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Chances are, asbestos removal companies aren't top on your speed dial list, so finding a reputable company who don't charge the earth may be difficult to find. Forget trawling through countless interest searches and remaining on hold forever, let Compare My Local do all the hard work for you. Compare My Local is an online site that supplies you with three separate quotes from local companies in your area. With this simple, easy to use comparison site, all that's left to do is pick the one that's right for you.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that became a popular building material in the 20th Century due to its sound absorption, average tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and its affordability. It is no longer used because its fibres are known to cause serious health problems, which can result in death. Undisturbed asbestos usually poses no risk, but careful measures need to be put in place when removing asbestos or working within close proximity of this material. If the material becomes damaged and fibres from the asbestos become airborne they can cause extreme damage to a person’s health.  

The safe removal of asbestos should always be carried out by a reputable company who are trained and qualified to deal with this hazardous material. Asbestos is only allowed to be disposed of at a licensed waste disposal site. Therefore, if you are aware of anyone fly-tipping asbestos waste, or removing it in an unsafe way, report it to your local council immediately. Asbestos is an extremely unsafe material so please be vigilant.

Asbestos was not only widely used in commercial buildings up until the 1980s, but in residential properties as well.  It was used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. Despite asbestos no longer being used, it still exists in many homes. Places asbestos are commonly found are:

  • Gutters, pipes and eaves
  • Boilers
  • Garage roofs
  • In walls, ceilings and doors
  • Insulation panels in some storage heaters
  • Floor tiles
  • Heat protective mat on ironing boards

Asbestos is still a danger and can be found in many places - this isn’t an exhaustive list.

 

Dangers

Asbestos – the silent killer

Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

During the 1950s through to the mid-1980s, asbestos was extensively used as a building material due to its fireproofing and insulation properties. In fact, up until the early 1970s most of the buildings in this country were constructed with asbestos. Despite asbestos no longer being used as a building material, any building built before 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) can contain asbestos. It isn’t just commercial properties that may be at risk, residential houses may also contain asbestos-related materials. Garage roofs were often made from asbestos, even the heat protective mat on an ironing board. While asbestos materials in good condition are predominately safe, if the material becomes damaged in anyway and the fibres become airborne, the effects are deadly.

So why is it so dangerous?

When the fibres become airborne they can be easily inhaled. Once in the bloodstream it can develop into a life threatening disease.

Asbestos kills around 4000 people every year.

This number will continue to increase year on year as more people become susceptible and exposed. Asbestos related diseases won’t affect you straight away; it can take between 20 and 50 years to develop. Therefore, there is a real need for you to protect yourself now in order to prevent contracting an asbestos-related disease in the future.

There are four main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Asbestosis - a chronic lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Breathing in asbestos dust or fibres can scar the lungs and have detrimental effects on a person’s health and can shorten their life expectancy. Although there is no cure, some people manage the illness and continue a normal life. However, those diagnosed with asbestosis have a higher risk of developing other, more serious asbestos-related diseases.

Pleural Disease – the lining of the lung is damaged by asbestos and the membrane that surrounds the lung becomes thicker. Despite the lungs themselves remaining unharmed, it can impair lung function. Pleural disease can lead to difficulty in breathing, inflammation of the lungs, and the development of other, more serious lung conditions.

Mesothelioma – a type of cancer that affects the membranes that cover many of the body’s organs, including the lungs. It can cause severe shortness of breath, extreme coughing, tiredness, pain and in some cases tumours can develop. Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer and there is no cure.

Lung Cancer – one of the most common and more serious types of cancer. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Being exposed to asbestos and smoking act together to produce a huge risk of contracting lung cancer.

Due to asbestos-related diseases taking years to develop and be diagnosed, cures are exceedingly rare. Some patients are given chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery but in most cases this is to prolong life and make the person more comfortable.

Help prevent the silent killer by employing the safe removal of asbestos. There are specialist asbestos compensation claims solicitors, like Blackwater Law, that will help you claim compensation if you have suffered as a result of working with asbestos.

Regulations

The safe removal of asbestos is a growing worldwide concern. The laws and regulations are constantly being updated and adhered too in order to avoid unnecessary exposure.  An updated asbestos regulation came into effect on 6th April 2012 as a result of the European Commission's view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos.

Although the changes are small, this shows that the safety regarding asbestos is of concern and strict legal measures need to be followed. These changes are making sure that people carrying out non-licensed work still have to follow certain laws and now have additional requirements such as notification of work, medical surveillance and record keeping to comply to. The removal of asbestos by someone who isn’t qualified can affect not only themselves but anyone else who comes into contact with them. These new regulations will hopefully decrease exposure of this deadly substance.

Important laws and regulations that have stayed in place

  • If existing asbestos containing materials are in good condition and are not likely to be damaged, they may be left in place. You will need to monitor and manage their condition to ensure they are not disturbed.
  • If you are considering doing any maintenance, refurbishment or restoration work in your premises, then an asbestos test or survey should be carried out to assess any control any risk. We recommend you use a reputable asbestos testing company for this work.
  • If you own or are responsible for maintenance of non-domestic premises, you have a 'duty to manage[2]' the asbestos in them. This means protecting anyone using or working in the premises from the risks to health that exposure to asbestos causes.
  • The control limit for asbestos is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (0.1 f/cm3). Again, if you are unsure what this means then speak to a qualified asbestos testing company.
  • Training is a legal requirement for anyone liable to be exposed to asbestos fibres at work.

