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Asbestos found in your property? What do you need to do next?

26/09/22Asbestos found in your property? What do you need to do next?

Picture the scene. You have just bought the home of your dreams, a renovation project. You start planning architecturally what you want to achieve. The experts come in to check the structures and suddenly you hear the word asbestos.

Here is an action plan for what to do next if asbestos is discovered.

Action plan for discovering asbestos

The first step in any renovation is to have a refurbishment and demolition survey carried out. This is usually done by specialist companies that work this type of material for removal. They will identify and produce a report highlighting the type and location including what options are available to remove, encapsulate etc.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s composed from flexible fibres that are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion. It’s a useful mineral due to these qualities, however it is extremely toxic. It was widely used in the construction industry as an insulator, which is why it’s still widely found in older properties. Asbestos was used extensively in home construction from the early 1940s through to the 1970s. If asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested the fibres can become permanently trapped in the body. Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer and other health conditions as over time the trapped fibres can cause inflammation, scarring and eventually genetic disease.

How to spot asbestos

If your house was built before the asbestos ban in 1999, the chances are there will be some form of asbestos within. Materials containing asbestos can also be found post 1999, so we can never assume that asbestos is not present. Asbestos has been used for insulation, but it was also used in vinyl tiles, boiler insulation for pipes, roofs and some artex ceilings.

It was also used extensively in roofing and cement products. Bathrooms were often a key area to find asbestos because it’s not susceptible to water as a lot of other building materials are. Some asbestos was moulded into shapes for wall or roof purposes and these are sometimes stamped with the initials AC (contains asbestos) There is only one way to know for sure if you have found asbestos and that is to approach a specialist surveyor for testing.


Once the asbestos is identified it is then important to find a specialist asbestos removal company which will safely remove and dispose of the asbestos for you. There is a cost to this but once removed you can continue with your renovation knowing there is no danger remaining.

The HSE website has a wealth of information on asbestos including where to find it commonly and what to do should you come across or suspect it.

Buying a property? We provide RICS Home Surveys for buyers and sellers to assess the value and condition of a property. Speak to our team for how we can assist you with home valuations.


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