Asbestos

Here's some information to help you understand when you should and - almost as importantly - when you shouldn’t be worried about asbestos in your home.

Five important things you need to know

  1. If your home was built after 2000, asbestos is very unlikely to have been used
  2. Asbestos should always be treated with care but isn’t usually a problem unless it’s disturbed or damaged 
  3. If it’s left alone and in good condition, generally it won’t be a problem as it cannot release fibres into the air
  4. Don't disturb anything you think may have asbestos in it (disturbing it means things like drill, saw, scrub or sand)
  5. We might already have an asbestos survey for your home. If you’re planning any works in your home, please contact us and we can let you know if there is any asbestos there

 

Everything you need to know about asbestos - in more detail

What’s asbestos?

  • Asbestos is a natural mineral found in rock. It was crushed and added to building materials because of its characteristics of being strong, flexible and its resistance to chemicals and fire.
  • Asbestos was mostly used in the building industry. So, if your property was built or refurbished before 2000, it’s possible it may have some form of asbestos-containing material
  • Use of asbestos in building-work stopped in 2000 after it was found that breathing in its fibre could cause cancer and lung disease

 

Where might asbestos be in a home?

 

What to do if you think you have asbestos in your home

  • Get in touch with us. If we don’t already know whether there’s any asbestos in your home, we can arrange for a survey to be carried out
  • You can’t tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it. Often the material asbestos is added to disguises the fibres. The only way to confirm it contains asbestos is by testing the material in a specialist laboratory. Please don’t try to remove or disturb anything you think could contain asbestos 

 

What happens if we find asbestos in your home

It’s our responsibility to deal with any asbestos found in your home but that doesn’t mean we’ll automatically take it out. Sometimes the removal process has more risk than leaving the it where it is. We might remove it when we do home improvements.

When a survey report recommends removing the asbestos:

We’ll use an expert to take it out. And we’ll let you know what’s happening every step of the way.

When a survey report says asbestos has been found but in good condition and not likely to cause a problem:

We’ll leave it in place and record where it is, we may make safe the material with a special coating or covering to prevent anything happening to it. This locks the fibres into the material so none can escape.

We’ll generally remove asbestos if it’s:

  • Damaged, crumbling or deteriorating
  • If its type, location and condition are shown to be a risk
  • In a place in the home that’s used a lot or where it could easily get damaged

We’ll often leave asbestos in place if it's:

  • In good condition and not damaged or deteriorating
  • Its type, location and condition are shown to be ok
  • In a part of the home which isn’t used much or isn’t easy to reach

Still got a question? Here are some questions we’re regularly asked and the answers that often help.

Asbestos materials aren’t dangerous and don't present a risk as long as they aren’t damaged. So, if it’s in a good condition, well assess it and may leave it where it is and make it safe. If it’s damaged or in a place where it might get damaged, we’ll either remove it or (if it's safer) make it safe so no-one's at risk.

Please call us and tell us what happened. We can give you advice about what to do next. We'll check our records for asbesos in your home and, if there is, we’ll arrange to send a specialist to come to you and make it safe.

Artex is a ceiling or wall coating that was popular especially in the 1970s and 80s. It’s usually textured with patterns on. Some types of Artex did have a very small amount of asbestos in them but they’re safe as long as it's not disturbed. It shouldn’t be sanded or scraped.

No. Broken tiles are very unlikely to release any asbestos fibres, as these are tightly locked into the tile when they're made. If you have whole tiles (or very large pieces that become loose) get in touch so we can arrange for the tiles to be removed.

Worried about asbestos?

If you find anything damaged that you think might contain asbestos, contact us straight away. (But please remember, in most cases, where asbestos is left alone in good condition, it won’t cause you any problems).

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