One of the most common questions we get asked by domestic and commercial property owners is this: how do you find asbestos in your building?
We thought it was about time we addressed this concern and helped ease the any worries you may have. So here is a brief summary of the many places asbestos can turn up and what you should do if you think you’ve spotted some.
The many forms of asbestos
Asbestos comes in various shapes, forms and sizes. It is a bit of a chameleon and blends in very well with its surroundings. There’s a reason why it was so popular as a building material, after all.
There are six types of asbestos, although some were more commonly used than others. The three forms most commonly found in buildings are: chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite; white, brown and blue asbestos respectively.
Even though they have colours, the fibers are still extremely difficult to spot due to their microscopic size and the fact they are mixed into other materials like cement.
The less commonly used asbestos is tremolite (white, grey and green fibers), anthophyllite (white, grey or brown fibers) and actinolite (white or grey).
Asbestos can be present in numerous areas in a property. Here are some key areas to cast an eye over:
- Window panels
- Floor tiles
- Pipe lagging
- Roof gutters and downpipes
- Water tanks
- Toilet cisterns
- Loose fill insulation
This is not an extensive list of where asbestos can be found. However, it gives you an idea of where it most frequently is discovered.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has an entire gallery dedicated to images depicting what asbestos material can look like in a building. As you can see from these images, even when you know what to look for, it can be exceedingly difficult to correctly identify something as asbestos.
What to do if you come across asbestos
A lot people who think they have come across asbestos start to panic, please don’t.
First, check to see whether the material is damaged in any way. Are there dents or holes to break the seal of the material? If there isn’t, it is not a danger to you. To be on the safe side, you could seal the material once more to ensure that it doesn’t run the risk of breaking. If you want to be sure you are in no danger, have your property professionally surveyed.
As we mention on our asbestos service page, it is when the asbestos becomes airborne it becomes a great danger to your health. If you see any breaks or dents in the material, that is when you should definitely have your property surveyed to ensure that you are not being exposed to asbestos spores.
If asbestos is found in you property, the company should help you to either remove the material or seal it in. Sometimes, actually removing the material can cause more risk than sealing it in.
Important points to remember
- Asbestos is an incredibly difficult material to identify in a property as it is commonly mixed with other materials.
- If you are worried about asbestos being present in a material, check for damage. If there isn’t any damage, asbestos is not dangerous if left alone. On the other hand, once it is airborne it needs to be taken care of urgently to minimise the risk of diseases.
- Get in touch with a qualified asbestos removal company to have your property surveyed and to have the asbestos material properly removed and disposed of.
We know the threat of asbestos can be be uncomfortable and distressing. Please don’t worry. Get in touch with our skilled team to discuss you concerns.