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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous material that is made from a group of natural materials found in rocks. Large amounts of asbestos-containing materials (ACM’s) were used for a wide range of construction purposes in new and refurbished buildings until 1999 when all use of asbestos was banned.

This means that some homes built or refurbished before this time may contain asbestos.

When is asbestos a problem?

Generally, asbestos is perfectly safe if it is in good condition and not disturbed or damaged.

However, if asbestos containing materials are in poor condition or are damaged or disturbed, for example, drilled, cut or sanded, this can release fibres into the air. Breathing in these fibres can cause serious damage to the lungs.

Sound, undisturbed asbestos-containing materials do not pose a direct health risk but they should be carefully managed to ensure they are in good condition and to prevent fibres being released accidentally.

Where can asbestos be found?

Asbestos can be found in many materials including:

  • Roofing sheets, roof slates and tiles
  • Roofing felts or lining panels
  • Guttering and rainwater pipes
  • External wall cladding and panels
  • Fascia and soffit boards
  • Panels beneath window frames
  • Pads fitted beneath stainless-steel sinks
  • Cold-water tanks in loft spaces
  • Service ducting
  • Tiles, slats, canopies and firebreaks above ceilings
  • Internal partitions walls
  • Decorative textured coatings
  • Panels behind or under heaters
  • Panels on or inside fire-resisting doors
  • Toilet cisterns
  • Bath panels
  • Floor tiles and linoleum
What to do if you find asbestos

You can’t tell whether something contains asbestos simply by looking at it. Often you can only find out by analysing it in a specialist laboratory. livin have carried out an asbestos survey to your property and this can be found in the information provided to you when you commenced your tenancy. If you require a copy of the survey contact the Property Health and Safety Team in the first instance.

If you think any material may contain asbestos or if you think your home contains damaged asbestos material, then don’t try and deal with it yourself, contact us immediately.

If we find some asbestos-containing material that has been identified as high risk, we will remove it immediately using licensed contractors. If the asbestos-containing material carries a much lower risk, we will:

  • remove (if appropriate) when we do any major building work to your home, or
  • seal and bond the material to stop it releasing fibres

If the material is in good condition, sealed and not exposed, and so unlikely to break up, we will record its type and where it is located.

We share our surveys with all of our contractors so they are aware of the presence of asbestos and will take this into account before they start any work.

We will also inform you about the presence of asbestos in your home after a survey has been conducted, we will also inform you if no asbestos is present.

If asbestos containing material has been found within your home from time to time we will arrange with you to re-inspect the material.

How we manage asbestos

We have a legal duty to protect against the health risks posed by asbestos.

We regularly survey and sample all our empty properties for any possible asbestos-containing materials and if we find asbestos containing materials, we record these on our database.

When planning refurbishment or major repair work for your home, we will arrange for a survey to be undertaken before we begin the work, if there is not a survey already in place.

A specialist surveyor from the asbestos surveying company we use will make an appointment with you to come and do the survey. They may need to take samples from your home for testing.

We need to know what asbestos-containing material may be in your home before starting any building work. If you don’t allow the surveyor into your home, this could delay the planned work.