Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our asbestos removal/management services.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the term commonly given to a group of fibrous, silicate minerals.
They’re referred to by colours predominately, blue, white & brown asbestos, however they are also known in the industry by their trade names such as Amosite, Chrysotile & Crocidolite asbestos amongst others, they are split into 2 groups, one being the amphiboles and the other being serpentine.
They have special properties such as heat resistance, insulation and soundproofing. Due to these properties, for a long period – particularly in the 20th century up until the 1990s – were used in construction of buildings such as schools, offices and even houses.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos fibres can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion – and these fibres, when inhaled, are hazardous to human health as they can’t be discarded.
They float around scratching at the lung tissue, this causes scarring which ultimately makes breathing very difficult and can cause various diseases including serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
It is estimated that there are around 2,500 asbestos-related deaths per year in the UK.
Why was asbestos used in construction?
Asbestos materials contain special properties, such as fireproofing and strength, which are desirable for a range of uses in construction, this coupled with the very low cost of the material meant that It was used in hundreds of materials including concrete, corrugated roofing, floor tiles, roof tiles, wall boards, pipe insulation and even acoustical insulation.
Why was asbestos banned?
The use of asbestos in construction is now banned in many developed countries, including the UK, because of the health and safety risks. During the 1970s and 1980s it was becoming clearer that asbestos caused lung diseases.
When was asbestos use banned?
Asbestos was first identified as a dangerous material as early as 1897 but laws prohibiting its use first arose in 1985. This was when the UK banned the use of blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos. These types of asbestos were considered most dangerous.
By 1992, some white (chrysotile) asbestos materials use was also banned, but a full ban on asbestos did not come into effect until 1999. This now means the use of all types of asbestos are banned in the UK.
How do I know if my workplace or home contains asbestos?
It is difficult to know merely by sight alone if your premises contain asbestos.
However, if your building or home was constructed or had significant building work before the year 1999 it is likely that asbestos may have been used.
If you are concerned about the risk, particularly if you are considering any building work, it is important to contact us here at Midlands Asbestos Solutions who can advise further.
Why should I remove asbestos?
You don’t always have to remove asbestos. It may be possible to encapsulate the material in situ.
Generally, if the asbestos product you have is in a good condition it is advisable to manage it. This means leaving the material in situ and maintaining it to ensure that the material doesn’t degrade and begin breaking up.
If you are planning significant works around the asbestos or in the general area it may be prudent to have the asbestos removed prior to any works being carried out. This then gives you peace of mind that the asbestos is not going to cause any unwanted issues during your building or refurbishment project.
Asbestos removal must be handled by trained specialist, and any waste disposal is strictly regulated, contact us today for a competitive quote on your asbestos removal or asbestos survey requirements.
Will asbestos be okay if undisturbed?
This depends on your premises, its usage and the location of the asbestos material, or if you’re planning any refurbishments. If there is any risk that asbestos fibres will be released into the atmosphere, they can post a risk to human health and should be treated.
Can new buildings use asbestos?
This is a very highly unlikely scenario. Asbestos materials were banned in the UK in 1999. Since then alternatives have been used, such as cellulose fibres or polyurethane foams.
Does my business need an asbestos survey?
If you’re responsible for a workplace that was built before 2000, then you are required by law to have an asbestos register – a document that lists where asbestos has been identified.
Does my home need an asbestos survey?
For your own home, there is no legal requirement to conduct an asbestos survey.
If your accommodation is rented, it is your landlords responsibility to hold this information, although this may only extend to common areas only.
When it comes to selling (or purchasing) a property, you may need to have an asbestos survey commissioned, especially if the building was built before 2000. Asbestos works can be expensive, so this may affect the price of the property when buying or selling.
How much does an asbestos survey cost?
Asbestos surveys vary greatly, depending on the site and your requirements, so it’s best to contact us for more advice and for a free quote.
Who needs asbestos training?
If you work in a trade where you’re liable to be disrupting asbestos whilst carrying out work, then, you will need asbestos awareness training.
For those who will be working directly with asbestos materials, then licensed training will be required.
For more information, read about our asbestos training programmes.
What are asbestos regulations?
The current asbestos regulations for the UK are covered by The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – an update to the Health & Safety Executive’s Control of Asbestos at Work 2002 regulations.
These regulations took into account the European Commission’s opinion that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).
For more information on the latest regulations, please visit the Health and Safety Executive.