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How to spot hidden asbestos

How to spot hidden asbestos

Asbestos is a tricky thing. Whilst we are aware of its presence and the dangers it can pose to our health; there is a worrying number of builders and tradespeople whose knowledge on this topic is limited despite having undergone asbestos training.

And asbestos is not a substance that you can approach lightly, as the slightest disturbance to building materials containing asbestos (especially if done regularly) can endanger your life.

How Can You Broaden Your Knowledge?

Even if you’ve already had prior training on how to handle asbestos, the following tips can help to safeguard the wellbeing of you and your team and ensure you’re protected from hidden asbestos.

Just aim to do the following:

Tip One: The first thing you should do before you undertake any kind of work on a domestic or commercial property is to identify the age of the building. Following changes to regulations, it has been illegal to use asbestos in building materials since 1999. This means any properties build before this date can be assumed to contain asbestos.

Tip Two: Check records for prior asbestos inspections. If your property has already been assessed and surveyed you should be able to view building plans containing markings of where asbestos is suspected and the condition that it is in. If the property has been checked – great! However, it is worth having another survey done to make sure none of these areas have deteriorated. If they have and it is an area that you don’t plan to change, you will need to implement repairs. If however, you discover the property has never been surveyed, it is important that you get it checked by an HSE approved asbestos surveyor. They will identify and mark on your building plans suspected areas.

Tip Three: Recognise common building materials made using asbestos. Most of these are fairly easy to identify independently; however, the materials you need to be mindful of are:

Domestic: Asbestos cement water tanks; pipe lagging; loose fill insulation; textured decorative coating (artex in ceilings); asbestos insulation board ceiling tiles, bath panels, partition walls, interior window panels and airing cupboards; toilet seat and cistern; AIB behind fuse boxes, fireplaces and around boilers (this is a sprayed insulation coating); vinyl floor tiles; gutters; soffits; AIB exterior window panels; asbestos cement roof or panels and roofing felt.

Commercial: all of the above as well as - sprayed coatings (limpet) on ceilings, walls, beams and columns; lagging thermal insulation on boilers and pipes; AIB panels in fire doors; asbestos rope seals, gaskets and paper; textiles (fire blankets); textured decorative coatings on walls and ceilings and asbestos cement flue.

Tip Four: Employ the support of asbestos waste disposal specialists. Alongside handling the safe disposal of asbestos, at ICE Asbestos we provide surveys which can help you to identify and label asbestos-containing materials, as well as perform assessments which can help you to manage the risks associated with hidden asbestos. On top of this, we also perform encapsulation work that is designed to seal damaged asbestos before performing works to safely get rid of it.

Tip Five: Identify areas prone to damage. When it comes to your walls, ceilings, under the stairs and doors; each of these can often be disturbed during a renovation without your realising it. By being aware of these areas, you can instantly implement preventative measures to stop them from becoming damaged and contaminating the area.

Tip Six: Train your team. When you hire someone, don’t presume that they know how to locate asbestos or even know the correct procedures for handling it. Instead, if you are hiring them internally, ensure that you gain the relevant training. And if you’re hiring a freelance contractor to assist with your project, get them to prove that they have the relevant training to work with suspected asbestos materials.

Each of these 6 tips can help to minimise the risk of traders and contractors accidentally disturbing asbestos. However, for increased security, we recommend enlisting the help of HSE approved specialists who can thoroughly survey your property; identify suspect areas and label them accordingly.

At ICE Asbestos, we specialise in helping our customers to locate and safely dispose of hidden asbestos. From performing surveys, labelling and encapsulation work, to removing and managing risks; our team can protect your team and eliminate any potential dangers. Contact us today, for more information on our services.

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What our asbestos removal customers saying:

Excellent prompt service by a very professional team. Recommend Ice Asbestos to carried your work in a very professional way. Thanks Tony for your excellent service.

Rich West -

After a standard, non specific and vague comment on a house valuation about care needing to be taken around possible asbestos in an old property, I was thrown into panic. Tony and his colleague came around at short notice and assured me that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. It was so reassuring and refreshing to be dealt with in such a fair and reasonable manner. ICE were the right people to call and I recommend them unreservedly. Thank you.

Mary Derbyshire -

Tony and his team have been on site and have carried out an assessment of the work needed to remove some asbestos containing material from a domestic setting. Ahead of the actual treatment work being carried out I can say that I am extremely pleased with how the assessment was carried out. They were punctual, friendly and gave a very honest assessment - being open about areas where they didn't think there as any risk as well as where there was risk. I've received test results which confirms t...

Mike Brown -

Many thanks for your very efficient and professional service. We contacted the company Monday, a representative came Tuesday morning and we had the lab. result that afternoon. Excellent service.

Gill and Steve Hawkins -

Tony came out in the evening as I was concerned that I had artex containing asbestos. He was so helpful and said it's definitely not asbestos and not to worry. He didn't even charge me for the advice as he could clearly see it was not the case. He was so helpful and trustworthy, it would have been easy for him to take money from me and he didn't. It's great to meet someone with such integrity, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him. Thanks Tony!

Bina -

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