Asbestos is a hazardous material, but it is still present in countless buildings throughout the UK, mainly those built before 1980. Builders considered it a useful material due to its affordability and fire-resistant properties. However, we now know it can also be very hazardous to health.
When a person inhales asbestos fibres, the tiny strands can become lodged in the lung’s lining and other parts of the respiratory system, leading to health issues. Some of the health problems caused by asbestos include Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis, Pleural Thickening, Pleural Effusion and Other Cancers.
Due to the high-risk factors, in the UK, the usual practice is to remove potentially hazardous asbestos from buildings or, in some cases, leave it in place while carefully monitoring the situation. Specialist asbestos management companies, such as us, do this work.
Asbestos friability refers to how easily asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) release asbestos fibres into the air when disturbed or damaged. Friable asbestos-containing materials are easily crumbled, crushed, or reduced to powder by hand.
When asbestos-containing materials become friable, they release airborne asbestos fibres, which people can inhale.
Therefore, it’s essential to handle friable ACMs with extreme caution and to follow strict guidelines for their removal and disposal. Only competent professionals should remove and dispose of friable asbestos to prevent exposure to fibres.
Construction materials that typically contain ACMs include:
When the suspected ACMs are in good condition and not disturbed, the asbestos fibres are usually held within the material and do not pose a significant health risk. However, when materials are damaged or disturbed, such as during renovation or demolition, the asbestos fibres can become airborne and inhaled by nearby people.
The ACM type will determine if your project is likely low or high risk, and an asbestos surveyor will need to decide whether you need a non-licensed or licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Non-licensed asbestos work sounds less dangerous, but the worker still needs training to do the task safely. However, no license is required as the risk factor is lower.
Licensable Asbestos Work requires a specialist license to remove this type of asbestos. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) grants these permits.
If you own or manage a non-residential building under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, you are responsible and have a legal obligation to make sure people who use the building are safe from the risk of inhaling asbestos.
The building manager or owner has a duty of care to the public and must put precautions to restrict the possibility of asbestos exposure. To manage asbestos risks, it is necessary to take steps to find any asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. This is a job for a qualified asbestos surveyor. The survey results will inform whether the asbestos can be safely managed, if a non-licensed asbestos removal company or person can do the work, or if it requires licensed removal.
The law concerning residential properties is different, as a homeowner has no legal duty of care regarding asbestos. Even if you hire someone to carry out work in your home, you are not legally obliged to protect them against asbestos. This is something the contractor doing the work should manage.
However, as a homeowner, ensuring there is no risk of asbestos exposure is crucial for personal and family safety.
In the era of DIY online video tutorials, many people are having a go at do-it-yourself jobs. This is a good way of saving money on contractors, but you must realise saving money is not worth putting your health and your life at risk. Our trained experts will visit your home at a convenient time for you and complete an asbestos survey, where we take samples of any possible ACMs and get them analysed at a UKAS-accredited laboratory. You will receive a report with details of any asbestos found, including the level of risk and recommendations to manage or remove it.
Our asbestos specialists understand the hazards and will always give you top professional advice depending on the type, location, and scope of the asbestos.
You’ll find asbestos testing kits on sites like Amazon and other similar outlets that sell kits to test for the presence of asbestos. But because of its versatility, asbestos was used in a wide range of everyday materials. Unless you have the necessary training, it is unlikely you will know how to test all possible locations accurately.
There are many concealed and hard-to-reach places where an unsuspecting homeowner may have ACMs on their property. Therefore, expert services are required to detect and eliminate Asbestos present in decorated Artex ceilings, roof sheeting, panels, water tanks, floor tiles, boilers, fuse boxes, insulation, flues and many more places unlikely to occur to a layperson.
So, just because there are home asbestos testing kits available, it does not mean you should use one. And if you find asbestos, you will still need the advice of a professional on how to manage it. Attempting to remove ACMs yourself is extremely dangerous, and when you factor in the cost of a testing kit and equipment needed to remove the asbestos safely, your costs will escalate. So, let the professionals take care of the testing and removal, and you’ll have the peace of mind that everyone is safe during the procedure.
So, in short, although it is possible to test for asbestos in your home yourself, this is one of the tasks best left to experts.
Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to identify asbestos just by looking at it, so it’s crucial to send samples to a laboratory for testing. Immediate action is essential when dealing with asbestos, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today.
After we find asbestos in a residential building, we will resolve the problem using safe procedures for the desired results.
Incredibly, concerns about asbestos and health were first raised in the UK by a factory inspector in 1898.
