Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was used for many years in a variety of different ways as a part of building construction. Unfortunately, it was gradually understood that asbestos fibres, when breathed into the lungs, can have a disastrous effect on our health. It was banned from use in the UK in 1999.
In 2021, asbestos is still present in a very large number of buildings. Here we take a look at all aspects of asbestos removal and what you can expect if you need to have asbestos removed.
If you believe that you might have asbestos somewhere on your property it is important to take remedial action as soon as possible. But first, it is important to understand where you stand legally with regards to potential asbestos on your premises.
Your legal obligation
If you are the owner of a non-residential property, then you have legal obligations regarding asbestos and its management. The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 set out rules around the legal duties of the owners of non-residential properties, stating that owners hold a ‘duty of care’ to anyone who uses the building, to protect them against the dangers of asbestos.
It is estimated that around 1.5 million properties in the UK contain asbestos. Many of these are commercial or industrial buildings. It is the building’s owner or caretaker who holds a duty of care to minimise and mitigate the risk of asbestos fibres getting airborne where they can be breathed into the lungs and be a danger to human health.
In some cases, this will mean that you will need to have asbestos on your property removed. But before you get to this step it is important to first consider other options.
An asbestos survey: your first step
Just because asbestos is present in a property, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be removed. In many cases, it is more dangerous to remove the asbestos that it is to leave it in situ. Of course, it may also be true that it is sometimes best to have the offending material removed from the premises – especially if you are having any kind of building, decorating or demolition work done.
In any case, you first step should always be to have an asbestos survey carried out. Asbestos surveys are conducted by professionals who search your property for any material that could be or contain asbestos. Samples of the material are then taken to establish whether asbestos is present, and the condition that it is in.
Does the asbestos need to be removed?
The results of the asbestos survey will help you to understand whether any asbestos that is present needs to be removed. If the asbestos is in good condition, it may be that it is actually better left in place, especially if it is unlikely to be damaged.
The discovery of asbestos can typically arise during renovation works, and if you plan to do more, this can be a time when it will be necessary to have the asbestos removed. Under these circumstances, however, it is vital to work with professionals.
Can you remove the asbestos yourself?
As a building owner, you have a duty to ensure that any asbestos work is carried out effectively and safely. If you, or members of your team, have specific and relevant experience working with asbestos, and feel comfortable removing it without the help of professionals, this is possible. However, this must always be subject to a thorough safety assessment, and should never be performed if it cannot be done safely.
It can make more sense to work with asbestos removals specialists, who have direct experience working with asbestos and removing it from buildings.
If you would like to learn more about having asbestos removed, or if you would like to book a team of asbestos specialists to work with you. Please get in contact with the team at Crucial Environmental today. We can provide you with everything from asbestos surveys, to safe asbestos removals.