Asbestos ?? Please please can you help?

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by mikeyboyroy, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    Hi all,
    I'm 3 weeks away from buying a house, and I found that the integral garage ceiling boards (8x4 foot) might be asbestos.
    I have the propoer guys going to check, but I am stressing, and could really do with your "best guesses".
    House is late 70's, boards are hard to knock, and feel quite brittle.....almost cement like.
    I'm hoping these are either non asbestos, or white asbestos concrete, not that nasty brown stuff !!!
    I'm freaking out.
    Many many thanks, if you can advise / best guess.

    BLUEJACKET Active Member

    My best guess, is that it is Asbestos. No great shakes, will just cost some money to get rid of. B. J
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Dinitely looks like Asbestos, could be costly to have removed.

    Have a look Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA), they have a list of approved contractors, should be able to get an idea of the cost for removal.
  4. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    Unless you plan on knocking the garage about, I don't see what your worried about, it's been then for 40+ years without any problems.

    If it really bothers you just seal it with a coat of paint.
    rogerk101 and mikeyboyroy like this.
  5. teabreak

    teabreak Screwfix Select

    99% sure it is asbestos, looks more like AC (asbestos cement) than AIB (asbestos insulation board) but very difficult to say even on site without some investigation.
    Strange that no one has painted it yet most have had a coat of something in their time, good for you though at least it brought it to your attention.

    I have the same situation although mine is painted, I have seen the back of the board when I raised the floor in the extension and it has the dimpled finish that you usually get on AC so I just leave it alone.
    You say you are having it inspected if it is AIB personally I would walk away because it is illegal to work on unless qualified, where as AC can be a diy job if you take proper precautions, but if it is AC well it's up to you how you feel about it
    mikeyboyroy likes this.
  6. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    Thanks guys. Not content with a cover up, and limits development options....nows the time to negotiate cost, before I buy. Welcome any more views. Thannks
  7. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Personally, if it's the real hard stuff I don't think there is a lot of danger in it. Breaking it up won't make a great deal of dust. Dampened down, almost none. More danger in shovelling cement out of a bag!

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
    rogerk101 likes this.
  8. jb1969

    jb1969 New Member

    Well from the description, and what appears to be a wall, it is most likely to be AC (Asbestos Cement).
    - This is Chrysotile, white asbestos which is actually a different mineral to blue & brown. There are few unbonded fibres since it is mostly cement. The fibres are NOT the same type/length as the very dangerous types.
    - There are no restrictions (except on commercial removal), you simply wet and remove with minimal breakage, then hose out the area if an open garage.

    The HSE website will give you full details of how to remove it (mask, bags) and how to dispose of it which will be either the local tip (asbestos skip) OR a SPECIFIED asbestos recycling centre which will be a different tip AND each sheet will need to be double bagged in a thick plastic AND duct taped. Most such tips want you to take 1 sheet etc and show them you have wrapped it & taped properly (some want Asbestos labels, some not). In rare circumstances where a LA does not provide facilities (some in South?) you may need to use a covered red skip which is specific for asbestos cement sheet (cost is not much more than usual, eg, from HSS).

    Now, what if it WERE Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB).
    The HSE website makes it very clear #1 - leave in place if fine, preferably paint with PVA. #2 - Do not drill or cut unless absolutely necessary. #3 - You can ONLY remove 1m2 by DIY if NO centre fixing. Anything else needs a specialist contractor which is about £750-2000 for a typical domestic understairs to garage sized job.
    AIB is MOSTLY brown asbestos AND can have BLUE asbestos in it as well, it is VERY friable, soft and sheds heavily. In most cases it will have been plastered and/or painted under stairs until about 1984-1992 (I say 1992 as it does turn up later).

    Incidentally all asbestos boards will outperform modern boards quite significantly - but AC is quite safe and as common as mud from garages to soffits. Any seller should tell you where to go if a brain because every house in the area will have it - same with AIB understairs IF - and only IF - in good condition which means near perfect.

