In the domestic sphere there is no legal requirement to carry out an asbestos survey as there is in commercial or industrial. That does not mean that you won’t come across this potentially harmful substance. There have been signs of improving standards within trades in recent years, but you still need to be aware.
Asbestos in the home
Any house built before 1999 carries the risk that some part of it will contain asbestos. Its estimated that over 3000 different building products contain asbestos so it might be lurking in anything from flooring, wall panels, ceiling panels, insulation or electrical items to name but a few.
If you are thinking of embarking on internal or external refurbishment then it’s highly likely if your house is over 20 years old that there will be some form of asbestos to deal with. It could be lurking in the roof of your garage if it has a corrugated cement roof. It might be that your plumber uncovers it when looking at your heating system either within the heating ducts that could be lined with asbestos or on the old boiler itself which will be potentially cladded with it.
Safe removal and testing
What is reassuring is that it is perfectly acceptable for people with the right kits who don’t want to pay for a full survey to safely remove samples for testing. There may be multiple samples from different areas of the house that you need tested so you will need to order a kit for each sample. Once the samples are returned to us, the results are e-mailed through to the client within 48 hours. At that stage it will be determined what type of asbestos it is and whether it falls into the non-licensed lower risk category – this is determined by the category of asbestos material identified.
Our training courses
If that is the case, then we offer online courses which can be completed enabling the individual to safely remove and dispose of in line with current regulations. Although commercial and industrial sites should have a full survey, sometimes time does not permit this and one of these kits is used in that instance. There also seemed to be a resurgence in demand as part of the initial survey in the domestic buying and selling market. Perhaps people are more aware now that there are hazards within the home as we become more focused on wellness and environmental stress on the body.
Whether we take samples as part of our surveys, as a standalone sampling exercise, or our clients send samples to us, all sample analysis is carried out by our UKAS accredited laboratory. To ascertain whether materials contain asbestos and if so which type, analysis is generally carried out in a laboratory by phase contrast microscopy. For further detail, analysis can also be carried out by electron microscopy however this is expensive so is generally reserved for higher profile cases such as legal dispute and investigations.