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 2024

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£165

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£374

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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 2024

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 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.

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.

How to identify asbestos?

Asbestos is a perfect example of a silent and hidden killer. The harmful fibre it releases is not only totally invisible to the eye, but also absolutely odourless, therefore can’t be smelt. As a result, you can walk into a room completely filled with asbestos and you still won’t suspect a thing. If you live in an old building ( built before the 1980’s) in the UK, it’s very possible that there’s some asbestos in the house.

Asbestos causes up to 5000 deaths in the UK on a yearly basis. When asbestos materials are disturbed, they release asbestos fibres, which when inhaled can result in lung cancer, asbestosis as well as mesothelioma which are all painful and fatal diseases. And perhaps even more importantly, you won’t notice any symptoms of having these diseases until after several years after your first exposure to asbestos fibres.

Therefore, to reduce these numbers, there’s a crucial need to to know how to identify asbestos so as not to put both ourselves and loved ones at risk.

There are three types of asbestos which includes blue or crocidolite, brown or amosite, and white or chrysotile. So they can easily be identified by their respective colour names, right? Wrong! Asbestos fibres can not be seen with the eye, it can only be detected under a microscope. They’re very tiny and light, and once disturbed and in the air, they can float can days. Asbestos are commonly found in several building materials such as cement products, floor tiles, paints, adhesive, partitions, cladding, insulation, doors and lots more. With its wide acceptability in the past, any building product you can probably think of could contain asbestos.

What does asbestos insulation look like?

By now, every homeower should be fully aware of the dangers of asbestos due to the fact that it can be found in a wide range of building products from the roofs and walls and right down to the floor tiles. An exposure to asbestos especially when disturbed can be life threatening as it can lead to a plethora of health issues which includes lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and lots more.

Asbestos are more dangerous when damaged or disturbed, but if they’re found in a great shape and are left undisturbed, then asbestos containing materials poses little to no threats. This dangerous material can be found in a large variety of insulation. And when compared to batt insulation, loose-fill insulation can be highly dangerous when it’s not installed in the right way. When poorly done, several particles of the asbestos can be released inside the wall or around pipes. As a result, insulation becomes a big worry that most homeowers will face down the road.

Homes that were constructed before the 1980’s commonly features steam pipes, hot water pipes as well as furnace ducts insulated with asbestos containing materials. And this is primarily because there’s no other fire retardant, thermal as well as acoustic insulator like asbestos that’s as effective and affordable as it is. However to really know if your building’s insulation is made with asbestos containing materials, you can take the following steps:

✓ Find out when your house was built. If it was constructed or renovated before the 1980’s then it’s likely to contain some asbestos materials.

✓ Although this is not advisable, but if you plan on checking the insulation by yourself, you should ensure to put on protect equipment such as goggles, gloves, masks and a safety suit.

✓ Check for insulation available in the building. The asbestos containing insulation in both batt and loose-fill types are grey-coloured so this shouldn’t be too hard to spot.

✓ Examine the pipe coverings especially the blanket type and cardboard coverings.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Working safely with asbestos.

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Asbestos Surveys, Consultancy, Removals and Remediation

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Julie M., DA8
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David A., TS13
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How Asbestos Sampling Works and why you Need it Published: 17/06/2017 Asbestos is a natural product that was used a lot in building and construction in between the 1930s and 1990s. So if you have a domestic or commercial property that is between 20 and 80 years of age, it’s possible that there’s asbestos in it. If you believe you have asbestos in your home, the […] Read this article
3 Reasons why it’s Worth Having an Asbestos Survey Published: 23/03/2017 Asbestos can be very dangerous. The UK government estimates that around 20 tradespeople die every week due to past asbestos exposure. If you’re planning to do building work to a property, it’s your duty to ensure that an up-to-date asbestos survey has been completed. This is to protect both the people who use the building […] Read this article