Asbestos in houses and where to find it. Asbestos in the building survey? Click to find out what to do
Including asbestos in Artex, floor tiles, soffits, roof tiles, wall cladding, garage ceilings, electric cupboards, guttering, loft tanks etc
Asbestos In Houses / Asbestos House Surveys
Questions and answers about asbestos in houses
Q. I'm selling / buying a house do I need an asbestos survey? A. I get many of my domestic asbestos survey jobs as a last minute request from the solicitor or seller because the building survey or homebuyers report has 'mentioned' that some asbestos materials may be present (based on their very limited knowledge of asbestos) in the building, if you are planning to carry out work in the building, an asbestos survey is probably a good idea to prevent accidental exposure, expensive removal or significant clean up costs (removal of invisible asbestos contamination).
Q. I'm worried that I may have asbestos in my house and that we / workman could disturb the asbestos, what can I do? A. An inspection of the building before anyone starts work would be ideal solution, asbestos was used in over 3000 building materials, much of it is low risk but some will have the ability to cause severe harm if made airborne (disturbed) and breathed in.
A large sample of asbestos materials commonly found in domestic properties can be found in the asbestos gallery
Asbestos In Houses
During the height of asbestos usage, 1950 to 1990, many building products incorporated asbestos fibres for various reasons, it is hard wearing, flexible, heat resistant, strong, easily mixable, plentiful and cheap. The 'wonder fibre' was exploited to the full and sold on it's excellent properties. Any building built or refurbished between these years may well contain a wide variety of asbestos materials.
Most asbestos materials are considered to be low risk because they are less likely to release fibres during normal use of the building, either because the fibres are tightly trapped within the material or the material only contains a small amount of asbestos.
There is a range of higher risk asbestos materials that need to be treated with respect and either protected or removed using licensed contractors, their disturbance is likely to release a significant amount of invisible asbestos fibres into the air, where they can be inhaled and lead to serious health problems in the future.
Communal Areas (Flats)
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).
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.
Just a Few Materials
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.
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 sometimes 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.
What not to do!
Don't take the word of a 'helpful' builder, plumber, friends mate, neighbour's 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 asbestos material is 'in the way' of building or refurbishment work, there is a good chance of you being told it's ok and not a problem, just so the work can continue and they can get paid for disturbing it!.
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!.
It only takes a phone call to get the right answers
Even if you don't know anything about asbestos in houses, there is usually no need to worry, get a proper assessment now when the materials and their risks can be explained in plain terms, for safety and peace of mind.
01843 592243 / Mob 07712068424