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What is asbestos?

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was widely used in the construction and manufacturing industries due to its heat-resistant and insulating properties. However, it has been found to cause serious health problems, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, when its fibres are inhaled. As a professional asbestos removal company, our primary goal is to ensure that buildings are safe and free from asbestos, protecting the health of occupants, future users and the environment.

Where is asbestos found?

The complete use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, however due to its popular use before this time it is present in many residential and commercial buildings built before the year 2000. Asbestos can be found in a variety of building materials, including (but not limited to) insulation, seals, roofing, flooring, and cement-based products. It was also used in a range of household products such as heat proofing on ironing boards, textiles and ropes and even used as a bulking compound in items such as crayons!

It was commonly used in older buildings, particularly those constructed before the 1980s. However, even newer buildings may contain asbestos, especially if they have been built using recycled materials or if the original building materials were not properly disposed of. Some common types of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) include:

  • Asbestos cement roof sheets and cladding panels
  • Downpipes and gutting
  • Boiler and pipe lagging
  • Textured wall and ceiling coverings
  • Fire blankets
  • Floor tiles and acoustic boards
  • Toilet cisterns and bath panels
  • Damp proof courses
  • Fuse boxes
  • Safe linings

How is asbestos removed?

When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, the fibres can become airborne and be easily inhaled. This is why asbestos removal should only be done by trained and certified professionals who use proper protective gear and follow strict safety protocols. Asbestos removal involves identifying and testing all potential asbestos-containing materials, developing a plan for safe removal, and properly disposing of the materials in accordance with local and national regulations.

The first step in asbestos removal is to conduct an inspection to identify all areas of potential asbestos contamination. A competent and accredited asbestos surveyor will take samples of suspected materials, which are then sent to a laboratory for testing. Once the presence of asbestos is confirmed, a plan is developed for safe removal. The plan outlines the specific procedures and precautions that will be taken to minimise the release of asbestos fibres into the air during the removal process.

During the removal process, workers wear protective gear, including respirators, gloves, and disposable coveralls, to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres. The area being worked on is sealed off from the rest of the building to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres. Specialised equipment, such as negative air pressure units, are used to control the flow of air and ensure that asbestos fibres do not escape the work area. Depending on the type and nature of the asbestos containing product the asbestos removal may need to be notified to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or Local Authority before removal is taken place. In all case asbestos removal will need to be removed by a competent and experienced contractor and in some cases the contractor may also need to hold an Asbestos License from the HSE.

How do you dispose of asbestos?

Once the asbestos has been double bagged and labelled, it must be transported to a licensed disposal facility. Asbestos waste cannot be disposed of in regular landfills or municipal waste facilities. Instead, it must be taken to a facility that is authorised to accept hazardous waste, such as an industrial landfill or a specially designated asbestos landfill.

When transporting asbestos waste, it is important to follow specific guidelines to prevent the release of asbestos fibres into the air. The waste must be transported in a covered container that is designed for the transport of hazardous materials. The bags of asbestos waste must be placed in a leak-proof container, such as a metal bin or skip and secured to prevent movement during transport.

At the disposal facility, the bags of asbestos waste are carefully placed in a designated area and covered with soil or another material to prevent the release of asbestos fibres. The facility is required to monitor the site for any signs of asbestos contamination, and the waste is then buried sufficiently deep to prevent contact with groundwater or other potential sources of contamination.

It is important to note that individuals and businesses are not allowed to dispose of asbestos waste on their own. Asbestos disposal must be done by trained, competent (and in some cases licensed) professionals who have the necessary equipment and knowledge to handle asbestos safely. Failing to follow proper disposal procedures can result in serious health risks, environmental damage, and legal consequences.

GLC Projects is a national asbestos removal contractor providing asbestos removal services in residential, commercial and industrial sectors. We work directly for clients in advance of other works taking place, or as part of a wider demolition or refurbishment project. Our asbestos teams are fully trained asbestos removal professionals with many years’ experience – we work to the highest possible professional standards. For more information or to request a quote, please contact us.