Asbestos

We are not able to remove asbestos for you. There are private contractors who can check and remove it for you. 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals.

Asbestos was used in a wide range of building materials and products, often as fireproofing. Asbestos cement was widely used for cladding and can still be found in garages and sheds. Properties built since the 1980s are unlikely to contain asbestos.

Asbestos fibres may be present in the air in buildings containing asbestos materials, especially where the materials are damaged. It is very unlikely that the levels of asbestos fibres will be harmful but, if you have damaged asbestos materials in your home you should get advice on what to do 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 there are very high levels of these fibres there is a risk of lung diseases, including cancer.

People who have worked with asbestos for many years as part of their job, or who have washed the dusty clothing of those who worked with asbestos, are most likely to be affected, as well as people who smoke. Workplace laws now protect such people.

Where is asbestos found?

Building materials containing asbestos were widely used from the 1930s but in particular from the 1960s onwards. Asbestos was also 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 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. Often 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 common 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 weather damage
  • 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. Please get 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
  • Get advice if you have damaged or deteriorating asbestos material in your home
  • Get 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 remove and dispose of asbestos.
  • Beware when doing DIY. If you are drilling, cutting or sanding materials that you think could be asbestos, check first with a professional.  

Asbestos in council housing

All of our contractors have been trained to spot asbestos. 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 following all 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 damaged.

More information