The early concerns were largely ignored, but as more reports about the dangers of asbestos continued occurring throughout the 20th Century, many countries banned its use.
The UK banned the use of some of the six types of asbestos in 1985, but other types were not entirely banned until 1999. Therefore, anyone living in or using a building built before the year 2000 could be exposed to asbestos. Still, the risk is minimal as long as the materials remain undisturbed.
The professionals most at risk from asbestos exposure were those who installed ACMs. This includes plumbers, electricians, carpenters, insulation installers, boilermakers, mechanics, shipyard, and construction workers.
One-time asbestos exposure is a single instance of exposure. Short-term exposure refers to multiple but brief events. The health risks of short-term or one-time asbestos exposure are low. But one-time or short-term exposure to high levels of asbestos, such as during the collapse of the World Trade Center site, can have profound health implications.
Therefore, one-time asbestos exposure can cause severe illnesses, including mesothelioma. However, researchers have found that repeated exposure raises the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Wash your body and clothing as soon as possible after the event.
Asbestos fibres can become lodged in the skin, resulting in a callus or corn, but this is rarely serious. Inhaling contaminated air is the most dangerous path of exposure that most commonly leads to illness. However, if you know you have come into contact with asbestos, talk with your doctor.
Any building constructed or renovated before 2000 could have asbestos. But after its ban in 1999, buildings built after 2000 are unlikely to contain ACMs.
According to a report by ResPublica, in 2019, there were still an estimated six million tons of asbestos inside 1.5 million UK buildings. This figure included many public buildings, schools and hospitals built before the 1999 ban.
Asbestos comes in six types, each requiring a different removal procedure. The amount and location of the ACMs will also affect the cost. Contact us, and we will be happy to explain the removal process and give you an estimate of how much removing or managing ACMs in your property will cost.
Asbestos is only dangerous to health when the fibres are uncovered. An undisturbed ACM doesn’t produce airborne fibres in the same way you don’t inhale dust from an undisturbed brick wall.
People who have asbestos-related conditions have typically been exposed to asbestos for some time. Health workers and teachers working in old buildings are more likely to get mesothelioma than the general public. Factory workers or those regularly performing demolition and renovation work are also more likely to develop disease over time.
Although undisturbed asbestos in a home is not necessarily a health risk, you shouldn’t ignore it. Over time, the structural elements, and materials in your home with asbestos will deteriorate or experience disturbance, which results in the possibility of inhaling asbestos fibres.
For example, if you want to put a picture on a wall and hammer a nail into ageing cladding, asbestos fibres could enter your home without you seeing or being aware. The fibres can remain airborne inside the house and risk your and your family’s health.
So, although it is safe to live with asbestos when it is undisturbed, the chances are as you get on with daily life and normal activities around the home, you will disturb it.
Asbestos removal time varies based on factors like the amount of asbestos, how easy it is to access, the required materials and equipment logistics. A mandatory abatement period is needed to confirm property safety. Cleaning the air is crucial to minimise the risk of airborne asbestos fibres.
Other factors affecting the removal time include vacating the building.
Depending on the asbestos problem, it may not be necessary to vacate a home. Rooms can be sealed off with industrial sheeting during work. This plan varies from project to project, but most homeowners arrange to be away while the asbestos is removed, as this is the safest option.
We can often remove small amounts in a day, but the abatement period is crucial. Abatement periods of 48 hours are standard to ensure there are no asbestos fibres in the air around the property. When dealing with larger volumes of asbestos, projects can take a week or more to complete to ensure safety standards are met. The abatement period for these projects will proportionally increase based on the size and complexity of the project. Every project has its unique timescale, as safety must always come first when working with hazardous materials such as asbestos.
To get a specific timeframe for your asbestos removal, ask us for a quote and an estimate for the time needed to complete the job. We will give you a free quote so you can make an informed decision.
Asbestos must be double-bagged and sealed in a lockable skip to transport to a licensed landfill. If the amount of asbestos is small, we still must double bag it, but we can transport it in a special van, which is locked at all times.
Professional asbestos waste removal services are registered waste carriers, so can legally transport asbestos to a licensed disposal facility without putting the public at risk.
Due to its high toxicity, asbestos must be contained in a signposted area, away from any public area. Asbestos waste must be clearly labelled with warnings.
Asbestos waste is put in landfills that have a permit authorising asbestos.
