7 January 2016

Property repairs should include asbestos check

The recent storms and floods across much of the UK have left thousands of homes and businesses in need of repair work. As property owners begin the work of hiring contractors or doing the work themselves, they need to be on the alert for asbestos, particularly in attics, ceilings, flooring and roofing materials.

Property owners who are hiring contractors to do repairs are still advised to get an asbestos survey completed before any construction begins. A list of UKAS accredited asbestos inspection bodies can be found on the UKAS website. Similarly, those doing the work themselves should also consider getting an asbestos survey done.

Knowing what you are dealing with is the best way to protect yourself against unintentional asbestos exposure. Most homeowners would have insufficient knowledge to be able to identify asbestos in their home and could easily miss something or not dispose of materials properly. Similarly, even though some businesses should have completed an asbestos survey previously, it is worth checking that the affected areas were covered in the survey. This is particularly important if the fabric of the building has suffered extensive damage and it is likely that these areas would not have been accessed as part of a routine ‘Management Survey’. In this instance a more intrusive ‘Refurbishment and Demolition survey’ may be required.

The cost of any survey needed prior to any repair work should be covered by your insurance company and in some instances, the insurance assessor will be qualified and equipped to take samples of suspect materials on their initial visit. If the insurance company instruct you to proceed without an assessors visit, it is important to include an asbestos check prior to any repairs being carried out.

Asbestos is dangerous when it becomes airborne. If inhaled, the microscopic fibres become lodged in the lung increasing the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease in later life. There is no known safe exposure limit and even a single exposure can be a concern and a risk to health.

Enquin Environmental is a team of independent, qualified and highly experienced asbestos consultants, with full UKAS accreditation. We provide our clients with impartial, practical advice, guidance, surveying and analytical services throughout the UK.

For further information and advice on managing asbestos, please contact us on 029 20 535090 or e mail asbestos@enquin.co.uk