Asbestos in the Home
Commercial and residential properties built prior to the UK asbestos ban in November 1999 could still contain asbestos. Materials used to build properties prior to 1999 containing asbestos were commonly used in the construction of commercial, private, and public buildings from and before 1985.
Asbestos was a popular building material for the construction of homes and buildings in the UK from around 1930 to the mid 1980’s. Favoured for its availability, cost effectiveness and for its durability, insulation, fire-resistant properties, resistance to water, chemicals and electricity.
Due to the risks to health this material poses through inhalation the importation of blue and brown asbestos has been banned in the UK since 1985. This ban was extended to include white asbestos in 1999.
Where asbestos might be found
There are various places where asbestos could be present, below lists possible places you might find asbestos in homes and commercial properties;
- Asbestos cement product
- Water Tank
- House insulation
- Pipe lagging
- Soffit boards (roof overhang)
- Wall panelling
- Toilet cistern
- Bath panel
- Fuse box
- Textured Coatings (e.g. Artex)
- Boiler house
- Rainwater pipes
- Vinyl floor tiles
What to do if you suspect your home may contain asbestos?
If you have suspicions or know that your property contains asbestos materials listed above, provided they are in good condition and have not or are not likely to be disturbed, they can be left alone as they should not pose any health risk.
You should visually check these asbestos materials regularly to monitor their condition, if any damage or deterioration is found do not disturb and take action. It would be advisable to have an Asbestos Reinspection & Condition Survey to check the condition of all ACM’s identified in any previous asbestos management surveys.
Activity in areas where asbestos is present, needs to be kept to a minimum avoiding damage or disturbance. If you are planning on renovating or carrying out extensive repairs that could disturb asbestos, you will need to appoint an appropriately trained tradesmen who has up to date asbestos training.
Thinking of selling your property and unsure if asbestos is present?
If you are in the process of selling your property and you suspect or know that it contains asbestos products, you may want to consider having your own survey done prior to putting your property for sale. By having a survey done in advance you will know where you stand and avoid any potential surprises further along in the process of selling your property.
If asbestos is present can this prevent a property sale?
It could potentially, there are a number of factors and variables that need to be taken in consideration so there is no clear answer to this question. Factors such as extent of asbestos presence, condition and the buyers’ attitude towards the findings could affect the sale process. If asbestos is present and requires removal, this may require factoring into the property’s sale price to accommodate for any resulting costs. It is not illegal to sell a property that contains asbestos, if you are already aware of it in your property you will need to disclose its presence. Failure to disclose your knowledge of asbestos presence contravenes The Property Misdescriptions Act of 2013, which states that it is an offence to withhold such information and failing to abide by the law which could invalidate the sale and result in prosecution.
Considering buying a property with asbestos present?
If you have found a property that has asbestos present, you shouldn’t be put off purchasing altogether, as mentioned consideration needs to given to the extent of presence and it’s condition. If you do find that a prospective property that contains asbestos materials, and they are in good condition it could be years before it needs addressing.
Get Advice from Casa Environmental Services
At Casa Environmental Services, we specialise in providing UKAS accredited asbestos surveying and analytical services throughout the UK. If you think you have disturbed asbestos materials or suspect that asbestos maybe present in your property, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today. We have all the knowledge, equipment and expertise needed to not only identify asbestos, but also safely manage it, whether that be through encapsulation, removal, or decontamination.