April 7, 2012

Some Asbestos Fact

FACT ?? some forms of asbestos were not completely banned in the UK until 1999 and many asbestos containing materials were still manufactured up to the mid 1990??s, as such an asbestos survey is a legal requirement for all non domestic properties built before the year 2000.From the early 1900??s it is estimated that over 6 million tonnes of asbestos were imported into the U.K.

This asbestos was used in over 3000 documented building materials. Only an asbestos survey, carried out by a trained asbestos surveyor can identify the location of asbestos containing materials through an asbestos inspection and asbestos sample analysis in a UKAS accredited laboratory.

The main reason for this is that asbestos was used in sometimes quite small quantities, from just a few percent (but up to 100%) as part of the ingredients of other non asbestos containing materials such as; asbestos containing floor tiles and adhesives, asbestos containing linos, asbestos containing paper, asbestos containing textured coatings (commonly known as Artex), asbestos containing putty, asbestos containing sealants, asbestos containing floor bath panels, asbestos containing partition walls, asbestos containing doors, asbestos containing soffits and fascia panels, asbestos containing water tanks, asbestos containing insulation to pipes and heaters, asbestos containing roof tiles, asbestos containing cement roofs, asbestos containing packers around beams in floors, ceilings and walls, and as such the visual appearance of any building material may seem quite innocent but potentially hides a killer mineral?? asbestos.

An Asbestos Surveys is a legal requirement prior to any employed person working in a domestic or commercial property in the UK. The asbestos survey does not need to be conducted to the whole property if only a small section is due for alteration. For example, you can carry out and asbestos inspection of just the kitchen or bathroom, if those are the only rooms which are going to be worked in. The basic requirement is that if the fabric of the building is to be disturbed then this disturbance should be preceded by an inspection for asbestos containing materials.Quoting published HSE statistics in 2010 there is approximately between 0.5 million and 2 million commercial buildings still with asbestos containing materials. Llewellyn of BRE suggested that 75% of commercial building contain some asbestos.

This includes, corner shops, pubs, offices, factories, industrial buildings, basic work units, high street shops, hotels, in fact it can be present in any place of work, anywhere.There are approximately 2.4 million domestic properties (this includes houses, flats and bungalows) with asbestos containing materials.Increasingly insurance companies and solicitors are requesting that an asbestos survey is carried out prior to the completion of sale on properties built prior to the year 2000.

This year it is expected that 5000 people (nearly 14 people per day) will die of an asbestos related disease. By approximately 2020 this will have risen to 12000 people per year (nearly 33 people per day). The highest risk groups of people are those working in the building and allied trades.Using Transmission Electron Microscopy it has been shown that in the region of 60% of plumbers tested had been exposed to asbestos though company documents only showed that 20% had been working with asbestos containing materials.

An asbestos survey, (be this a refurbishment asbestos survey, Predemolition asbestos survey which have superseded the type 2 asbestos survey or management asbestos survey?? which has superseded the type 2 asbestos survey) carried out correctly can prevent these exposures, however the asbestos inspection has to be in place prior to works commencing. This is why the HSE have made it a legal mandatory requirement that persons in control of building premises and those in the building and allied trades, including, builders, plumbers, electricians, surveyors, architects, carpenters, shop fitters and demolition operatives have annual asbestos awareness training.

April 4, 2012

Asbestos-it's Dangerous ?

Found in many older buildings, it's safe removal and disposal is a must. But how do you spot it, and what do you do with it once it's found? What Is Asbestos? Asbestos is made up of long, thin fibrous crystals.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that was used extensively in homes, offices, garages and other buildings during the 1950s to the mid-1980s primarily because of its resistance to heat, its sound insulation properties and its strength.Where Would I Find It?Asbestos was used in a great many products and materials, such as cement, insulation boards, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roofs, panels, laggings and pipes.

Don't just assume that because your house pre-dates the 1950s that it won't be in there, too. Renovations done during the 1950s onwards on older houses may well have included asbestos as a material.Why Is Asbestos Dangerous? Asbestos is dangerous if you breathe in high levels of asbestos fibres, if you are working on or near damaged asbestos, or if you are exposed to low levels of it long term. If you suspect you are working in area where there may be asbestos, or you come across a material that you believe may be asbestos, stop working and seek advice.

Asbestos is generally not dangerous if it lies undisturbed or has not perished, cracked or chipped. Where Is Asbestos Found?The HSE recommends a cautious approach should be taken when working on any building pre-2000.* Asbestos cement - found in roofs, wall cladding, downpipes and gutters, flues and ventilation systems.
  • Textured coatings.
  • Floor tiles, textiles and composites - found under carpets, fuse boxes, under tiles and inside metal cladding.
  • Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) - partition walls, fire-proofing panels in fire doors, lift shaft linings, ceiling tiles, panels below windows.
  • Loose fill asbestos - found in between cavity walls, under floorboards and in loft spaces.

Should I Go Looking For It? It's not advisable to go looking for asbestos unless you believe it has been used and may have perished or be unsafe, because undisturbed asbestos usually poses no problems. Often, and a major reason why people often don't know they have been exposed to it, it is difficult to tell the difference between asbestos insulating board items and non-asbestos materials, such as wall panels boards, ceiling tiles and plasterboard. What if you do find asbestos? How do you dispose of it?Firstly, if you are suspicious that something may be asbestos, simply don't begin to work on it.

Even if you are not suspicious, use protective equipment, including a suitable face mask, worn properly, when you are tackling demolition jobs. Wear a disposable overall, wash thoroughly and often, particularly your hands and face. Never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials. How Do I Dispose Of Asbestos? Never just chuck it in a skip.