace infill panel, asbestos cement inner walls, AIB garage ceiling, AIB garage walls, AIB lining of under stair cupboard including door, heating system pipe insulation throughout, asbestos cement roof tiles and shingles, asbestos cement guttering, asbestos cement loft tanks, asbestos cement loft flues, bitumen roof felt, etc etc.

Domestic surveys/sampling are usually requested by people buying a house who note that asbestos was mentioned in the building survey and are concerned that it is either dangerous or will cost a lot of money to remove. Mortgage and insurance companies have also requested asbestos surveys for similar reasons.

Most asbestos materials in domestic properties are quite safe and should be left alone unless the material is likely to be disturbed by refurbishment work to the property. 

Domestic surveys and sampling are not yet a legal requirement of the asbestos regulations, although you do have a legal duty to warn contractors about any asbestos in your property (hence the need for a survey) or unless it is the communal areas of rented accommodation. 

What not to do!

Don't take the word of a 'helpful' builder, plumber, friends mate,  neighbours cat etc, asbestos is such a huge subject and the risk of exposure is not worth relying on the word of someone with very limited knowledge of it.

Don't let anyone tell you its the 'safe' sort when its not, AIB is AIB and Cement is Cement, if disturbed, one (AIB) will give you heavy dose of lethal fibres the other (cement) will not. If the material is in the way of building or refurbishment work there is more chance of you being told it's ok, just so the work can continue. Stand your ground and get it checked out by someone who knows what they are talking about, it usually doesn't cost anything and you could save yourself a lot of grief later!.

Finding Out

We carry out single asbestos sampling and full domestic asbestos surveys, giving the full material risk assessments based on the same parameters (material information) as the commercial and industrial surveys, explaining the risk for each material and recommendations for management and risk reduction. If asbestos removal is required we can provide an honest and accurate cost for removal based on the current regulations.

Many domestic asbestos materials can be removed with modest control measures because of the nature of the material (low friability), honesty is the key here, as a rough guide, cost can be associated with friability (ability to release fibres) low friability (not many fibres released) = low cost, high friability (many fibres released) = higher cost.

What To Do

Having asbestos removed from a property, just because it is asbestos, is fairly common and quiet understandable because asbestos is an emotive subject and because of the common knowledge as to the health risks associated with the material. It is difficult to explain to people that removing the material actually creates more risk than is necessary, because it is planned disturbance and unless the very strict control measures are in place to contain the airborne fibres, exposure and invisible contamination could result.

The Real Risks

It is sometimes difficult to convey to people that most asbestos materials in houses are extremely low risk, like floor tiles and cement sheeting, the fibres are so tightly trapped in the material than even when broken the material is not going to release much.

On the other side of the coin we have AIB and Artex (textured ceilings etc) although Artex has a low asbestos content the most common method of removal is scraping which is very bad for asbestos materials because the act of removing thin layers of dry asbestos material increases the amount of fibres released with each scrape.

There are many other methods for removal that would reduce the risk to a more acceptable level or we would recommend over-boarding, skimming or removal of the whole ceiling rather than just the surface coating. AIB contains 30-40% Brown (Amosite) asbestos and when broken can release a huge amount of asbestos fibres, we always recommend that it is left alone wherever possible and should only be removed under strictly controlled conditions, this is where an honest appraisal will be of great benefit if a confirmation sample is required.

Domestic asbestos materials are not strictly governed by the regulations, its down to the individual to determine, which 'expert' to use, how safe they want to be and how much they want to spend on being safe.

It only takes a phone call to get the right answers 01843 592243 / Mob 07712068424