We are not able to remove asbestos for you, however there are private contractors available who can assess and remove it for you. Please check the internet or Yellow Pages for details.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. This has lead to their use in a wide range of building materials and products, often as fireproofing. Asbestos cement has been widely used as a cladding material and can still be found in garages and sheds. However, properties built since the 1980's are unlikely to contain asbestos.
There is a very low level of fibres in the air everywhere because of asbestos has been used widely. Exposure to this low level of fibres is unlikely to harm people's health.
Levels of fibres may by higher in buildings containing asbestos materials, especially where the materials are damaged. It is very unlikely that the levels of asbestos fibres found in buildings will be harmful, but if you have damaged asbestos materials in your home you should seek advice on appropriate action to take from a private contractor.
Why asbestos may be a problem
Old or damaged materials can release fibres into the air. These can be breathed deep into the lungs where they may stay for a long time, causing possible damage. Where very high levels of these fibres are breathed in, there is a risk of lung diseases, including cancer.
People who have worked with asbestos for many years as part of their job or have washed the dusty clothing of those who worked with asbestos are most likely to be affected as well as people who smoke. Workplace regulations now protect such people.
Where is asbestos found?
Building materials containing asbestos are widely used from the 1930s and in particular from the 1960s onwards. Asbestos has also been used in heat resistant household products, such as oven gloves and ironing boards.
Typical locations where asbestos may be found around the home are:
- insulating board often found in materials such as ducts, infill panels, ceiling tiles, wall linings, bath panels and partitions.
- lagging used for thermal insulation of pipes and boilers mainly in public buildings and system built flats
- sprayed coating used for fire protection of structural steel and commonly found in system built flats, applied around the core of the building such as service ducts and lift shafts. Most sprayed asbestos has now either been removed or sealed.
- asbestos cement products are the most commonly used material found in many types of building. Profiled sheets for roofing and wall cladding in flat sheets and partition boards for linings to wall and ceilings, bath panels, soffit boards, fire surrounds, flue pipes, cold water tanks and as roofing tiles and slates. Also used in guttering and drainpipes as well as roofing and cladding of garages. Asbestos cement products are unlikely to release high levels of fibres unless they are subject to extreme abrasion or weathering.
- other materials may contain asbestos such as textured paints and plasters, plastic floor tiles, cushion flooring, roofing felts, tapes, ropes and blankets.
How to identify materials containing asbestos
Unless you have a good working knowledge of asbestos, it won't be easy to recognise asbestos in your home as it comes in many shapes and forms. Please seek advice from a private contractor.
What to do if you suspect asbestos in your home
- avoid disturbing or damaging asbestos materials that are in good condition
- seek advice if you have damaged or deteriorating asbestos material in your home
- seek advice if you suspect your heating system may contain asbestos and it has been disturbed - do not attempt to dismantle these appliances yourself, it is against the law for anyone except trained, licensed professionals to try to remove and dispose of asbestos.
- beware when doing DIY. If you are planning to do any DIY if your home that involves drilling, cutting or sanding materials that you think could be asbestos, contact us first and we will check that you are not disturbing asbestos. Remember under your conditions of tenancy you must tell us about your plans to carry out any DIY work or other work which involves alterations to your home, and get our permission before you start the work.
- if you have asbestos materials in your home, extra care should be taken. Do not attempt work involving sprayed asbestos, lagging or insulating boards, as this must be undertaken by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Asbestos in Council housing
From time to time, you may need to have repairs done in your home, or your home may be improved.
All of our contractors have been trained in spotting asbestos so they know what to look for. They may call in specialist asbestos contractors who will decide whether to remove the asbestos or seal it.
If the asbestos needs to be removed, it will be removed safely, following all the correct health and safety laws. The asbestos will only be removed if it is disturbed or damaged and is assessed as being a potential risk to health.
Remember, asbestos in your home is safe as long as its not disturbed.
Disposing of asbestos
You cannot take asbestos to the Household Waste Recycling Centre, but there are other options. Visit the Household Waste Recycling Centre page to find out more.