Asbestos Removal and Surveys in Devon

Asbestos is a category 1 carcinogen, and is responsible for over 4000 deaths each year in the UK alone, and as such, all works with asbestos is strictly controlled by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). The majority of works with asbestos are subject to a contractor holding a license from the HSE, who must demonstrate exemplary management standards, arrangements, and technical knowledge to carry out works with asbestos containing materials.

At Gilpin Environmental we strive for excellence throughout all departments of the business to ensure we are compliant to current legislation. Our technical team are constantly ensuring the latest technology and methods are employed. Whilst maintaining compliance within our business, it’s also important for ourselves to assist and advise our clients what they must do to ensure their business is compliant with CAR2012.

Our technical and commercial teams can provide continued advice throughout a project as part of our project management package.

Asbestos Removals FAQ's

1What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a term to describe six naturally occurring silicate materials. These materials are actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite. Chrysotile (white), amosite (brown) and crocidolite (blue) are the most common forms of asbestos.

These minerals were used in the manufacture of building materials to add heat resistance, fire resistance, sound proofing, as a binding agent and tensile strength.

The importation and use of asbestos was completely banned in 1999, which is why the HSE state that any building built before 2000 may still contain asbestos.

2What does asbestos look like?

Asbestos was used in over 3000 different products. Very rarely will you find pure asbestos, but it is very common to find Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) in a building.

Some of the most common ACMs are Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) which can be used as wall or ceiling panels, pipe insulation, pipe lagging, asbestos cement roof sheets, asbestos cement roof tiles, vinyl floor tiles, vinyl floor covering, textured coating (artex), asbestos cement guttering, sprayed coating on supporting steels or ceilings, asbestos gaskets, asbestos rope and asbestos adhesive usually found on floors.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other products containing asbestos.

3Why is asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road. Around 20 tradesman die each week as a result of past exposure.

However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

When asbestos containing materials are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.

4What do I do if I think I have asbestos in my building?

Firstly, if you can see the suspected asbestos, is there any damage to the material? If so restrict access to the area/building and Call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696 and we can organise the safe removal and repair of the material.

If the material is undamaged, or you cannot see the material (eg. its hidden in a loft), or you do not know what the material is, or you do not have a survey for the building, then call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696. We can then provide you with a range of asbestos surveys to suit your need and advise you how to mitigate risks caused by the asbestos materials you have in your building.

5What type of asbestos survey do I need?

There are two types of asbestos survey.

These are Management Survey and Refurbishment & Demolition Surveys. As the Duty Holder (person responsible for the management of asbestos in the premises) you must choose the correct type of survey that fits your needs. You must also check that the surveyor is competent to undertake the survey you require.

A management survey will be required during the normal occupation and use of the building to ensure continued management of the ACMs in situ. Any non-domestic building requires a management survey and a management plan.

A refurbishment and demolition survey must be undertaken before any refurbishment or demolition work is undertaken in non-domestic properties. A homeowner employing contractors to work in your property must have a refurbishment and demolition survey in place before they start work.

6Why do I need an asbestos survey?

An asbestos survey is required to notify building users where asbestos is in a property.

If asbestos is in good condition and undisturbed then it poses little threat to health. Issues begin when people do not know where asbestos is. When it is damaged or disturbed it then releases asbestos fibres which can be inhaled, possibly causing asbestos related diseases, mesothelioma, lung cancer and unfortunately in some cases death.

An asbestos survey of a non-domestic property is also a legal requirement. The Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012) sets out thirty five regulations, which must be adhered to when managing a building containing asbestos.

‘Regulation 4 – Duty to manage asbestos in non-domestic properties’ outlines your legal obligations to manage the asbestos in your property correctly. The ‘Duty Holder’ is the appointed person to manage the asbestos in a non-domestic property.

7How much do asbestos surveys cost?

Each asbestos survey is unique and thus providing an answer to this question is very difficult. We would advise that you call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696.

Before you call it is a good idea to think about why you want an asbestos survey, who would be the client for the survey, what is the site address for the survey and do you have any floor plans of the building to show which areas need a survey.

8How often should I have an asbestos survey?

Any non-domestic building that was built or refurbished before the year 2000 should have an asbestos survey. This would normally be in the form of an asbestos management survey.

A Refurbishment & Demolition should be undertaken prior to any refurbishment or demolition works on properties built before the year 2000.

When you have a management survey in place you require an asbestos management plan. As part of this plan you, as the Duty Holder, are required to manage the asbestos in the building and part of this management is to have regular re-inspections of asbestos materials. This could be three monthly, to annually or longer depending on the property use and the type of asbestos present.

This process involves inspecting each asbestos containing material to see if it has degraded in the intervening period. If degradation has occurred, then the asbestos material requires repair or removal. Please call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696 for surveys, repair or removal of asbestos materials.

9Who can undertake an asbestos survey?

An asbestos survey must only be conducted by someone who is suitably trained, qualified and experienced. Asbestos surveyors at Gilpin Environmental have over 30 years industry experience, are P402 qualified and are perfectly placed to undertake any asbestos survey you may need. All our survey work is undertaken inline with HSE guidance published in ‘Asbestos: The Survey Guide’ also know as ‘HSG264’.

Do not hire a contractor to undertake a survey without asking what kind of experience, qualification, training and insurance they have.

10How long does an asbestos survey last?

Asbestos surveys can last anywhere from one hour upwards of multiple days. Time scales are based on the type of survey required (management or refurbishment & demolition), the size of the building or buildings to be surveyed, the number of samples to be taken, access in and around the building (are there areas of high level access or ducts below ground), the use of the building (is the building empty or a busy office block) and a large number of other factors.

Please call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696 and we can advise you on time scales for the survey you need.

11Can I leave asbestos where it is?

Once you have a full asbestos survey of the building you can potentially leave asbestos containing materials in place. These materials should be in good condition, with the a suitable encapsulant and be in a position where they are not going to be damaged through the usual use of the building.

If you require advice on managing asbestos in your building please call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696.

12Who pays for an asbestos survey if I am a tenant?

Who pays for the survey will generally be decided on the type of tenancy contract you have in place. Quite often the landlord will be responsible for the management of any asbestos in the building, but it is always good practice to discuss this before moving into a property.

If the property is shared, then the landlord should be responsible for the communal areas.

13Do I need an asbestos survey when I buy a house or flat?

Asbestos survey requests are becoming more frequent during the sale of properties. Once you have a comprehensive asbestos survey you will be in a better position to negotiate the price of your property purchase. You have to ask yourself, would I want to pay a small fee to find out what asbestos is in the property I am buying, or am I prepared to take the risk and potentially face a huge bill for asbestos removal?

Asbestos was used in over 3000 different products at the height of manufacturing with asbestos, and a large variety of these products can be found in domestic properties. Mortgage and property surveyors have a limited understanding of asbestos use and cannot fully identify all the asbestos materials in your chosen property.

We would advise you to call Gilpin Environmental on 01626 249696 and we can talk you through your options.