Asbestos in residential premises

If your property is more than 15 years old, it is possible that it may contain materials made from asbestos.

Common locations of asbestos

  • asbestos cement on garage or shed roofs
  • asbestos cement shed and garage wall panels
  • asbestos cement drain pipes
  • asbestos cement or insulation board soffit, infill panels and partitions
  • asbestos cement on the side of bath panels
  • artex and other decorative coatings

If your home is rented, your landlord is likely to be responsible for management of the asbestos.

What to do if you have asbestos in your home

  • the general rule is to always leave asbestos alone, it is usually safe unless it is damaged or disturbed
  • paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion, and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
  • if you cover up asbestos make a note of where it is so that you are not exposed to asbestos fibres in subsequent DIY work
  • always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules below if carrying out asbestos cement removal work. 

Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor.

Safe asbestos cement removal

Asbestos cement can be safely removed by remembering these basic rules:

  • prepare the work area - remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting
  • wear protective clothing - disposable overall with hood, disposable dust mask CE marked to EN149 with FFP3 particulate filters for use with asbestos, and rubber or disposable gloves
  • damp down - use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but do not soak the area as this will make cleaning up more difficult
  • remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape
  • visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand - wipe down with disposable damp cloths which must be disposed of as asbestos waste. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread dust around
  • pick up polythene sheeting and remove protective clothing and dispose of both as asbestos waste
  • wash hands and face after the job is completed 

Disposal of asbestos waste

Asbestos cement can be disposed of at a charge by residents at the Nuffield Road Household Waste and Recycling Centre, but you must tell the site operatives that you have hazardous waste in your vehicle. If as a householder, you intend to transport asbestos cement waste in your own vehicle, you do not need to be a registered carrier provided it is your own waste.

However, you should take the following steps to ensure that asbestos does not contaminate your car:

  • spray sheets of asbestos cement with water
  • double wrap or double bag the asbestos cement with heavy duty polythene
  • ensure the wrapping is secured with tape, and labelled as containing asbestos
  • make sure vehicle occupants do not have access to the asbestos waste
Page last updated: 29 April 2019
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