Asbestos survey

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Asbestos survey

Asbestos is the biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK, as it was used and removed for so many years before we understood how dangerous it is. It was used in homes, public and commercial buildings from the early 1900s and was extremely popular between the 1950s-80s. It wasn’t banned in the UK until 1999, and because it was so popular, any buildings constructed or refurbished during that time is likely to contain asbestos. That’s why in many cases it’s a legal requirement to have an asbestos survey carried out.

When asbestos is broken down, for example during a renovation, tiny fibres are released into the air. If a person isn’t wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), they can breathe these fibres in where they get lodged in the lung tissue. Because the fibres are so tiny, they get pulled deeper into the lung tissue with every breath, eventually causing diseases like asbestosis, COPD and cancer.

Why should I get an asbestos survey or test?

If you’re doing any home improvements to a property that was built before the 21st century, there is a strong likelihood that there is asbestos present somewhere in the house. A common place you’ll find asbestos is in artex ceilings, which are those with a textured look rather than a smooth finish. If you start scraping off the artex finish and there is asbestos in it, you will release the fibres into the air and anyone that’s not wearing the correct PPE will breathe these harmful fibres in.

If you test anywhere that’s likely to have asbestos in it, you can take the appropriate action and get asbestos removal specialists in to remove it to avoid causing harm to you, your family or any other tradespeople.

Are there different types of asbestos tests and surveys?

There are two main ways that you can get your property tested for asbestos: with a do-it-yourself sampling kit, or by having a full asbestos survey.

Asbestos testing kits

Asbestos testing kits allow you to take a small sample of the area you suspect could have asbestos and package it up and send it away to a lab for analysis. The kits cost around £40 from reputable brands, and you can often have the results within 24 hours of sending the sample off. A DIY testing kit can seem like a money-saving option. But you’ll only be testing where you suspect there to be asbestos – and since asbestos was used so widely, you may not test everywhere that it could be present if you don’t have specialist knowledge.

You can also ask an asbestos contractor come to your property to take a sample, which is a safer option as they will be able to tell you whether they suspect there could be asbestos in any other areas you’re planning to renovate. This usually costs between £100-160.

Asbestos surveys

If you’re carrying out a full renovation of your home, it’s well worth getting a comprehensive asbestos survey. The contractor will come to your property and carry out a thorough search, looking for places that you might not have thought of. At the end of the survey, they will produce a report telling you their findings and will advise on the next steps.

A complete asbestos survey usually costs between £400-800.

Will an asbestos test or survey save me money?

Having an asbestos test or survey will definitely save you money in the long term. If you don’t have a test carried out and you disturb asbestos, it could cost you thousands of pounds in damage and will put your renovation project back by months.

More importantly, an asbestos survey or test could save lives. If you disturb asbestos, those tiny fibres will get into yours, your family’s and other tradespeople’s lungs and could cause potentially fatal diseases.

Average Asbestos survey cost

How much an asbestos survey costs depends on the area you need surveying and the location of your property. However, the common UK cost for an asbestos survey is currently approximately £200.

Average price per Asbestos survey job in 2023

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£160

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£358

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£548

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Prices based on actual Asbestos survey costs for your area, as reported by local Quotatis members.

Asbestos survey installation cost in your area 2023

Labour cost £140
Material cost £50
Waste removal £10
Time frame: 1 day

Advantages for Asbestos survey

  • Discover if you have asbestos in your home or garage
  • Accurate lab results confirming what type of asbestos it is
  • Ensures you are not handling or exposed to the asbestos while collecting - unlike DIY asbestos testing kits
  • Without a confirmed test many asbestos removal companies won't be able to assist

Disadvantages for Asbestos survey

  • More costly than a DIY asbestos kit

Asbestos survey Manufacturers

Asbestos survey FAQs

How to identify asbestos roof tiles?

Being a commonly used building material in the 1950’s to about 1990’s, asbestos is very popular back in the days and used for almost every roofing project because of it fire resistant properties. They’re mostly mixed with cement and are known to last for over 4 decades.

Due to the harmful properties found in asbestos, the material was totally banned in the UK since the year 1999. It’s found that when disturbed, asbestos releases some fibres which when inhaled can result in some deadly health conditions such as lung cancer and asbestosis, which are all fatal. These diseases are mostly not detected until several years after the first exposure to the asbestos fibres, which makes them even more deadly. Hence, it’s crucial to know how to identify asbestos roof tiles so you can have them removed by a professional immediately. In this article, we’ll show you what you can look out for to identify asbestos roof tiles. Let’s take a look!

Asbestos roof tiles are typically square shaped and they also generally possess a combination of grey and black colour. Although asbestos can feature a number of colours based on the kind of material you mix with it. In truth, asbestos can be very tricky to identify, when disturbed not only are their fibres totally invisible to the naked eye but they’re also completely odourless. This implies that you may not even be aware that you’re exposed to such harmful material for a prolonged period of time. In order to accurately identify asbestos roof tiles, the only thing you can possibly do is to call in a UKAS accredited laboratory to have them tested. This way, you’ll have a peace of mind knowing the result will point you in the right direction.

Do I need an asbestos survey to sell my house?

There is no legal requirement to have an asbestos survey done to sell your house. However, some mortgage lenders, estate agents and insurance companies may require one. Many home buyers and/or valuers will want to know before submitting an offer for your property.

What happens during an asbestos test?

