If your asbestos survey and/or testing reveals the presence of asbestos that could be harmful to your health or the health of others, removal is vital. However, not just anyone can safely remove and dispose of asbestos.
In most cases, you will need to hire a licensed or certified contractor to safely remove the asbestos from your home or other property. The removal costs, timeframe, and processes involved can vary significantly.
Asbestos is a mineral that comes in several different forms. Most governments, including those in the US and UK, recognize six of those forms as hazardous. While asbestos has been banned in the UK, many homes and buildings still contain it – particularly those built before 2000. It is harmful when airborne because the tiny glass-like particles are easy to inhale. Once inhaled, asbestos can cause various health issues, including conditions known as asbestosis or even mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer linked directly to asbestos exposure.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to tell just by looking whether asbestos is present in your home or building. It has no odor, and the tiny particles that eventually lead to illnesses like cancer are virtually invisible. If it were easier to see, smell, or otherwise detect, asbestos-related illnesses would decline sharply around the world. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, a 2015 article from The Legal Examiner researched reports released by the Office of National Statistics and found that asbestos-related deaths are still on the rise.
Before asbestos can be removed from any building, the surveyor must first find it. There are many potential sources of asbestos in the home or in any building, including:
Asbestos testing varies from surveyor to surveyor, and there are even kits homeowners can buy to collect their own samples and send them off to a laboratory. If you have any suspicions that your home may contain asbestos, a survey and test is vital. The surveyor starts with a visual inspection of the areas listed above. It is important that you provide access to these areas wherever possible in order for your survey to be accurate.
If the surveyor believes a material may contain asbestos, he or she will collect a sample, label it with the date and the area from which it was collected and take it or send it to a laboratory where it can be tested. At the laboratory, individuals who are specifically trained to identify asbestos will look at the samples under a microscope to determine whether those samples contain asbestos. Each sample collected will be tested in this way.
Once the samples have been tested, the original surveyor will provide you with a report showing whether asbestos was found in your home. The results are definitive, but this does not necessarily mean you will need to pay contractors thousands of pounds to remove it. In fact, in some cases, the asbestos may not pose any threat to you, your family, your employees, or your tenants.
Before a contractor can proceed with asbestos removal, the building must be surveyed. This is true whether a building is being demolished or renovated, or even if you have concerns that asbestos may be present in your home or other property. Many home and property owners believe that all asbestos must be removed, but this is simply not the case. In fact, in some situations, the attempted removal of some asbestos-containing materials can create more problems than it solves.
When asbestos-containing materials are undamaged, enclosed, encapsulated, or placed in such a way that disturbances are unlikely, these materials do not need to be removed. Remember that asbestos is only dangerous if and when the tiny particles become airborne, so if the asbestos-containing material is in a location where it is not likely to be disturbed, the disturbance that comes from attempted removal can be more dangerous than simply leaving it alone.
It can be quite disturbing to know that your home contains materials that are proven carcinogenic. Because it can take up to 20 or even 30 years for illness related to asbestos exposure to manifest, home and property owners are often in quite the hurry to get rid of it. However, there are other options. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends sealing asbestos-containing materials in such a way that they no longer pose a threat.
If the asbestos in your home or other building presents a health risk – or if it could be a health risk in the future – it is important to remove it promptly and safely. In the United Kingdom and other countries like the United States, homeowners are legally able to remove asbestos on their own. What’s more, per the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, those who work in a room or buildings where asbestos may be present have a “duty to manage” it, which simply means they are legally responsible for handling the asbestos materials safely. This means that anyone doing work in an apartment building or a place of employment where others could be harmed must do the work carefully.
Despite the fact that the law allows home and property owners to remove asbestos on their own, it is usually best to allow a professional to remove the asbestos for you. When you hire a certified asbestos removal company, the duty to manage falls in their hands. These individuals have the training and experience to safely remove and manage asbestos, as well, which means they are better equipped to remove it safely.
In the UK, the Asbestos Removal Contractor’s Association is a great way to learn more about the procedures involved in obtaining asbestos removal licensure. The ARCA provides information about laws pertaining to these contractors, as well. It is a good idea to read over the information and familiarize yourself with the requirements. This way, when it comes time to hire a contractor for your asbestos removal, you can rest at ease. You can also find a complete and up-to-date list of asbestos license holders at the Health and Safety Executive website.
Asbestos removal, sometimes referred to asbestos abatement, can be a complex process. For this reason, home and property owners are always better off hiring a professional contractor to remove asbestos following a positive test or survey. Nonetheless, many people find it helpful to understand the process so they know what to expect. Per the Hazmat Environmental website, asbestos abatement can be broken down into five steps.
The actual processes behind removing asbestos-containing materials vary greatly. Sometimes, removal is not the best option and the contractor may recommend encapsulation, instead. This simply means that the asbestos-containing materials will be treated and sealed in such a way that particles cannot enter the air and cause illness.
When it comes to determining the costs associated with removing asbestos, there are two things you need to consider. First, there are costs associated with having your property surveyed and tested for asbestos. Not only do you need to pay for the initial inspection, but you will also need to pay for the laboratory testing and the follow-up inspection if one is required. If you get an all clear, then there are no other costs. However, if the asbestos must be removed, sealed, or encapsulated, then the costs will vary based on the amount of work involved.
The costs associated with surveying and testing can be broken down into three parts. The initial inspection will range from just under £300 to just over £550. Laboratory testing ranges from just under £20 to just over £50. Finally, the follow-up inspection once asbestos removal has been completed will cost anywhere from £150 to just under £300. Please bear in mind that these costs can fluctuate based on the amount of work and time it takes to conduct a thorough examination.
Again, the biggest factor that determines the cost of asbestos removal depends on the extent of the work that must be done. Many contractors in the UK have minimum fees to ensure they are compensated for their time. For some contractors, this fee is £1000, and for others, the fee could top out at as much as £2000 or more – regardless of how small the job is. Once this initial fee is paid, the rest of the cost comes down to the extent of the work. Sometimes, the initial fee covers the cost of the removal, especially if it is just a small amount of asbestos in an isolated area. However, if you live in an older home, for example, and asbestos is present in many places, it could cost as much as £20,000 in the end.
If you are considering asbestos removal, the information here should help you make more informed decisions. It all starts with the surveying, especially if your home was built before 2000 and you have reason to believe the builders used asbestos-containing materials. Then, removal costs – and the extent of the work – will vary significantly.
If you're looking for professional removal services, you'll be pleased to know our free quote service covers the entire UK. We've provided some more information for specific areas, but by simply using our online quote form you can apply for free quotes in your area today.
Latest areas covered: Chepstow.
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