Asbestos Survey Reports
The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012. This legislation updated the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and previous Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR) 2002. The emphasis of the regulations is on the duty of a building owner or manager to manage asbestos within the property and take measures to prevent employees, clients and contractors from coming into contact with asbestos containing materials. Click herefor full details of the CAR 2012.
Asbestos is a mined silicate mineral that was used in a wide variety of building materials for about 150 years, but particularly from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s. Cement products were used up until 1999.
There are three main types of asbestos that have been used:
- Amosite (commonly called brown asbestos)
- Chrysotile (commonly called white asbestos)
- Crocidolite (commonly called blue asbestos)
Amosite and Crocidolite are typically considered to be more dangerous than Chrysotile, but all three types should be considered to be dangerous and treated with care. Asbestos is dangerous because inhaled microscopic fibres become lodged in the tissues of the lungs. Due to the typical size and structure of the asbestos fibres the body cannot easily remove them. They remain in the lung tissue causing scarring. This can lead to lung diseases (particularly cancers), especially if you are repeatedly exposed to fibres over a number of years. Studies suggest that asbestos fibres can also cause cancer in the stomach and digestive tract if repeatedly ingested.
The following are examples of some typical uses of asbestos containing materials:
Sprayed coatings used as thermal and anti-condensation insulation on the undersides of roofs and to steelwork and as acoustic insulation in theatres, halls etc. Usually contain 55 – 85% asbestos. Both Crocidolite and Amosite were used. Sprayed coatings are generally very friable and can easily release fibres into the air when disturbed or as the bonding matrix degrades over time.
Thermal insulation used on pipes, boilers, calorifiers etc. Asbestos content varies from 6 – 85% and all types of asbestos have been used. Often will be well encapsulated but any damaged or unencapsulated areas will have a high potential to release fibres.
Asbestos insulation boards (AIB) and millboard used for general heat insulation, acoustic insulation and fire protection and as a general building board. Found in service ducts, risers, firebreaks, infill panels, partitions, ceilings and ceiling tiles, roof underlay, wall linings, external canopies and soffits etc. These contain 15 – 40% asbestos and all types of asbestos have been used. AIB and millboard can be readily broken and abraded, releasing significant quantities of asbestos fibres.
Asbestos cement products used as roofing, wall cladding, shuttering, soffits, bath panels, ceiling panels, fire protection, water tanks, flue pipes etc. Typically contains 10-25% asbestos. Chrysotile is the most common type of asbestos found in cement although Amosite and Crocidolite have also been used. Likely to release fibres if abraded, sawn or drilled. Generally releases low levels of fibres.
Ropes, cloths, gaskets and asbestos paper are usually high in asbestos content, normally up to 100%. All types of asbestos have been used. Likely to release fibres if abraded, torn or cut.
Textured coatings, e.g. Artex may contain small amounts of asbestos, typically 3-5% Chrysotile. Generally very low fibre release although the material should not be drilled or broken.
Bitumen products used as roofing felts, gutter linings and flashings, damp proof courses, bitumen adhesives etc. Usually contain approximately 8% asbestos. Fibre release is unlikely during normal use.
Reinforced plastics used as floor tiles, vinyl lays, wall panels, toilet cisterns, window seals, laboratory worktops etc. These contain 7-25% asbestos, which is usually Chrysotile. May have an asbestos paper backing, typically approximately 100% Chrysotile. Fibre release is unlikely during normal use.