    DO follow the HSE website, it tells you the law & everything else, beware any cowboys. The record AFAIK is £22,000 to remove AIB from a garage ceiling in Liverpool. They had done most of a road before arrested and next to no money recovered (and no they were not from Liverpool either).
    Gatt likes this.
  9. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    Cheers jb1969. This is a garage ceiling not a wall though. Same verdict?
  10. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    i have read much on asbestos, types, etc etc. I am familiar with hse etc, and really someone can identify these large panels and tell me what they are. I have a test booked in next wed, so I will let u all know, in case anyone else comes across these.
  11. jb1969

    jb1969 New Member

    AIB is essentially a shredded wheat of very high brown asbestos, often blue asbestos content.
    The asbestos is MINIMALLY bonded with cement.
    The board is essentially like a woolly jumper of VERY loose fibre and VERY fragile.
    Any cutting should be done with NON power tools, covering surfaces with wallpaper paste & plastic sheeting the area, yourself in a bunny suit & face mask - and avoided where possible (left undisturbed it is quite fine).

    Chrysotile is very much like modern wood-cement boards, and is WHITE asbestos.
    White asbestos is a totally different mineral and technically not from the asbestos familly.
    The asbestos is NEAR TOTALLY bonded with cement.
    The boards are EXTREMELY RIGID and knock HARD with a bakelike kind of rigidity.
    Any cutting should still done with cordless low speed tools, because you are ripping fibres out everywhere.

    Chrysotile is actually a brand name for Asbestos Cement and is a trivially risky material IF you follow the correct HSE instructions on the HSE website. They are very clear and basically it is a non-issue - you just wear a mask, bunny suit, wet everything down, crop bolts, do not run in with a demolition saw or sledgehammer, you deconstruct and plastic bag.

    You can not stand in the UK without chrysotile all around you in the natural environment, house soffits, all over the place. It is a low risk material re fibre length, very much UNlike brown or blue which are very different.

    AC of course is a nice revenue earner - but trivial to handle.
    AIB frankly should NOT be handled by anyone except proper contractors unless you have to do work on a tiny area (<1m2) such as cleaning up some dumb plumber butchering a piece of it to get pipework through and leaving edges bare and exposed and cut shavings all over the floor!!

    You can cut a sample yourself and send it away for analysis (about £35?).
    If it IS an AIB board the HSE are notified - but that should not concern much because as I say you will find it hard NOT to find a house with AIB under the stairs until late 1980s. Where AIB is an issue is where it is subject to abrasion, regular disturbance, not painted / plastered - a critical example would be pipe lagging in underground or aboveground walkways where continual rubbing created monumental fibre concentrations in air. THAT is deadly.

    It could be a hybrid board - there are some, with a high brown content combined with white asbestos.
    In which case it comes down to how bonded the fibres are - exchange asbestos with glass or wood or calcium silicate for modern products :) True AIB is like chipboard without any glue at all :)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  12. Jitender

    Jitender Screwfix Select

    I was quoted £6040 to remove and dispose of 14m2 of asbestos in my garage. The board contained amosite and chrysotile.
  13. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    Ok guys. £100 for a test, priceless peace of mind.

    Turned out to be cement board, white asbestos.

  14. Welshdragon1

    Welshdragon1 Active Member

    Risteard likes this.

    BLUEJACKET Active Member

    I wonder if he meant 'NOT' white asbestos?
    Welshdragon1 likes this.
  16. Welshdragon1

    Welshdragon1 Active Member

    It is a possibility, will wait clarification, from OP ;)
  17. mikeyboyroy

    mikeyboyroy New Member

    cement board WITH white asbestos.

