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  • Writer's pictureEvans Asbestos

How to choose an asbestos contractor

Updated: May 2, 2023

In recent years, the harmful effects of asbestos have become well-known, and the importance of identifying and safely removing asbestos-containing materials from buildings has increased. Asbestos can be found in many homes and buildings constructed before the 1980s, and exposure to asbestos fibres can cause serious health problems. In this blog, we'll provide some tips on how to choose the right asbestos contractor for your needs.


It is important to note that if you suspect that materials in your home or building may contain asbestos, you should not attempt to handle or remove them yourself. Asbestos is a hazardous material, and improper handling can result in the release of harmful fibres into the air. Always hire a certified asbestos contractor to handle testing, identification, treatment, and removal of asbestos-containing materials.



Asbestos sign


What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a multi purpose substance. Due to its fire resistant nature it has been very popular in the construction industry as insulation in ceilings, walls, buildings, boilers, pipes and more. However, as a cheap and versatile material it has also been used in thousands of different household products and materials.


After a series of serious health conditions following the inhalation of asbestos, blue and brown asbestos was labelled as a carcinogen and banned in the UK 1985. In 1999, the ban was extended to include white asbestos.


Since it was labelled as having cancer causing properties, the damaging effects of asbestos have only become more apparent. It is estimated that 20 tradesman deaths are associated with asbestos every week, most commonly from lung cancers such as mesothelioma.


Who is most at risk from asbestos?

Tradesmen such as plumbers, builders and electricians face the greatest risk when carrying out jobs on these builds, as disrupting asbestos could lead to them becoming exposed. However, anybody who may come across asbestos in their line of work should be aware of its warning signs, as learning how to identify asbestos is essential for your health and safety.


How can asbestos be identified?

Identifying asbestos-containing materials in your home or building is crucial for determining the appropriate course of action for treatment and removal. Here are some key points to consider when identifying asbestos-containing materials:


Appearance

Asbestos-containing materials may have a distinctive appearance, such as a fibrous or fluffy texture. However, not all asbestos-containing materials are easy to identify by sight alone, so it is important to have a professional inspect and test any suspicious materials.


Building age

Before 1985, all types of asbestos were still legal in the UK. They were actively used in buildings and home appliances throughout the country. Asbestos was used in everything from industrial factories to schools, including housing pipes, insulation and roofing materials to boilers and hair dryers. It is therefore essential that workers and tradesmen take particular care in older buildings where the risk of asbestos is higher.


Asbestos testing

Professional testing is the most accurate way to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials. A certified asbestos contractor will be able to safely and effectively sample materials suspected of containing asbestos, and send them to a certified laboratory for analysis.


What is asbestos testing?

Asbestos testing is an important first step in identifying the presence of asbestos-containing materials in your home or building. It is crucial to ensure that the testing is done by a qualified asbestos contractor to ensure the safety of all individuals involved.


Your asbestos contractor should be knowledgeable about different types of asbestos testing methods and should use a combination of techniques to identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials in your home or building. Some common testing methods include:


Visual inspection

There are three types of asbestos, known as blue, brown and white: Crocidolite (Blue), Amosite (Brown) and Chrysotile (White). While this sounds like they should be easy to spot, unfortunately, it's more complex than it seems. You can't actually see asbestos fibres because they are extremely small. Asbestos fibres are so small and light that once in the air, they can remain floating for days. You can only identify these deadly fibres under a microscope. However an asbestos contractor will have experience and so may be able to identify risk areas.


Bulk sampling

Another method of asbestos testing is bulk sampling. In this method a small portion (approximately a thumbnail size) of a suspect asbestos-containing building material collected for laboratory analysis to determine whether there is asbestos present.


Air sampling

One of the other asbestos testing methods used is air sampling. In this method, air is drawn through a filter to capture airborne asbestos fibres. A wedge shaped portion of the filter is removed, placed on a glass microscope slide and made transparent. An area of the sample is viewed and analysed by the asbestos contractor.



What is the best type of asbestos treatment?


If asbestos-containing materials are identified in your home or building, it is important to determine the best course of action for treatment. There are several options for treating asbestos-containing materials, including encapsulation, enclosure, and removal. The right treatment option will depend on the type of material, its condition, and its location. A certified asbestos contractor will be able to advise you on the best course of action.



How much does asbestos removal cost?


The cost of asbestos removal can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Some of the factors that can impact the cost of asbestos removal include the type and amount of asbestos-containing materials present, the location of the materials, and the difficulty of the removal process. The cost may also include fees for testing, inspections, and disposal.


It is important to get an accurate estimate of the cost of asbestos removal before hiring an asbestos contractor. The estimate should be detailed and include all fees associated with the removal process. It is also a good idea to get estimates from multiple contractors to compare prices.



What should I look for in an asbestos contractor?

When it comes to a hazardous substance like asbestos, it's important to find someone who will do the job well. The last thing you want is toxic asbestos spreads through your building and anyone getting hurt.


Qualifications

Look for a contractor that is certified in asbestos testing and removal by the appropriate regulatory agency. An asbestos contractor must have specialist training to become an asbestos surveyor. They should have a Level 3 Award in Asbestos Surveying or a Level 4 Certificate in Asbestos Laboratory and Project Management or similar qualification. A certified asbestos contractor will have the necessary training and experience to safely and effectively handle the testing and removal process.


Reputation

Check the asbestos contractor's reputation before hiring them. Look for online reviews, ask for references, and check in your local directory to ensure that the contractor has a good track record of providing high-quality services.


Cost-Effectiveness

While cost is an important factor, it should not be the only factor when selecting an asbestos removal contractor. A contractor with a low price may not necessarily provide the best quality of service. Look for a contractor that provides a good balance of cost and quality.


Looking for a reliable asbestos contractor?

Asbestos is a dangerous material that requires careful handling and removal. Hiring a reputable asbestos contractor is essential for the testing, identification, treatment, and removal of asbestos-containing materials. Do your research to find the right asbestos contractor for your needs so that you can get the job done right and breathe easy.


Evans Asbestos offers a range of asbestos services to domestic and commercial property owners across Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Southampton and surrounding counties. Our team of asbestos contractors will be able to advise you on the best solution for your property, be it asbestos removal or encapsulation. Contact us today for expert asbestos advice.

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