Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in the construction industry due to its fire-resistant qualities. However, it was later discovered that exposure to asbestos can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. As a result, the use of asbestos in construction was banned in the UK in 1999.
Although asbestos is no longer used in new construction, it remains a significant problem in older buildings. As a building surveyor, it is our job to identify the presence of asbestos in buildings and advise our clients on the best course of action to deal with it.
The first step in dealing with asbestos is to identify its presence. This can be done through a survey, which involves taking samples of materials suspected to contain asbestos and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. The survey will also identify the type of asbestos and its condition, as this can affect the risk it poses.
Once asbestos has been identified, the next step is to assess the risk it poses. This will depend on factors such as the type of asbestos, its condition, and its location within the building. If the asbestos is in good condition and not likely to be disturbed, it may be possible to manage it in situ. However, if the asbestos is in poor condition or likely to be disturbed, it will need to be removed.
As building surveyors, we work closely with asbestos removal contractors to ensure that any asbestos is removed safely and in accordance with the relevant regulations. This includes ensuring that the area is properly sealed off, that the correct protective equipment is worn, and that the asbestos is disposed of safely.
It is important to note that asbestos removal is not always necessary. In some cases, it may be possible to manage the asbestos in situ, through measures such as encapsulation or enclosure. This can be a cost-effective solution that avoids the need for removal, which can be disruptive and expensive.
In conclusion, asbestos remains a significant problem in older buildings, and it is the responsibility of building surveyors to identify its presence and advise our clients on the best course of action to deal with it. This may involve removal, management, or a combination of both, depending on the risk posed by the asbestos. By working closely with asbestos removal contractors and following the relevant regulations, we can ensure that asbestos is dealt with safely and effectively.