Your guide to asbestos in homes
Any home that was built before the year 2000 may contain some form of asbestos but, as long as it is not damaged, flaking or loose it is unlikely to cause you problems. It is important to be aware that your home may contain asbestos, so you can avoid doing anything that could put you or your family at risk. If you have any concerns about asbestos in your property, please contact us on 0330 175 9540.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral that was used in popular building materials between the 1930s and 1990s. Properties built during this time are most likely to contain some form of asbestos material. It is a good insulator and has fire and heat resistant properties, but asbestos was also found to be a health risk. It was banned from use as a building material in 1999 and strict regulations were introduced. As it was often mixed with another material, it is hard to tell if it is present in building materials.
What is the likelihood of exposure to asbestos in the home?
There are very low levels of asbestos in the air all the time, exposure to this low level of asbestos fibres is unlikely to harm peoples’ health. It is very unlikely that the levels of asbestos that may be found in your home will be harmful, but if you believe you have asbestos in your home, you should contact us so we can survey and monitor the asbestos to reduce the risk even further.
Where might I find asbestos in my home?
- Exterior of buildings: Sheet roofing (often found in garages), some roof tiles, fascia boards, soffits, exterior cladding, guttering and drain pipes
- Boilers: Some interior workings of old boilers, boiler flues, old electric night storage radiators
- Interior surfaces: Textured wall and ceiling coatings (for example Artex), Duct panels, infill panels (above doors), airing cupboard doors, panels behind radiators or heaters, vinyl based floor tiles, suspended ceiling panels, fire proofing to under stairs
- Other areas: some bath panels, fireplace panels, bitumen pads to underside of kitchen sink, some water tanks, old pipe lagging, garage and shed roofs and some pipe boxing
Download a copy of our Guide to asbestos in homes leaflet
Asbestos where it hides
A. Asbestos cement Water tank
B. Pipe lagging
C. Loose fill insulation
D. Textured decorative coating eg artex
E. AIB ceiling tiles
F. AIB bath panel
G. Toilet seat and cistern
H. AIB behind fuse box
I. AIB airing cupboard and/or sprayed insulation coating boiler
J. AIB partition wall
K. AIB interior window panel
L. AIB around boiler
M. Vinyl floor tiles
N. AIB behind fire
O. Gutters and Asbestos cement downpipes
P. Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement
Q. AIB exterior window panel
R. Asbestos cement roof
S. Asbestos cement panels
T. Roofing felt
AIB = Asbestos Insulating Board
(Contains public sector information published by theHealth and Safety Executive and licensed under theOpen Government Licence.)
Asbestos frequently asked questions
What should you do if you suspect there is asbestos in your home?
If it is in good condition and cannot be easily disturbed it is best to leave it alone. However, if you are concerned about the condition of any suspect material within your home you should contact us. We have a dedicated asbestos team who can arrange for a surveyor to analyse the material and inform you if it is asbestos. We will also inspect the condition of the asbestos material, and if it is damaged or has started to deteriorate, we will remove or seal it to stop the release of fibres.
How we will manage asbestos in your home
- Every property is surveyed for asbestos and our register updated, once a property becomes empty. This is part of our ongoing programme to gather an accurate picture of the type and amount of asbestos in our properties.
- We have carried out asbestos surveys for the majority of our properties
- We hold details of asbestos surveys within the asbestos register.
- Properties will be inspected again from time to time depending on the types of asbestos found and the level of risk.
- Remember, if the asbestos is in good condition and is unlikely to be disturbed or damaged, it does not pose a risk to your health, and we will leave it in place. We may seal materials containing asbestos to stop any fibre release and action any further works required to make the area safe.
- If we need to remove asbestos from your home, we will keep you informed about the work and what you need to do to ensure the safety of your family.
If you are a Leaseholder
Under the terms of your lease, you are responsible for the maintenance of the internal areas of your flat, including any materials that may contain asbestos.
If there are asbestos containing materials in my home, why not remove it straight away?
Needlessly disturbing asbestos containing materials that are in good condition may produce dust and could increase health risks. When we survey homes to find out whether there are asbestos containing materials present, we also check the condition of the material. Materials in good condition do not cause health problems. If materials are in poor condition, we will consider removing them or sealing them. The Health and Safety Executive’s advice is currently, to leave asbestos in place where it is undisturbed and does not pose a health risk.
Do I have to move out if asbestos is being removed?
We will carry out a risk assessment before any asbestos is removed and this will determine if it is safe for you to remain in your home while the removal takes place. Sometimes you must move out to ensure your safety in line with current regulations, however where you can safely remain within your property for the duration of the works, you can. Often the works only take a couple of hours so can often be arranged at your convenience.
What precautions can I take?
Never handle any suspect material or try to dispose of it yourself. Licensed and experienced contractors will be appointed to remove and dispose of materials at an approved waste disposal site. If you are planning to do any home improvements, or you suspect that a material that contains asbestos has been damaged contact us immediately. We can check to see if we already have any information about the material, or we can arrange to have a sample taken and tested to find out if it contains asbestos.
If you need to contact us, telephone: 0330 175 9540
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asbestos dos and don'ts
DO treat asbestos and materials that may contain asbestos with caution and respect
DO seek advice if you think there is a problem with asbestos in your home
DOregularly inspect material that you know contains asbestos to make sure it has not been damaged. Report any problems to us on 0330 175 9540
DO obtain approval before carrying out any improvements to your property. Please refer to the tenants’ handbook or Incommunities website for details.
DON’T panic if you think you have asbestos in your home – it’s usually only a problem if it is disturbed
DON’T drill, saw, sand or disturb asbestos materials in any way and be careful if carrying out DIY work – seek advice. In most instances, where asbestos is not damaged, it is safer to leave the material in place and seal or enclose it rather than have it removed