The surveyors will check the entire property for signs of asbestos. They may take samples which can be taken away for anaylsis. If they find asbestos, they will inspect its condition, what grade it is and advise you of the best course of action to take.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is basically a naturally occurring fibre which, until the 1990s, has been a commonly used material in construction and other industries. There are three major kinds of asbestos fibres in the UK and they include crocidolite or blue, amosite or brown as well as chrysotile or white.

Before it’s life threatening potentials were exposed, asbestos was commonly used across the globe in buildings and structures as a means of insulation, roofing, flooring and was also sprayed on ceiling as well as walls. Upon the discovery of its hazardous features however, it has been swiftly banned in the UK but it may still be discovered in buildings and structures that have been erected before the year 2000.

In the event whereby a building or structure possesses asbestos within them, it can pose only a little risk but only if they remain undisturbed. It’s only when they’re disturbed or damaged that the tiny asbestos fibres are usually discharged into the air and can be easily inhaled into the lungs. Breathing in of asbestos is a very harmful thing as the fibres can have a terrible impact on your lungs and their linings. What’s more? Asbestos-related health conditions’ symptoms normally takes several years to surface which means that an exposure to the deadly substance many years ago may only start to show symptoms today. Therefore, if you’ve worked in a building or construction industry especially within the time period of 1970s to 1990s, there is a real chance that you’ve been exposed to asbestos. This type of jobs include ship building, construction and insulation projects, but this doesn’t necessarily imply that asbestos exposure can not occur in other jobs as well.

How to test for asbestos?

If your house is built before the 1980’s it’s likely to contain some form of asbestos material which when disturbed can release some harmful fibres whose inhalation can lead to a number of fatal diseases and health issues like lung cancer and asbestosis. If you suspect that your house contains some asbestos materials, the best step to take is to call in a qualified asbestos consultant to carry out a thorough inspection of the area so as to identify the potential asbestos containing materials in your property.

The result of the testing done will bring a peace of mind as it’ll confirm whether or not the material actually contains asbestos. In the event whereby the testing result shows that the material does not contain asbestos, this will significantly reduce your renovation or demolition cost. So if you’re wondering how asbestos testing can be done, simply continue reading.

Identifying asbestos is as simple as just looking at the material with the naked to check if it contains the harmful substance. The presence or otherwise of a potential asbestos containing material can only be confirmed by laboratory testing. A qualitative identification of asbestos in a bulk sample is the best method for testing for asbestos. This asbestos testing process involves taking a look at the fibres under a polarized light microscope and under varying conditions to determine the kind of asbestos it is, if present. The result of the testing, if positive, will identify the type of the asbestos discovered and this can be either white or chyrsotile asbestos, brown or amosite asbestos or, blue or crocidolite asbestos. However in the event whereby the sample doesn’t contain any asbestos, the test result will show NAD or No Asbestos Detected.

When was asbestos used in homes?

In recent times, when about to purchase or renovate a building that was constructed before the 1980’s, most homeowners will be particular about knowing whether or not asbestos containing materials are present. Also when a property is being checked, a lot of individuals would want to know the peak years for asbestos to be used in homes.

Modern asbestos production started in the 1800s during the time of industrial revolution, but after some regulation were made to ban some asbestos products and uses in the late 1970’s, the production witnessed a significant drop. The United States was the foremost users of asbestos according to the USGS but this lasted until the 1960’s when it was overtaken by the Soviet Union. In this article, we’ll look at the years of use for asbestos containing materials like pipe insulation, vermiculite as well as wall systems.

✓ Insulation. Asbestos insulation was commonly used in homes with lots of focus on both piping and ductwork. This was started in the year 1908 but was ended between 1915 and 1920 by Air-Cell pipe insulation.

✓ Vermiculite. This refers to a mineral that’s popular for its insulating properties and mostly used as insulation for attics. It possesses a gold to brown kind of appearance and it’s also a pebble material that shimmers in the light. According to the EPA, if this material is suspected in a home it should be assumed to contain asbestos.

✓ Wall Systems. Plaster and drywall are very common wall types that are asbestos containing. And until asbestos was banned both wall systems are said to have asbestos. For example the drywall sheets as well as it’s joint compound both features asbestos from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Do I have to have an asbestos test?

The legal requirement to have an asbestos survey carried out applies to non-domestic properties. If you own or operate a non-domestic property such as an office, shop, or warehouse, an asbestos survey and management plan must be in place. For domestic properties, there is no legal requirement to have an asbestos survey.

Where does asbestos come from?

The deposits of asbestos are commonly found in both rocks and soil throughout the globe. Historically, this material has been incorporated for more than 4,500 years for a number of purposes by our ancestors. However, mining of asbestos in large scale started only in the 1870’s in Quebec, Canada. It only took about a decade after this commencement before other countries picked the trail and also began the production of asbestos for industrial uses as asbestos rapidly grew to become an ubiquitous phenomenon across many nations of the world such as the USA, Russia, Italy as well as South Africa.

Today, several countries have placed a total ban on the production as well as exportation of asbestos as a result of the harmful fibre it contains. Asbestos has been discovered to be a life threatening material which when disturbed, it releases a harmful fibre that can lead to a number of serious health issues if inhaled over a long period of time. Most recently in 2019, the material was popularly banned in Canada, who for several years has operated the world’s largest mine of asbestos in Quebec.

Despite how harmful the material is, it’s however still being mined in some countries with some of its exporters being Russia, Kazakhstan, China as well as Brazil, with Russia taking the lead, covering for over 53 percent of the world’s total production.

Contrary to many beliefs, asbestos is not a man made material but a group of six types of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that are commonly found in rock and soil which are collectively known as asbestos. These minerals are primarily composed of both silicon and oxygen but also includes other minor elements.

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