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Survey Safe is an independent consulting firm

offering comprehensive asbestos surveying

solutions to domestic and industrial clients.

You can be assured that you will be offered

the best possible advice at competitive rates.

Asbestos is a hidden health hazard in millions of homes

Over Half of Residential Properties Contain Asbestos.

Not many people realise that asbestos was only finally banned in the United Kingdom in 1999 and few people realise it is present in about half of all residential properties.

Your home has about a 50% chance of containing asbestos, which could be lethal if it should be disturbed.

Why is Asbestos There?

The use of asbestos has been very common in the industrialised world since about the middle of the 19th century and it was not until 1999 that a total ban was imposed. It has been very widely used in residential properties and in private homes, more than half are likely to include some asbestos containing materials.

Although this statement appears very alarming, asbestos is only likely to pose a danger to peoples health if it is disturbed or damaged and released into the air and you breathe it in. Then you could be at long term risk of developing lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma. The latter is a form of cancer that forms in the lining of the chest or abdomen and worst of all, there is no cure for the condition. Experts say that there should be little or no risk if the asbestos is enclosed and left undisturbed but it must be regularly checked for signs of deterioration.

Asbestos: A DIY Hazard!

But accidents do happen and the previously concealed asbestos could be released when DIY improvements or other work is being carried out, or even when a pipe bursts and water causes damage to a ceiling that could contain asbestos.

A common problem is when water pipes burst in the loft of a property and damage is caused to ceilings. These ceilings are frequently covered with Artex coatings and Artex used to have asbestos as part of its make up. If ceilings collapse, people often use industrial dryers and dehumidifiers that can blow asbestos around the property. The clean up process when this happpens must be conducted correctly and could take several months.

Although the results of sampling tests of Artex may indicate a low number of asbestos particles in the air, people who have had this problem are frequently concerned for the future.

The Importance of Checking Your Insurance Policy.

It is also worth checking to make sure that your insurance companies will pick up the bill for repairs and asbestos removal or encapsulation procedures should they arise as not all policies cover this. The cost of this can be very high when one considers the need to employ a specialist asbestos abatement company to conduct air-quality and material sampling tests. There could also be an issue of emergency accommodation while any work is carried out. Also any soft furnishings in the house will have to be disposed of under controlled conditions should asbestos contamination have occurred.

Be aware that the Association of British Insurers have pointed out that insurance policies will cover removal of asbestos only as part of a householders damage claim, and not simply because asbestos happens to have been identified.

Asbestos in Older Properties.

In older homes, asbestos is often present in ceilings decorated using Artex textured coating. This is owing to the fact that, until the mid-1980s, Artex was made with white asbestos to strengthen it. However, it isn't just ceilings that can cause problems, you can find asbestos products used in the strangest of places and sometimes apparently for no reason. Often builders used whatever they had lying around, so you could often find off cuts of asbestos boards used as packing and filler.

It is estimated that 30% of asbestos is found in ceiling coatings, 15% in boiler flue pipes and ducts, and 15% in floor tiles. A further 15% is found in areas such as cold water storage tanks, insulation materials, eaves, gutters and rainwater pipes, while 10% is in cement panel ceilings, 10% in outbuildings and 5% in fire protection materials, for example on the underside of integral garage roofs and in cupboards enclosing boilers. All very frightening statistics!

It is difficult to establish how much asbestos is present in a home without employing a specialist asbestos testing and abatement company to undertake a full inspection. Samples need to be taken away for analysis at a laboratory approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

With textured coatings you have to take samples from different locations. It may be free of asbestos in one room of the property but not in the next room because of the way it was constructed.

At present, the cost of a sampling visit could be about 150 plus VAT. If any additional samples are required during the visit, expect to pay about 20 plus VAT per sample. To remove an area of textured coating, such as Artex, containing asbestos costs about 1,200 plus VAT for up to 20sq m, including disposal and air-quality tests. This is why it is vital to check out your insurance cover.

Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 07730 446 224, email us at info@survey-safe.com or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

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07730 446 224