When do you need to use an asbestos removal company?

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If you've found asbestos in your home or workplace, then it's tempting to think that you might be able to save money by removing it yourself, but asbestos is a category one carcinogen, and breathing in its loose fibres can cause life-threatening illnesses. In this blog, we look at when to use an asbestos removal company and how to find one.

Can you remove asbestos yourself?

If you think you've found asbestos and it needs to be removed because it's in poor condition, then the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strongly recommends that you use a professional asbestos removal company to get rid of it.

Unless you have had the necessary training and information needed to work with asbestos, and have all the protective clothing and equipment, then you should never attempt to remove it yourself.

How do you identify asbestos?

Before it was banned in 1999, asbestos was used in thousands of products, particularly in the building industry where its heat-proof properties made it very popular.

It's often just one component of something else, like asbestos cement for example, and where it is more obvious, it can be hard to find because it’s been painted over or covered up. In cases, where it can be seen you might notice stray fibres – a telltale sign of asbestos that is starting to deteriorate or has been damaged in some way.

If you live or work in a property built before 2000, then you should assume that what you've found is asbestos and proceed with caution, particularly if it's in poor condition.

The only way to tell for certain if what you've found is asbestos is to have it sampled by an asbestos removal company. They will send away the sample for testing at an accredited laboratory where they can confirm its identity and what type of asbestos it is.

What should you do if you find asbestos?

If you think you've found asbestos, do not touch it or try to remove it. Asbestos is only dangerous when it's disturbed, releasing loose fibres into the air. Breathing in these hazardous particles can cause serious, life-threatening illnesses.

If the asbestos is in good condition, then we recommend that you leave it where it is and keep checking it periodically to make sure it remains intact. However, if it's deteriorating or damaged, then it might need repairing or removing by a professional.

Slight damage to asbestos can usually be repaired by encapsulating it to prevent any further deterioration, but if this is not possible, it will need removing by a specialist.

Most high-risk work with asbestos can only be done by a licensed contractor.

Licensed asbestos removal vs. non-licensed work

Certain types of high-risk work with asbestos can only be done by a licensed contractor. This is a company that has met all the necessary requirements and undergone the right training to be granted a license from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Licensable work is anything where worker exposure isn't sporadic or low intensity, and the control limit for asbestos exposure is likely to be exceeded. When it comes to removal, there are some kinds of asbestos that only a licensed contractor can handle:

  • removal of sprayed coatings
  • removal of pipe lagging (or any work that might disturb pipe lagging)
  • anything involving loose fill insulation or asbestos insulation board (AIB)

All licensed work is notifiable – that means the contractor you use to remove asbestos must inform the enforcing authority from 14 days before the work starts.

Depending on the type of premises and the material, the enforcing authority could be the local authority, HSE, or the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Some asbestos removal can be done by non-licensed contractors, including:

  • asbestos cement products (if they can be removed without breaking)
  • small areas of textured decorative coatings
  • an AIB door with asbestos fire proofing

If you're in any doubt about whether the asbestos in your home or workplace needs to be removed by a licensed or non-licensed contractor, call a removal specialist for help. At Asbestos Gone, we offer free advice over the phone to anyone who needs it.

Whether it’s licensable or not, any work that involves asbestos must be carried out with the right controls in place, and the people carrying out the work must be fully trained and have access to the right level of information.

For your safety – and theirs – all contractors should follow the general requirements set out in the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012). Remember that asbestos must be legally disposed of as hazardous waste and not thrown in with your household rubbish.

How do you find a contractor?

We specialise in asbestos removal, demolition/refurbishment, and management surveys. With offices in London and Kent, some of the areas we cover include:

  • Essex
  • Croydon
  • Sussex
  • Ealing
  • Brent
  • Sutton
  • Harrow
  • Newham
  • Wandsworth
  • Bromley
  • Greenwich
  • Barnet

If you live outside the South-East and you need to find an asbestos company, then we recommend contacting your local authority to help you narrow down your search.

At Asbestos Gone, we pride ourselves on a safety-first approach. We are fully licensed and trained to the highest industry standards, so you can rest assured that you're in good hands. What's more, we have over ten years' of experience working with asbestos in high-profile city buildings, commercial properties, and residential dwellings.

Asbestos removal – the key takeaway

When it comes to asbestos, it's not worth taking the risk of trying to remove it yourself. Breathing in the loose fibres of this carcinogenic material could lead to you developing a life-limiting or even fatal illness.

If you think you've found asbestos in your home or workplace, and it's in poor condition, then contact an asbestos specialist straight away.

If you are based in the South-East of England and you need help with an asbestos-related issue, even if you just need advice, contact Asbestos Gone. We are the experts in asbestos removal, and your safety is our number one priority.

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