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 2022

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£164

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£442

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£716

£900

£675

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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 2022

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

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.

Do I need an asbestos survey?

It’s a legal requirement to get an asbestos survey done on non-domestic buildings and public areas of domestic buildings if they were built before 2000. So, if you’re responsible for maintaining one of these types of building, you must find out if an asbestos survey has been conducted, and get one done if it hasn’t.

For domestic properties, you only need to get an asbestos survey done if your home was built before 2000 and you want to do some building work. This is because if any materials containing asbestos are damaged during the work, they could pose a serious health risk, so might need removing first.

However, if you’re worried about asbestos in any parts of your home that are deteriorating, you might want to get an asbestos survey done anyway.

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.

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.

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.

Does a house survey check for asbestos?

A typical Homebuyer Report or Building Survey Report doesn’t usually involve checking for asbestos. Your surveyor may let you know that there are certain parts of the property that are likely to contain asbestos, but they won’t do any testing. This means that, if you want to be sure about whether a property contains asbestos, you need to get an asbestos survey.

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.

How can I tell if my garage roof is asbestos?

Are you planning to remove or renovate your garage? Before proceeding with the intended project, it’s usually essential to firstly determine whether or not your garage contains asbestos. However, asbestos isn’t the easiest material to identify and even more so when you’re unsure of what it looks. The fibres on the other hand are not visible to the eye and can’t be smelt as it’s odourless. In this article, we’ll provide you some helpful tips to spot an asbestos garage roof. Let’s take a closer look!

✓ Figure out when the building was constructed. In the year 1999, a ban was placed on the use of asbestos in the UK, both to manufacture and supply of asbestos materials. As a result, if your garage was built before this period, then it’s very likely that an asbestos containing material was used. It’s also important to note that several garage roofs that contain asbestos are constructed with the help of flat or corrugated sheets of cement.

✓ Check the surface. When cement contains asbestos its usually fairly thin with visible fibres running through it. Also, the surface of the cement will have a texture and also some craters. If you an older cement sheets is incorporated, there’s a high chance that it contains asbestos.

✓ How it’s built. Asbestos materials are usually joined together by aluminium runners and help in position with nails that are blunt-ended. Take a look at the joints, if the sheets inside is held together by wooden or plastic runners then there’s danger.

Finally, roofs made from asbestos cement has a good chance of becoming very brittle.

Working safely with asbestos.

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