Asbestos Surveys

Both our Management Surveys and our Refurbishment / Demolition Surveys are designed to detect and analyse all types of asbestos present.

Sprayed coatings applied in the UK were typically a mixture of hydrated asbestos cement containing up to 85% asbestos, mainly amosite but crocidolite and mixtures have been used. Primarily used for anti-condensation and acoustic control and fire protection to structural steelwork. It is a friable material but if in a good condition and unlikely to be disturbed presents no immediate danger, however it is likely to release fibres, if disturbed especially during repair and maintenance work. As it ages the binding medium of sprayed asbestos may degrade with the consequent release of more fibres.

Thermal insulation to boilers, vessels, pipe work, valves, pumps etc also known as hand applied lagging. Lagging may have a protective covering of cloth, tape, paper, metal or a surface coating of cement. All types of asbestos may be found in lagging and the content can vary between 15 and 85% asbestos with the protective papers being up to 100% chrysotile. The likelihood of fibre release depends upon its composition, friability and state of repair, but it is particularly susceptible to damage and disturbance through maintenance work or the action of water leaks.

Asbestos insulating boards usually contain between 16 to 40% amosite, although boards may be found to contain other types of asbestos and in other quantities. Insulating boards were developed in the 1950s to provide an economical, lightweight, fire resisting insulating material. As insulation board is semi-compressed it is more likely to release fibres as a result of damage or abrasion. Work on asbestos insulation board can give rise to high levels of asbestos fibre.

Asbestos cement products as in roofing sheets, wall cladding, permanent shuttering, flue, rain water and vent pipes generally contain 10 to 15% of asbestos fibre bounded in Portland cement, some flexible boards contain a small proportion of cellulose. All three types of asbestos have been used in the manufacture of asbestos cement. The asbestos fibres in asbestos cement are usually firmly bound in the cement matrix and will be released only if the material is mechanically damaged or as it deteriorates with age.

Ropes and yarns are usually high in asbestos content, approaching 100% and all three types of asbestos have been used in their manufacture. They were used as in the pipe lagging process and in pipe jointing and also for packing materials as in heat/fire resistant boiler, oven and flue sealing or anywhere thermal of fire protection was required. The risk of fibre release depends upon the structure of the material; bonded gasket material is unlikely to release asbestos but an unbonded woven material may give rise to high fibre release especially if when damaged or frayed.

Cloth thermal insulation and lagging, including fire resistant blankets, mattresses and protective curtains, gloves, aprons, overalls etc. All types of asbestos have been used in the manufacture but since the mid 60’s the majority has been chrysotile, the content of which can be up to 100 %.

Millboard, paper and paper products usually have an asbestos content approaching 100% with all three types of asbestos being used in their manufacture. They were used for insulation of electrical equipment and for thermal insulation, Asbestos paper has been used as a laminate for fireproofing to various fibre panels. These materials are on some occasions not well bonded and will release asbestos fibres if subject to abrasion and wear.

Bitumen felts and coatings may contain asbestos either bound in the bitumen matrix or as an asbestos paper liner. These materials are not likely to present a hazard during normal installation or use, but should be removed and disposed of in compliance with any regulation applicable.

Thermoplastic floor tiles can contain up to 25% asbestos usually chrysotile, PVC vinyl floor tiles and unbacked PVC flooring normally 7-10% chrysotile and asbestos paper backed PVC flooring the paper backing may contain up to 100% chrysotile. Fibre release is not normally an issue but may occur when the material is cut or subjected to abrasion.

Textured coatings. Decorative coatings on walls and ceilings usually contain 3-5% chrysotile. Fibre release may occur when subjected to abrasion.

Mastics, sealants, putties and adhesives may contain small amounts of asbestos. The only possible risk is from sanding of hardened material when appropriate precautions should be taken.

Reinforced plastic and resin composites, used for toilet cisterns, seats, banisters, window seals, lab bench tops, brakes and clutches in machines. The plastics usually contain 1-10% chrysotile and were used in for example car batteries to improve the acid resistance. Resins may contain between 20 and 50% amosite, but because of its composition fibre release is likely to be low, even during cutting. The above is not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive list. All materials suspected to consist of or contain asbestos will be inspected, sampled and reported.