What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that contains fibres. These fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals which has led to the use of asbestos in a wide range of building materials and products, often as fireproofing.
Since 1985 the use of asbestos in buildings has decreased significantly and buildings constructed since 2000 will definitely not contain any asbestos.
Where might asbestos be found in your home?
In the home asbestos may be found in:
- gutters/rainwater downpipes
- roof linings
- cold water cisterns
- warm air heating systems insulation
- roof slates
- soffits and fascias
- airing cupboard trimmings
- roofing felts
- ironing board pads
- roof and wall claddings
- internal partitions
- wall boards
- textured coatings (e.g. ceiling finishes)
- duct and pipe covers
- vinyl floor tiles
- central heating system
- window boxes
- storage heaters
Is asbestos safe?
Generally materials containing asbestos that are in good condition are safe. Asbestos is only dangerous when it’s in a loose form, damaged, disturbed or worked on, as this can release the asbestos fibres into the air.
If these fibres are breathed in over a long period of time, they may damage the lungs and can lead to very serious illnesses. Materials containing asbestos that are in good condition should be left in place because it may be more dangerous to remove it and cause unnecessary disturbance.
What to do if you think you may have asbestos in your home
You cannot tell for sure if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it. If you think you may have asbestos in your home please leave it alone, it is safe unless it is damaged or disturbed.
When carrying out DIY work around any materials that you think may contain asbestos, please do not:
- sand or drill materials which might contain asbestos
- try to remove textured coatings (artex) from the ceiling
- remove old floor tiles, lay new floor coverings over them instead.
How do we manage asbestos?
Our Asset Management department are collating information on the location of asbestos in our properties. Each time a new asbestos survey is completed it is added to the information held, and each instance is dealt with in one of the following ways:
- if the materials containing asbestos are in good condition we will leave them in place
- if they are damaged or in poor condition we will either leave them in place and encapsulate them to prevent further damage or we will remove them.
Where we are aware of any asbestos in residents’ homes we will advise residents of its presence and location. We will also ensure any other persons who are likely to disturb materials containing asbestos, such as staff and contractors, are aware of its presence, location and condition and agree the appropriate action that should be taken.
Should any asbestos materials (or materials you suspect may be asbestos) become damaged, then contact our Technical Services Advisors on 0300 500 6262 immediately. They will arrange to have the material inspected and/or tested and then either left in place, sealed or removed.
- if asbestos is in good condition leave it alone
- never break up or do DIY work on asbestos containing material
- do not attempt to remove asbestos containing materials yourself.