Asbestos Management and Removal

  • Asbestos Management and Removal

Asbestos in its many forms was, until about 2000 a commonly used building material. 

Asbestos is a mineral that is still mined in parts of the world today, it is both heat flame and acid resistant, it has also been used to reinforce lightweight building materials such as corrugated cement sheet, soffit and facia boards, roofing tiles, cement moulded guttering and pipe work, it was the stiffening in “Artex” (Asbestos Rough Texture) for walls and ceilings, it is also present in pre 2000 thermoplastic floor tiles and may also be found in the heat pad under pre 2000 kitchen sinks where it is used to distribute heat from hot water and deaden sound.

When in good condition – undamaged the presence of asbestos presents minimal risk. 

When may it be a risk?

Asbestos presents a significant risk to health when damaged. The material when exposed fibres are liberated into the air, especially into peoples breathing zone; that is around the face where air is drawn in through the nose/mouth.

Historically man has known about the dangers with asbestos since about 600-500BC when the ancient Greeks used a heat resisting material to handle molten glass, who wondered why these workers died with respiratory conditions at an early age.

In the UK more recently there has been legislation to control its release and use in the Industrial environment, currently the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.  In the commercial environment, this requires persons responsible for premises must have the premises surveyed by a competent person and subsequently maintain a surveillance register to monitor any deterioration in condition.   Where this is considered to be in a dangerous condition it must be removed depending on material by competent or licensed contractors, removed by licensed carriers as hazardous waste and disposed of in an approved site.  In domestic premises this is would be impracticable both to undertake and monitor.

Asbestos in domestic premises

In domestic premises most owners usually want to remove the old floor tiles, strip out the Artex, replace old facia soffit and guttering or replace the old corrugated roof on the garage.  All this material is generally considered “Low Risk”, but none the less must be treated with care and handled in a manner that will not put lives and health at risk.  In most cases the best course of action is to encase or encapsulate.  Thermoplastic tiles should be sealed under floor levelling compound or under ceramic floor tiles, Artex walls and ceilings can be skimmed with plaster.  Sheet building material is more difficult to deal with.  It MUST NOT be broken when being removed, all securing bolts or fastenings must be cut, in the case of corrugated material on the under side.  Every sheet can then be lifted off and stacked without damage.  It must be double wrapped in heavy gauge plastic and sealed closed.  It can be disposed of by private occupiers at the public amenity site in Dover by prior arrangement, remembering that the site does not allow commercial vans or trailers on site or vehicles over 2 metres high.

Further information is available at www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos .