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 and the professionals working on it. Tradespeople will generally refuse to work on buildings that have an asbestos risk. You could also get sued if it’s proved that your building is a health risk.
If you don’t think your building contains asbestos, it’s understandable that you might be reluctant to get a survey done. However, it’s still worth getting one done. To give you an idea about why we’ve come up with 3 reasons why it’s worth having an asbestos survey.
1. Asbestos can’t be detected without testing
Simply looking at a wall or piece of insulation board is not going to tell you if it contains asbestos. A lot of asbestos products, like flooring, insulation and wall coatings and boards, can look the same as asbestos-free items. Professional testing is the only way to accurately determine whether asbestos is present or not.
2. New buildings aren’t necessarily asbestos-free
Asbestos has been banned from construction materials for over 15 years. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t still turn up. If new buildings have been built using old supplies that have been in storage for a while, they could end up containing asbestos. This is particularly likely to occur if the building has period features installed or post-construction enhancement. So while older buildings are more likely to contain asbestos than newer ones, you can’t make any assumptions.
3. Asbestos management isn’t always expensive
If asbestos has been identified in a building, there are lots of ways of dealing with it. So no matter what your budget is it’s usually possible to come up with an affordable management plan to effectively minimise the risk. Often, something as easy as painting over an exposed surface or installing a suspended ceiling below a roof containing asbestos insulation is enough. So don’t shy away from dealing with an asbestos problem, speak to an expert to work out an affordable way to manage it.
So while it might be a pain, if you’re doing building work you should definitely make sure that you have an up-to-date asbestos survey. This will ensure the health and safety of everyone in and around your building and keep you on the right side of the law.