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What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was commonly used in many forms as a building material in the UK until the late 1990s. Asbestos was added to other products to strengthen them and provide fire-proofing and noise reduction. If your home was built before the year 2000, there is a possibility it may contain asbestos. When asbestos materials age or become damaged they may release fibres into the air. If breathed in, the fibres could lead to asbestos related diseases. These diseases are rare – lengthy exposure to high levels of asbestos is needed.
Where is asbestos most likely to be found in a home?
Asbestos is most likely to be found in the following locations in and around the home:
- Cold water tanks
- Pipe lagging
- Roof felt, sheets and tiles
- Textured coatings (such as artex)
- Fascia and soffit boards (such as roof overhangs)
- Toilet cisterns
- Wall panels
- Fuse boards
- Boiler/heater cupboard
- Floor tiles
- Rainwater guttering and downpipes
What are your responsibilities?
If you own your own home, you will be responsible for the below (unless it's within a communal area).
- Firstly, asbestos containing materials in good condition will not release asbestos fibres. There is no danger unless the fibres are released. Usually no action is required on your part and you do not need to tell us if you think you have asbestos in your home.
- Don’t panic if you think you have asbestos containing material in your home – it is only an issue if it gets disturbed. We will not normally remove asbestos in your home, unless it is likely to be disturbed.
- If you think you have damaged or disturbed asbestos in your home, you should contact us as soon as possible. If we need to remove asbestos containing material from your home, we will agree a plan with you for this.
- Please take care to avoid damaging anything that may contain asbestos in your home or communal areas. Asbestos products should not be drilled, cut or disturbed, scraped or sanded.
- If you wish to start any DIY work to your home, even if you don’t think there is any asbestos, please contact us to discuss it first.
- Don’t attempt to remove anything you think may contain asbestos. Only specialist contractors should attempt to remove asbestos from your home.
What do we do to manage asbestos?
- We take health and safety of our customers and employees seriously and so we survey the communal areas of our properties. This includes areas such as flat corridors, to check the condition of any asbestos materials we find as required by the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
- The only way to confirm that there is asbestos in a property is for a specialist to carry out such a survey and (possibly) take samples of the materials for testing.
- When we carry out asbestos surveys, not only do we confirm whether or not materials contain asbestos, we also confirm their condition. This information is kept on a register, which helps us to monitor asbestos and manage it safely.
- We will undertake asbestos surveys of your home where it is identified that we need to. This may be because you have told us about concerns with asbestos, or because one of our repair operatives identifies there may be asbestos present when they visit your home to complete a repair. This may cause a delay to your repair whilst we confirm everything is safe.
- Where necessary, we will remove any damaged or fragile material. It is not necessary to remove asbestos in good condition.
- We will only ever ask trained contractors to remove asbestos products in line with regulations.
Contact us about asbestos
What should I do if I think there is asbestos in my home?
If you think there are materials in your home that contain asbestos, please contact us. We will arrange for a local surveyor to inspect it and decide what should happen next.
Can I remove it myself?
No. Removing asbestos is a job for the experts. Only appointed contractors with a special licence can do this. If you’re worried about asbestos in your home, contact us.
Should I worry if I find asbestos?
There’s no need to panic – it’s unlikely to be a danger to your health as long as it’s undamaged and hasn’t been disturbed. The health risk comes when fibres are released from damaged asbestos – they can be harmful when inhaled. If you are concerned, please contact us.
What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to asbestos?
- Do leave asbestos materials where they are if they’re in a good condition and cannot be damaged.
- Don’t work with, damage or remove materials that you know, or think, might contain asbestos.
- Don’t rub down or sand a product that you know, or think, might contain asbestos (for example, artex).
- Don’t drill through an asbestos product – this will release fibres, which if breathed in may endanger your health.
- Don’t break off pieces from materials you know, or think, may contain asbestos.