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Asbestos Inspection and Removal

Asbestos Overview

Asbestos has been widely used in the building industry over the last 100 years and particularly in the last 50 years up until it was finally banned in the late 1990s. Many homes contain asbestos without the owners even being aware of its presence.

Most people know what an asbestos roof looks like but very few home owners realise that asbestos can also be found in quite a diverse range of relatively common building products. Some of these are as follows:

  • Asbestos roofing material.
  • Asbestos wall panels.
  • Asbestos ceiling panels.
  • Asbestos fire blankets.
  • Some acoustic ceiling tiles.
  • Some sound proofing wall panels.
  • Some soffit panels (located under the eaves).
  • Some felt roof lining materials.
  • Some insulation materials used to lag hot pipes and hot water cylinders.
  • Some insulation materials used in ceilings.
  • Some hessian covered cork notice boards.
  • Some vinyl floor tiles.
  • Some artex type wall and ceiling coverings.
  • Some bricks used in night storage heaters.
  • Some bricks and products used in fireplaces.

It is quite possible that you will have asbestos in your home but while you should be wary of this there might not be any great cause for alarm. Asbestos can cause lung cancer if inhaled as a fine dust and as such it should never be sawed, sanded, drilled, brushed or disturbed in any way whereby the production of dust might result. Provided asbestos is not disturbed, the likelihood of major problems developing are very much reduced.

Recent legislation (Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002) has meant that owners of commercial and communal premises must make up a plan to manage asbestos in their property. They must ensure that any asbestos present is not disturbed in a way that may result in a hazard to health.

It should be noted that at this point in time (2004) there is no UK legislation covering requirements for home owners to manage the asbestos in their homes. However, some industry sources believe that legislation to address this will eventually be introduced. In any event it would be prudent for any purchaser to consider the possible presence of asbestos before agreeing to buy a property

Asbestos Surveys

Owners or prospective purchasers of a property, may wish to have an Asbestos Survey carried out. This is generally a staged process as follows:

1. A qualified asbestos Surveyor will make an initial visit to the property. The cost for this is usually (£300 + VAT). From this initial inspection of the building the Surveyor will be able to identify any areas which might contain asbestos. In most cases the Surveyor will not take any samples on the initial visit unless the building is relatively small and the possible presence of asbestos is only limited to one or two areas.

If samples are taken the additional cost will usually be of the order of (£95.00 + VAT) for the first sample and (£45.00 + VAT) for any further samples. Having completed his visit, the Surveyor will prepare an initial report outlining his findings and proposing further action together with an estimate of costs. He will also be able to advise the owner if it is likely that there is an applicable legislative requirement to manage any asbestos in the building.

2. In most cases the second step in the process will be a definitive survey of the property noting each area where asbestos may exist and taking samples of materials for testing. The samples will be analysed in a laboratory to establish whether any asbestos is present and a full report will be generated. The costs for this stage will be additional to the costs for stage 1.

3. The third step will depend very much on the results of the survey, any legislative requirement and the wishes of the owner of the property. In some cases a decision to remove the asbestos may be taken, in other cases it may be decided to leave the asbestos products in situ and just ensure that the building is managed in a way whereby the asbestos is not disturbed.

Regarding time scales for stage 1, the target time for the surveyor to perform the initial survey is normally 3 or 4 working days (from placement or order and payment). The target time for production of the initial report will be a further 3 or 4 working days. Should samples have been taken during stage 1, a further 14 days will be required before the results of the laboratory analysis will be available.

The initial report resulting from stage 1 will outline the possible costs and timescales for stage 2, should this be required. It should be noted that the removal of asbestos from a building is a very complex and costly process. It should only be carried out by a licensed contractor who will ensure that it is done safely and that the asbestos, once removed, is taken to a licensed disposal site where it will not be a danger to other people.

We provide a 20 years guarantee for all Asbestos works for assurance and a complete peace of mind