Asbestos has been entirely banned from use in the UK since 1999, but this hazardous substance can still be found in properties across the country.
For many years, asbestos was used for its many positive properties in the construction sector. The material is excellent for insulation and sound proofing, and while ground to powder it can be added to concrete mixes and coatings to provide them with added strength and durability.
Unfortunately, however, in the wrong state, asbestos can be highly damaging to human health. In fact, it can cause major problems at any kind of demolition or large-scale refurbishment. But why is it specifically dangerous at this time, if not at others?
Here we take a look at why asbestos is so dangerous during demolition work and why you need to take steps to mitigate the risk.
When asbestos is most dangerous
Asbestos is well known as an extremely dangerous material. Still commonly found in residential, commercial and industrial buildings across the UK, it is not always understood that asbestos is generally only dangerous when it is either in poor condition or if it is damaged.
Asbestos is dangerous when its fibres are able to get into the air. Here they can be breathed into the lungs, where they are almost impossible to remove and can cause damage over a number of years.
If a building or a part of a building is demolished without adequate checks for asbestos, it can lead to fibres from the material getting into the air.
Planning for demolition
Due to the danger caused by asbestos during demolition work, it is absolutely essential that you plan carefully for your demolition. Buildings will typically already have asbestos reports which show the location and condition of any asbestos that is present.
However, you should not assume that these reports continue to be accurate. The condition of the asbestos can deteriorate and this can lead to challenges with your demolition work.
Whoever is responsible for carrying out the demolition has a duty of care to any demolition workers, as well as anyone else on site, to ensure that they are protected against the risk of asbestos exposure.
During a demolition, if dust containing asbestos fibres gets into the air it can mean that it is very challenging to deal with it. At this point, the only option is generally to continually test the air quality and wait until the fibres settle.
Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys
If you are carrying out refurbishment or any kind of demolition on a property, it is essential to have a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey carried out.
Previously known as Type 3 Asbestos Surveys, they utilise destructive and intrusive methods to establish the extent of asbestos in the fabric of the building. This type of survey will assess difficult-to-reach areas such as roof voids, wall interiors, solid floors and under crofts.
If the survey finds that asbestos is present, you may need to take steps before you can safely take on the demolition work. This could include asbestos removal.
At Crucial Environmental, we’ve got years of experience working with asbestos and providing a full range of services. If you need to refurbish or demolish a building, we can provide you with a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey, as well as any additional asbestos services that you require. Get in contact with our experienced team for more details by calling 01903 297818 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.