Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the late nineties. It was used for a variety of purposes and was ideal for fireproofing and insulation. Any building built before 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc.) may contain asbestos. Asbestos can cause serious illness, often taking a long time to develop, the most serious being Mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer).
Asbestos materials in good condition can be safely managed. If asbestos is damaged or disturbed the fibres become airborne, it then needs to be removed or encapsulated under controlled conditions by a contractor licensed by the Health & Safety Executive.
Working with asbestos containing materials (ACMs) is one of the UK’s most regulated industries. Most asbestos removal work will require a licensed contractor holding an asbestos licence from the HSE.
Asbestos removal falls into three main categories:
|Notifiable work – this type of work covers asbestos containing materials such as insulation board, pipe lagging and thermal insulation. The work must be notified to the HSE a minimum of 14 days before the work commences. The work is carried out under fully controlled conditions and will require an analyst to carry out a 4-stage clearance on completion.|
|Notifiable Non-licensed work (NNLW) – this type of work requires a notification to the HSE but a 14 day notification period is not required. It covers asbestos containing materials such as textured coating ceilings or badly damaged asbestos cement products for example.|
A site visit to assess the building, the condition of the asbestos and whether further sampling will be required will then determine which category the asbestos falls into.