What is an asbestos survey and do I need one?

A commonly asked question is whether asbestos surveys are a mandatory requirement, either for homeowners or owners of commercial properties. The truth is that it depends on the circumstances of the property. It’s also true that while sometimes it’s not necessarily mandatory to have a survey, it can be hugely important to ensure the safety of people visiting the properly knowing they are not put at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. It is used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold), has good fire protection properties and protects against corrosion.

Asbestos is often mixed with another material so it is hard to know if you are working with it or not. If you are in a building built before the year 2000, it’s likely that some parts of the building may contain asbestos. It can be found in many products used in buildings such as ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.

 

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos has been proven to cause a number of very serious, and often life threatening, diseases. When asbestos is disturbed or damaged, the fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled. Unfortunately, when they are inhaled, they can cause extremely severe diseases because of the permanent damage they cause to the body. The diseases won’t be apparent immediately; it is usually years later that symptoms will first appear; but, when most people are diagnosed, it is often too late.

Asbestos exposure kills somebody on average every five hours and exposure is the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths in the world.However, asbestos is not a thing of the past as it still exists in numerous buildings which were constructed or refurbished pre-2000.

 

Is an asbestos survey required?
If you own or maintain non-domestic premises that were built pre 2000, then it is a legal requirement for you to have had this property surveyed by a qualified asbestos specialist.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that you owe a duty of care to anyone who visits your property. If someone is harmed by asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) on your premises and you do not have a survey in place, you are then at risk of facing serious legal sanctions.

 

How do you determine what type of survey is need?

A management survey is a non-destructive survey which does not disturb the fabric of the building. This type of survey is usually sufficient for the purposes of normal occupation and prior to most maintenance tasks. All accessible surface materials will be assessed but it should also assess areas such as ceiling risers, which could be subject to maintenance activity.

An asbestos refurbishment survey or an asbestos demolition survey will be required if intrusive works are planned on your building, such as refurbishment, new services installation (fire alarms, CCTV etc) or demolition. Both surveys involve intrusive inspection of normally inaccessible areas with the aim of locating ‘hidden’ asbestos containing materials, which could be disturbed by the planned project.

The HSE recommends engaging UKAS accredited surveying organisations such as UK Asbestos based in Northampton as they have been independently audited to confirm compliance with the HSG 264 guidance. This guarantees that all asbestos removal is carried out should only be carried out by a fully competent and qualified contractor who has appropriately trained staff to carry out the removal.

They also suggest before choosing a contractor firstly check the correct insurances to work with asbestos in addition to having provision for disposal of the asbestos waste. The removal contractor needs to hold a HSE (Health and Safety Executive) licence for work with asbestos if the works fall within the licensed category

Arrange for an asbestos survey today!
The expert team at UK Asbestos have years of experience in completing asbestos surveys for a variety of different properties.  For free, expert advice from one of our knowledgeable and helpful advisors based in Northampton, call UK Asbestos today on 01604 240507 or email us on info@uk-asbestos.co.uk.

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Should I get an asbestos survey before I move in?

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. Used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold), which also has good fire protection properties and protects against corrosion.

Asbestos is often mixed with another material so it is hard to know if you are working with it or not. If you are in a building built before the year 2000, it’s likely that some parts of the building may contain asbestos. It can be found in many products used in buildings such as ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.

Which houses are more likely to have asbestos?
Asbestos was used in UK property industry until 1999, when white asbestos was finally outlawed. The use and import of blue and brown asbestos was banned in the UK in 1985. Houses built in the UK 2000 onwards will not contain asbestos, but be wary if you are buying any property that is pre-1999.

Homes built before 1980 may still harbour the substance in their home. Asbestos is most commonly found in insulation and roofing materials in garages and outbuildings, but can also be found in many places in the home, including:

  • soffits
  • ceiling tiles
  • chimneys
  • drain pipes
  • cisterns and water tanks
  • wall panels
  • floor tiles
  • Artex coverings
  • flashing

If your surveyor suspects there is a likelihood asbestos is present, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice first to confirm the presence, then safely to remove and dispose. Don’t try to dispose of any asbestos or related materials yourself under any circumstances and make sure whoever you choose for the job is qualified and accredited, and licensed to dispose of it properly.

At the UK Asbestos, we can give you peace of mind through our comprehensive and safe asbestos survey and removal services. Call us today to receive reliable advice from our asbestos experts.

ASBESTOS – Does it still pose a threat?

With the HSE’s extremely high record of death related to asbestos, which is said to be at an all-time high this year, many are still worried about its dangers.

Asbestos is a building material that has been used widely in the construction industry until it was banned in 1999. The majority of asbestos-related death cases in the HSE’s record are people aged over 75 years old who have been exposed to asbestos while growing up.

Since the use of asbestos has been stopped, the record of asbestos-related death is expected to fall in the upcoming years. But although asbestos isn’t used anymore, and exposure from it is becoming less, people are still in fear of its dangers.

In this article, we answer some of the concerns regarding asbestos, such as why it is still an issue of concern two decades after it was banned.

  • Asbestos still exists in many buildings

Thousands of homes, including commercial and industrial builinsg around the country, still contain asbestos, mostly those that are built before the year 2000. However, it shouldn’t be something to be worried about as long as it remains undisturbed.

If your newly purchased house is built prior to the year 200, it is advisable to have it surveyed before moving in. Also, if you notice the presence of asbestos on your property, contact a professional surveyor right away.

 

  • Disturbing an asbestos-containing material will put you to risk

Asbestos comes in the form of thin microfibres that can cause cancer and other types of illness when breathed in for a long time. Since it can flow into the air unnoticed, it would be difficult to determine its presence at your building.

It would be best to hire an asbestos surveyor to have it checked. Remember, asbestos is only a problem if they are disturbed. Professionals can give you advice or put measures to reduce the risk.

 

  • It will take years for an asbestos-related condition to develop

The effect of asbestos inhalation on a person’s body is not easily noticeable. If you accidentally inhaled it, it will be trapped to your lungs, which can slowly cause damage to the organ as time goes by. Most of the time, asbestos-related conditions are only discovered when it’s already too late.

So to make sure that you won’t develop any condition associated with asbestos, it’s always best not to get in contact with this hazardous substance.

At the UK Asbestos, we can give you peace of mind through our comprehensive and safe asbestos survey and removal services. Call us today to receive reliable advice from our asbestos experts.