Removal may seem the obvious choice for dealing with asbestos, but it’s often complex, expensive and can result in lengthy downtime. In contrast, encapsulating asbestos in a seamless, protective coating is a safe and cost-effective management method that minimises disturbance and risk.
Asbestos encapsulation has several advantages over removal, one being it eliminates the need to dispose of the material, which can be expensive and dangerous. Roofs are a common site where asbestos is present. Encapsulation instead of removal reduces overall disruption, on-site time, and costs.
Encapsulation is a process in which asbestos is covered with a coating that serves several purposes:
Special polyurea products are used to apply a coating, which usually only has to be done once and can seal asbestos in hard-to-reach places. The coating has the benefit that it is unlikely to peel or crack over time.
Currently, there are no grants available in the UK for the removal of asbestos. However, some organisations provide grants and funding for asbestos-related projects. Funding opportunities can vary over time and be affected by various factors.
Many funding organisations have websites with information about their grant programs and how to apply. You can also search for grants and funding possibilities using online databases such as the UK Government’s Grants Finder tool.
You could otherwise consider getting a loan from a bank or other financial institution to finance your asbestos removal or surveying project. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that taking out a loan can increase the overall expense of the project due to interest charges and other fees.
Another option is negotiating payment terms with your contractor. Some asbestos companies are willing to work out a payment plan or offer financing to make the project cost more manageable.
Remember, asbestos exposure can be fatal, so investing in its removal is an intelligent decision in the long run.
Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the housing they offer is safe and habitable for their tenants. Landlords of older buildings must locate any existing asbestos and stick to specific safety guidelines during renovations or repairs.
If you think there could be damaged asbestos-containing materials in your rented home and it was built before 1981, your landlord is required by law to work with a licensed asbestos professional. They will test the premises and determine if any asbestos needs to be removed.
Ask your landlord if the building has an asbestos survey report. If they fail to show you a report or arrange a survey, and your landlord is unwilling to resolve the problem, contact your local council.
When selling a property, honesty is not just a moral principle; it’s a legal obligation. Sellers are required to be truthful about any possible issues with a property, including the presence of asbestos.
The principle of ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware’ also applies here, but that doesn’t mean sellers can conceal known defects. The importance of transparency extends beyond legal compliance; it also creates trust with prospective buyers.
It is not illegal to sell a property with asbestos, but sellers must disclose its presence if they are aware of it.
Nowadays, many sellers will arrange a survey before putting the home up for sale and include the report in a seller’s pack. If this is not the case, buyers should arrange a survey before signing a property transaction, and if the survey finds asbestos but the seller was previously unaware of its presence, there are no repercussions. There is no law stating a seller must be aware of asbestos in their property.
If a surveyor finds asbestos during the survey, it could change your mind about the purchase, so it’s a good idea to have a survey done if the seller has not done this before putting it on the market.
Although finding the presence of asbestos may stop a sale in progress, this is not always the case. The condition of the asbestos and the buyer’s perspective on finding it in the home will affect whether the sale goes ahead, or the buyer pulls out. As a buyer, you could also lower your offer to reflect the cost of removing the asbestos.
Therefore, from a seller’s point of view, it may be worth considering getting experts to remove it rather than take the price drop.
As a buyer, you should not be put off entirely if the only issue with the property is ACMs. Although we know asbestos is dangerous, that doesn’t mean you should pull out of the sale immediately. You will need to consider the condition of the asbestos if it can be encapsulated and if the seller will reconsider the price because of removal costs.
Asbestos in UK homes is widespread. Therefore, finding out there is asbestos in your desired property isn’t the worst thing that could happen, but it is something to consider. Pulling out unquestioningly without giving the matter thought isn’t always advisable if the property is otherwise ideal for your requirements.
If, as a buyer, you find asbestos in the property after the sale, you could sue for a claim of misrepresentation or breach of contract against the seller. But you will only be successful if the seller knew of its presence. This may be difficult to prove. Therefore, the best advice we can give is to get the property surveyed for asbestos before buying if the seller does not have a professional survey report.
You need look no further than AJC Environmental. We are known as experts in our field across London, Kent, and Essex.
We are a team of experienced and skilled asbestos contractors, and your safety is our utmost priority.
We understand the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. That’s why we take your concerns seriously and offer reliable and affordable asbestos removal in London. As our safety is also paramount, yours is guaranteed. We assure you we will give you the lowest quote possible without hidden costs.
For safe London asbestos removal, you must hire qualified asbestos contractors. So, if you need a trustworthy company for asbestos removal in Kent, Essex, or London, contact us today.