What has changed?

  • Some non-licensed work needs to be notified[6] to the relevant enforcing authority.
  • Brief written records should be kept of non-licensed work. Copy of the notification to the correct authority need to be proven. A list of workers needs to be kept and the likelihood of exposure should be monitored (although air monitoring doesn’t always have to be done, an estimate of degree of exposure can be made based on experience of similar past tasks or published guidance).
  • By April 2015, all workers and /or self-employed people who carry out non-licensed work with asbestos must be under health surveillance by a Doctor. 

These changes show the importance of employing a qualified company when it comes to asbestos. The government are making it more difficult for non-licenced people to deal with asbestos. There is a reason. Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance and can lead to debilitating illnesses. It doesn’t only affect those dealing with it, but anyone who comes into contact with that person. Asbestos fibres can stick to clothes and become airborne or inhaled even after leaving an effected area. It is important that if you know or suspect asbestos is present, you use a reputable company who is trained in dealing with such a toxic substance.

If you would like to know more about the laws and regulations of dealing with asbestos then we recommend you speak to an organisation specifically qualified in dealing with asbestos. They will be up to date with new laws that are constantly being amended and can advise you on any work that needs to be carried out or regulations that may need to be put in place in order to meet legal requirements. Don’t run the risk of dealing with asbestos yourself – you may not be abiding by UK law and could also be running the risk of exposing you and your loved ones.

ARCA

When dealing with asbestos it is important that a reputable and qualified company is used. If asbestos fibres are released into the air they can easily be inhaled and lead to life-limiting diseases. Asbestos kills around 4000 people every year and is in the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. During the 1950s through to the mid-1980s, asbestos was extensively used as a building material due to its fireproofing and insulation properties. In fact, up until the early 1970s most of the buildings in this country were constructed with asbestos. Despite asbestos no longer being used as a building material, any building built before 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) can contain asbestos. It isn't just commercial properties that may be at risk, residential houses may also contain asbestos-related materials. Garage roofs were often made from asbestos, some paints contained the substance and even the heat protective mat on an ironing board was made from asbestos.

When asbestos is released into the air, it is extremely dangerous to a person's health. It is therefore imperative that a qualified company is used whenever asbestos is present. They are specialised in dealing with this hazardous material and can test for asbestos, cover the affected area or safely remove the materials.

The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) is the UK's leading asbestos removal association, representing the interests of asbestos removal contractors and other businesses working with asbestos. If you are looking for a reputable asbestos removal company, then an ARCA accredited company should be who you employ. The Association has over 300 members and are the UK's leading provider of asbestos removal training courses.

Why it's important to use an ARCA accredited asbestos removal company?

An ARCA accredited company have to adhere to strict membership rules and attend intensive training courses. They have to demonstrate high standards of workmanship. Health and safety management is another area that needs to be addressed to become a member of ARCA. This means that an ARCA accredited organisation has met exceptional standards when it comes to dealing with asbestos and are able to work with such a dangerous substance in the safest way possible, without endangering people's health.

All ARCA members are independently audited at least twice a year to ensure that the high standards of workmanship and health and safety management are maintained.

ARCA members benefit from the latest information and guidance provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the associations own Technical Committee

ARCA members have a strong network, meaning their experience and expertise is shared among the membership. They are kept up to date with the latest technologies and safety equipment.

Sometimes it can be hard to choose the right company that has the appropriate accreditations and meets all of your requirements such as price and location. Compare My Local will do all the hard work for you. Compare My Local is an online site that supplies you with three separate quotes from local companies in your area. With this simple, easy to use comparison site, all that's left to do is pick the one that's right for you.

DO NOT remove, test for, or carry out any work on materials you think may contain asbestos. Use a professional, ARCA accredited asbestos removal company when dealing with the highly hazardous material.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When choosing an abatement company, make sure they are fully licenced and each operative is trained. The removal of asbestos is an intricate procedure that requires precision and familiarity with safety regulations. As mentioned, asbestos can be found in many materials.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that an asbestos abatement company should be used for the safe removal of any asbestos material. These professionals are specifically trained and adhere to certain safety measures, which are less likely to result in bystander exposure than abatement performed by someone who is untrained. The most important reason to use a reputable abatement company is to reduce the risk of asbestos inhalation.

If you try to remove the material yourself you are not only putting yourself in harm’s way but your family too. Asbestos-related diseases are deadly and are known as the silent killer – do you think it’s worth the risk?

If you believe you have certain materials containing asbestos, a company will test these products for you. If they contain asbestos, the abatement process will begin.

The contractor will remove any furniture or items that have not been affected, leaving the area as clean as possible. They will then build an airtight structure around the asbestos material to prevent the spread of any fibres. They will safely remove the asbestos, disposing of it appropriately. They will then conduct an asbestos test to check the level of fibres in the air and that it is safe.

Obviously price can vary depending on your individual circumstances. Things such as, how much material needs removing, how easy it is to prevent the spread of fibres and how accessible the area is, need to be taken into consideration. However, if you require the safe removal of a few household materials, you should be looking at between £500 and £3000.

We highly recommend that you DO NOT remove any materials you think may contain asbestos. Use a professional, qualified company when dealing with the highly hazardous material.