    Phew because (a) Not AIB, (b) Don't have to pay the CIA to remove it, (c) I can paint over it, (d) Havinly bonded fibers), (e) Self removal, less harmful than brown/blue asbestos (f) I can now buy the house without worrying about the unknown (which is the most valuable thing).
  18. teabreak

    teabreak Screwfix Select

    Yep! Nothing to worry about now other than the Radon gas, diy wiring, the chemical works next door to the 1665 plague pit and the bodies hidden under the patio!:):):)

    Seriously though, hope the sale all goes well for you best wishes ;)
  19. Welshdragon1

    Welshdragon1 Active Member

    Nothing to worry about Eh!!!!!

    What is asbestos?

    Asbestos is a general term for a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres. Materials containing asbestos used to be widely used in construction, because they are strong, durable and fire-resistant.

    There were three main types of asbestos in commercial use:

    • crocidolite ("blue asbestos")
    • amosite ("brown asbestos")
    • chrysotile ("white asbestos")
    All these types of asbestos are hazardous if a material containing them becomes damaged and the fibres are released into the air.

    No crocidolite was imported into the UK after 1970, and both amosite and crocidolite were banned in 1985 (although voluntary bans on the industrial use of both these materials came into force earlier than this). Chrysotile was not banned until 1999.

    This means that, although asbestos is no longer used, materials containing asbestos are still found in many older buildings.

  20. Welshdragon1

    Welshdragon1 Active Member

    Asbestos in your home

    If you are concerned that your house may contain asbestos, you can seek advice from an environmental health officer at your local authority or council.

    In these circumstances, it may be best to leave any asbestos-containing materials where they are – especially if they are in good condition and unlikely to get damaged. You should check the condition of the materials from time to time to make sure they haven't been damaged or started to deteriorate.

    Slightly damaged asbestos-containing materials can sometimes be repaired by sealing or enclosing them. However, this should only be done by someone with the necessary training. Any badly-damaged asbestos material that cannot be protected should be removed by someone who is appropriately trained. Your local environmental health officer can advise you about this.

    If you are planning any home improvements, repairs or maintenance, and you intend to bring in any additional workers or contractors, you should inform them of any asbestos materials in your home before they start work. This will help reduce the risks of any asbestos-containing material being disturbed.

    You can search for who to contact about asbestos in your home on the GOV.UK website.

    Asbestos in your workplace

    If your job doesn't directly put you at risk of asbestos exposure, but you are concerned about asbestos in your workplace, speak to the building duty holder about what they are doing to monitor and manage the situation.

    A duty holder is someone who is responsible for maintaining and repairing non-domestic premises.

    If any asbestos-containing materials in your workplace are assessed as being in good condition, and not in a position where they are likely to be damaged, they will usually be left in place and monitored.

    However, asbestos-containing materials that are in a poor condition or are likely to be damaged during the normal use of the building should be sealed, enclosed or removed as appropriate.

    Working with asbestos

    If your job means that you could potentially be exposed to asbestos fibres, make sure the appropriate precautions are taken before and during any work you do.

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has drawn up the following checklist for employers, managers and traders to go through before carrying out work on a building that may contain asbestos:

    • Identify whether asbestos is present and determine its type and condition – this may mean checking with the building manager or having the area surveyed.
    • Carry out a risk assessment to determine whether it's possible to carry out the work, while avoiding the risk of asbestos exposure completely.
    • Decide if the work needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor – the removal of certain types of asbestos-containing material will need to be done by a contractor holding a licence from the HSE.
    • If the work is not licensable, decide if the work needs to be notified – some jobs require the relevant enforcing authority to be notified of what you are doing
    • Ensure that those carrying out the work are suitably trained – any worker who may disturb asbestos during their daily work needs to receive appropriate training, so that they can protect themselves and others.
    Steps that may help reduce your exposure to asbestos during your work include wearing protective equipment (such as a suitable face mask), cleaning up as you go (using a vacuum cleaner or wet rags, rather than sweeping) and not using power tools whenever possible.

    Want to know more?
    The HSE website has more information about:

    You may also find it useful to read the Control of Asbestos Regulations (2012), which outline the measures that should be in place to reduce the risk of asbestos exposure.

    Read the full Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (PDF, 143kb).

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