It’s no secret that when it comes to dealing with asbestos, safety should always be your top priority. Because of its hazardous properties and the severe health risks it can pose, it is crucial that asbestos is always handled and disposed of correctly. If you’re dealing with asbestos-containing materials and are concerned about how to keep yourself safe, you’ve come to the right place. In this complete guide, we’ll take you through how to perform responsible asbestos disposal, the various treatment options available to you and how asbestos removal companies can be of use.
Why is Proper Asbestos Disposal So Crucial?
Before diving into the specifics, it’s important to understand the gravity of asbestos disposal. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was previously used widely in construction materials - such as roofing and tiles - due to its heat-resistant and insulative properties. It wasn’t until much later, however, that it was discovered that when airborne asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can lead to serious health complications, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. As a result of this discovery, asbestos has been banned in the UK since 1999, and ever since its safe removal from homes and subsequent disposal has been strictly regulated to protect human health and the environment.
Performing a Safe Asbestos Roof Removal
As asbestos is so commonly found in roofing materials, we’ll be using roof removal as an example of how to perform a safe asbestos disposal project. Asbestos-containing roofing materials are often found in older buildings, and removing them requires specific expertise. Here are the essential steps that a specialist will follow:
After you’ve contacted an asbestos removal company, they will first come to inspect your roofing materials to determine if there is any asbestos present. This step is essential for ensuring that the correct safety measures are put in place during the removal process.
2. Safety Preparations
If asbestos is detected in your roofing materials, before the removal process begins, the area around the roof will be secured to prevent unauthorised access. All necessary safety precautions, including the wearing of protective safety gear and setting up containment barriers, will be taken.
3. Roof Removal
After the area has been secured, the asbestos roofing sheets will be carefully removed by trained professionals. Asbestos fibres pose the biggest risk when they are disturbed or damaged, so the removal team will take extra care to cause minimal disturbance to the materials.
4. Waste Containment
As the asbestos-containing materials are removed, they will immediately be sealed in special, secure containers to prevent the release of any fibres into the air.
Once all of the materials have been removed, the waste will be transported to an authorised disposal facility, where it will be safely managed and disposed of following legal guidelines.
Asbestos Treatment Options
It’s worth noting that in some cases, asbestos-containing materials can simply be treated rather than removed altogether, though this heavily depends on their location and condition. The most common asbestos treatment options include:
Encapsulation involves sealing the asbestos-containing material with a specialised sealant or coating. This prevents the release of asbestos fibres into the air, thus reducing the risk of exposure. However, this method is only suitable for materials which are in good condition and are located in low-risk areas.
Enclosure is another protective method that, rather than simply sealing the asbestos with a sealant or coating, actually involves covering the asbestos-containing material with a protective barrier, such as drywall or another durable material. This process tends to be utilised when the asbestos hasn’t been disturbed or damaged, but removal just isn’t an option.
If in Doubt: Have it Removed
Ultimately, while the above two treatment options are effective in some cases, asbestos removal still comes out on top as the safest, most effective option when the material is deteriorating or poses a high risk of exposure. If you have any doubts about which option is right for your home, it’s best to speak to a professional, who can advise you and carry out the most suitable treatment.
How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
If you suspect that there are asbestos-containing materials in your home and are considering having it treated or removed, one of the first things you might be thinking about is how much a service like this costs. In actual fact, asbestos removal costs can vary considerably depending on several factors:
Type & Amount of Asbestos
The type of asbestos found in building materials, as well as the volume of it that needs to be removed, will heavily affect the cost of the service you’re paying for. Some materials are far more challenging and time-consuming to remove than others, so you should factor this into your budget.
Location & Accessibility
The location of the materials within your home, as well as how accessible they are, can also impact the cost of removal. For example, asbestos situated in confined spaces may require additional precautions and labour.
As mentioned in the asbestos removal process section above, there are certain, necessary steps that need to be taken in order to ensure safety for all involved. Naturally, however, these additional services incur their own fees. If asbestos testing is required to identify the presence of harmful materials, for example, this will naturally need to be factored into the overall cost. Proper safety measures and disposal tasks, though essential, also come at an additional fee.
As with any professional service, prices will vary between companies and as such, it’s important to obtain quotes from multiple sources to get a clear picture of the specific costs involved in your asbestos disposal project.
Choosing a Reliable Asbestos Removal Company
When it comes to something as serious as asbestos removal, having a reliable team of professionals by your side is paramount for ensuring that everyone is kept safe during the process - not to mention for giving you peace of mind! As such, you’ll need to make sure you aren’t taking any unnecessary risks by simply hiring the first business you find. Instead, try taking the time to shop around and choose an asbestos removal company you feel that you can trust to get the job done responsibly. To help you do this, here are a few characteristics to keep an eye out for during your search.
While there are certain licence exemptions for some types of asbestos work - including instances where asbestos exposure is infrequent and stays within 0.1 fibres per centimetre cube of air - it’s worth playing it safe and ensuring that your contractor has the necessary certifications from the Asbestos Licensing Unit. This information can often be found on a company’s website, but you can also give them a call to ask for proof of their licence.
Due to the extremely hazardous nature of asbestos removal, finding a reputable company could not be more important. Ask friends, relatives, neighbours and colleagues for suggestions of reliable service providers; you can also look online for top-rated contractors in your area. A company with a solid track record will inevitably have testimonials in support of their services, so make sure to choose a company with plenty of glowing reviews.
Naturally, the number of years a company has been trading is proportional to its level of expertise. A seasoned asbestos contractor will be knowledgeable about removing asbestos from a wide variety of facilities, including homes and commercial buildings. If they’ve been in the area for a while, they’ll also be conversant with local building designs and will thus be able to more accurately locate asbestos.
Looking for Asbestos Roof Removal Services?
As we hope we’ve demonstrated, handling asbestos on your own is just not worth the health risks and potential legal consequences. Instead, entrust the job to experienced professionals like Evans Asbestos. Based in Dorset, our team of licensed specialists carry out a number of asbestos treatment and removal services in accordance with safety regulations. When you reach out to us, we will assess your needs, provide you with a detailed plan and ensure that asbestos is managed and disposed of in the safest and most compliant manner possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange for one of our contractors to come and inspect your home for signs of asbestos.