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At a glance...
- Asbestos can be a dangerous substance and DIY repairs shouldn’t be attempted.
- Good advice can save a lot of money as well as give peace of mind.
- Asbestos in roofing, insulation, tiling etc.
- Reports show recommended works and costings.
- You will have the report back in hand quickly.
Some forms of asbestos have proven to cause serious health problems. In some cases, these do not come to light for many years after contact with the material. Asbestos, therefore, is not something to be trifled with. At the same time, however, there is a need for accurate and sensible reporting on this topic and specialists need to be knowledgeable enough to give measured advice that reflects the risks involved rather than alarmist and very expensive recommendations, unless those are appropriate.
Wherever a surveyor highlights the risk of asbestos, it is essential that specialist advice is sought to clarify the risk and give appropriate recommendations for remedy.
Asbestos has been a material which has been commonly used in construction, both domestic and commercial for many years. Risks have to be taken in perspective in that about half of all that material remains in place and is safely contained, protected and managed.
Indeed. Most of us are exposed to small in the air without risk or effects. However, danger arises when asbestos is disturbed or damaged and asbestos fibres are discharged into the air.
These tiny fibres may be inhaled and enter the lungs where they can cause a number of serious health problems including asbestosis and lung cancers. It is this danger that still results in many deaths each year and has prompted the regulations that now seek to manage the risk to acceptable levels.
The fact is that asbestos is probably far more common than most of us realise. It is a material that was found to be have good insulating and fire resistant qualities and, as a result, was used extensively in buildings between 1950 and 1980. It is often used in construction combined with other materials and is not always easy to recognise. In the 1950’s, when the health risks were largely unknown, asbestos was used to lag pipes – often loosely packed. Today, asbestos will be found in materials around properties, some with higher risk than others. Examples of locations with asbestos content are –
- Fire protection to floors or ductwork
- Thermal insulation to boilers or flues
- Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB)
- Pipe insulation
- Ceiling Tiles
- Water tanks
- Corrugated Roof sheeting
- Soffit boards
- Older rainwater pipework and guttering
- Vinyl or thermoplastic floor tiles
The Control of Asbestos Regulations was introduced in 2006 and refers to the important aspects of licensing work with asbestos, controls over working with asbestos and restrictions on the import and use of different types of asbestos.
The Regulations are reinforced by the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance and Heath & Safety Guidance, which gives a series of practical guides on a range of issues covered by the regulations including such topics as – managing the register; sampling asbestos; carrying out asbestos surveys; and guidance for contractors who work in environments likely to be affected by asbestos.
Bans were already in place before these regulations to prevent the importation and use of brown and blue asbestos, which are harmful and also bans white asbestos.
These restrictions deal with new asbestos. Asbestos which is already in situ and not representing health risk can be managed to ensure that is does not become a risk if, for example, it is safely covered and monitored.
For commercial premises, there is a duty to have an asbestos register. This must be compiled by a person deemed to be competent to do so (eg having a P402 examination for asbestos surveying). The register must be available for inspection. Failure to comply with this legislation can result in fines, or even custodial sentences.
Removing asbestos can be a dangerous business and shouldn’t be undertaken without proper advice from a qualified and experienced specialist. Protective gear to prevent inhalation of fibres is essential. Whilst there is guidance available about DIY ways to tackle removal, our advice is that it is best to employ a specialist contractor. That will ensure safe disposal. Another factor to be aware of is that asbestos is a hazardous substance and there will be local regulations that apply with regards to its disposal.
A good report will include the following elements –
- a description and identification of the property
- comment on any restrictions to the inspection
- a description of material and likely risks posed by any asbestos content
- recommendation of management strategy or repairs, if necessary
- costings for carrying out the repair work
Specialist Xpress will ensure that the report you receive will be an objective report of what is required to maintain a safe environment within the property, whether residential or commercial, and will represent sound and sensible advice.