The dangers of asbestos


Anything that contains asbestos is called an ACM. Asbestos containing materials were widely used in housebuilding in the UK and were finally banned in 1999

Why was it used as a building material?

It first became used at the end of the 1800’s during the Industrial Revolution. And at first seemed to be a wonder material

It had many qualities it was cheap, widely available, strong and had insulating qualities. It was fire and heat resistant and absorbed sound

But concerns were growing as early as the 1920’s although it took nearly 80 years for it to be finally banned

If you are buying a property that was built before 1999 there is a good chance it will contain ACM’s

This could present a problem if you intend to do renovation work to it

Where might you find asbestos?

ACM’s could be anywhere including the walls,under floorboards, in the loft, behind the fire place, downpipes and gutters, Artex ceilings. Also old sheds in the garden with corrugated roofs could well have Asbestos in them

If you intend to do structural work such as knocking out fireplaces, knocking through walls to add an extension or moving doorways this is classed as demolition

The HSE website quite clearly states that in this case you must get a Refurbishment/Demolition survey. This is when the surveyor will check for the presence of ACM’s. If any are detected they must be removed by a licensed contractor. There are severe penalties if this is done by an unlicensed contractor

Having the right survey is one of the site set up essentials

The last thing you want to see on your refurbishment project is a team of builders in there ripping the house apart and big clouds of dust blowing down the street without having the correct survey in place

What do you do if you find asbestos?

Asbestos must be removed by a licenced contractor. There are numerous companies who specialise in the removal of asbestos containing materials. Under no circumstances must asbestos be put in a skip with other rubbish or taken to a public tip. Professional removal can be expensive and because of this people may be tempted to dispose of it in the same way as other rubbish. To incentivise people not to do this HMRC allows people to claim up to 150% of the cost of this against their tax bill

We are not experts on this and are not giving professional advice just guidance.For more information look on the Govenment website Here

We offer a wide range of services. If you would like help with any element of a property refurbishment please contact us

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