Asbestos was used in over 3000 building materials and products, most widely from the 1950s until 1999. Because of its wide use in construction, it is still present in a large proportion of UK residential and commercial stock built before the year 2000.
There are various different types of asbestos that pose different levels of risk. Here we explain a bit about the differences between each substance and where they are likely to be found, so you can be better informed and help keep yourself and others safe from asbestos exposure.
Typical Asbestos Containing Materials:
Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB). This is a higher risk licensable material and was used predominantly as a fire proofing material, but also as a general building board in walls, ceilings and external soffit panels. It was used until the mid 1980s.
Sprayed Asbestos. Known as ‘flock’ or ‘limpet’, sprayed insulated is a licensable, very high risk material that easily releases asbestos fibres. It has a very high asbestos content. Typical applications include the ceilings and bulkheads of underground and multi storey car parks to act as fire and acoustic insulation. Sprayed asbestos was typically phased out in the late 1970s.
Thermal and Loose Insulation. Typically applied to hot water pipework, water tanks and calorifiers as a thermal insulator. Also occasionally found as a loose fill insulation in lofts, wall or floor voids. Insulation is a licensable, high risk material which was used up until the mid 1980s.
Asbestos Cement. Generally used externally as a material in roofing sheets, wall boards, soffits and rain water goods, asbestos cement is very durable and waterproof. Also used internally as wall and ceiling boards, water tanks, flues and bath panels. A lower risk material, cement was used until 1999 when all ACMs were completely prohibited for import and use within the UK.
Textured Coating. Known widely by one of its main trade names ‘Artex’ is a decorative plaster coating with a small amount of white asbestos used as a binding agent. Asbestos containing textured coating is lower risk and was used until 1986.