Asbestos removal is vital as asbestos is a toxic building material commonly used in the construction of properties between the 1950s and 1980s for insulation and fire resistance. Although asbestos use in construction was banned in 1983 various building and insulation materials such as pipe lagging were still used up until a complete ban in 1999. If your house was built prior to the year 2000 you may have some asbestos in your home which should be removed. As asbestos was used so prevalently in such a wide range of materials it may be difficult to identify whether there is any actually present in your home, if you are concerned an asbestos survey would be recommended to prevent any potential exposure.
Approximately 50% of asbestos which was used in buildings are still around today, if left undisturbed this is perfectly safe to live with. A problem only develops when the asbestos is damaged, releasing fibres into the air. This may put your mind at rest but you really need to consider just how easy it is to damage and therefore expose asbestos fibres! For example, asbestos can be found in ceilings, a simple job like installing a new light fitting in a ceiling or garage (where asbestos is most commonly found) could end up being a risk not worth taking.
If you have any concerns that your house may contain asbestos it can be a daunting time, especially worrying about the consequences of any accidental disturbance of the asbestos. You may also be considering renovation work on your home but feel there may be a risk of exposure to asbestos. In these situations you should consider removal of the asbestos using a licensed and trained contractor.
Due to the risks and dangers from inhaling even one asbestos fibre the control and removal of asbestos is now highly regulated by the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
The type of asbestos removal is split into two categories; licensable and non-licensable. Licensable tasks carry a greater risk, require a stringent health and safety process and must only be undertaken by licensed individuals. Licensable asbestos removal tasks cover sprayed asbestos, lagging and insulation; these are the more dangerous tasks due to the difficulty in removal and the risk of fibres becoming airborne.
As a homeowner you can of course remove certain types of asbestos yourself but this wouldn't be at all recommended and comes with a significant risk especially as you will be disturbing the asbestos fibres. It is an exceptionally dangerous process and you must consider all the potential outcomes of doing it yourself compared to the ease and simplicity of hiring a professional. You must follow a very stringent procedure when removing the asbestos, this includes purchasing necessary safety equipment and clothing, following legal guidelines, being aware of safety precautions and ensuring all traces of asbestos are removed. Any fibres that become airborne will remain so indefinitely and pose a significant risk to family members. After removing the asbestos from your home you then need to contact your local council to dispose of the hazardous waste which can only be done so through a licensed waste disposal site. Choosing to dispose of the asbestos through your normal household rubbish is dangerous and irresponsible putting both your family and the public at risk.
Although you may think you are saving money on the cost of asbestos removal you will still need to buy the safety equipment and clothing, dispose of the waste and purchase other necessary supplies. Cleaning up the area after self removal can also prove to be expensive, you need to hire or purchase a Class H vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or debris to stop contamination of other areas. When hiring a licensed asbestos remover you will not have to worry about buying the correct equipment, following legal guidelines or cleaning any leftover fibres.
A licensed professional can give you a full removal service giving you complete peace of mind, from an initial survey of the potential source of asbestos to the safe removal, cleaning of the area and disposing of the waste. It is also worth considering there have been cases of Mesothelioma where people have had second hand contact with asbestos fibres, through clothing for instance. This should highlight the importance of proper removal of asbestos which is best left to the professionally trained individuals licensed by the Health and Safety Executive.