What do I do if I find asbestos in the property I want to buy?

It is the fear of many that when they receive the results of the survey on their dream home, that there are going to be major things wrong. One of these potential nightmare items that could appear on a survey is asbestos. But if asbestos is found in the property you want to buy, is it as bad as you think?

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Even though some forms of asbestos are more hazardous than others, all forms of asbestos are dangerous. There are six kinds of asbestos. The three that were used most commonly in building materials are, amosite, chrysotile and crocidolite known as brown, white and blue asbestos respectively.

Where could asbestos be found in a property

Asbestos is more likely to be found in a residential home than a commercial property. It became a popular building material in the latter half of the 20th century, and there is a chance that homes built before the year 2000 will have asbestos in them. It was used to strengthen and fire proof materials and was used in corrugated roofing, ceilings, doors, airing cupboards, as well as around boilers, gas pipes, water cisterns, in partition walls and floor tiles amongst other places.

When is asbestos a danger?

Asbestos is dangerous if it becomes airborne. If asbestos dust and fibres are released and you come close enough to inhale them, it can be hazardous. This can occur if, for example, asbestos insulation surrounding a boiler becomes disturbed or if asbestos in ceiling and floor tiles becomes damaged, releasing asbestos dust and fibre into the air.

Should I still purchase my house if it contains asbestos?

If there is only a small amount of asbestos materials contained within your home that is in a healthy, untouched condition then there is most likely very little cause for concern. However, it is important to get a specialist to examine the asbestos properly to thoroughly inform you. They will then be able to advise you on the appropriate course of action to take, if any.

How to get asbestos removed from your home

If the asbestos in your property is in good condition, and there is little chance that it will be disturbed, it may be perfectly safe to leave it where it is. However, if you find asbestos in your home and it has been, or there is a chance that it could become damaged or disturbed, you should get it removed to avoid any potential health risks. You can get it removed from a licenced asbestos removal team. Details of these can be found from your local environmental health officer. You can get more information about requirements/qualifications by getting in touch with the Health and Safety Executive, or visiting their website.

How much does it cost to remove asbestos?

The price of asbestos removal will vary from home to home, depending on the quantity of asbestos in the property, and the amount of work involved. You should get a qualified specialist to examine your property and give you a personalised estimate. However, according to wisetradesmen.com, the average price for asbestos removal is £1600.

Asbestos Advice

Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive has a wealth of useful information on their website regarding asbestos. They have resources, FAQ’s, news and helpful contact details. To find out more and to get advice, see their details below:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm

Phone No: 0300 0031747

National Asbestos Helpline

The National Asbestos Helpline is for anyone who is concerned about possible exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, or have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related lung disease. They can provide legal help and advice. For more information, see their details below:

https://www.nationalasbestos.co.uk/

Phone No: 0808 2230726