Asbestos was widely used within construction and engineering in the UK for many decades, up until it was banned in 1999. In the last twenty years, although it has not been used in any new construction techniques and projects, it can still be found in any building that was built prior to that date (which is an awful lot of buildings in this country). Asbestos is found these days in buildings where there is a renovation project going ahead, or in buildings where there is refurbishment of demolition required. In these cases, it is imperative that the person in charge, or responsible for the building, takes immediate steps to rectify the situation.
Asbestos sat in a building where no person can gain access to it, is actually pretty harmless. It is only when it is disturbed that an issue can take hold. Asbestos fibres are released into the air when the substance is disturbed, and it is those asbestos fibres that cause health problems to the person inhaling them. We still see many deaths caused by asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-cancers, despite the material being banned for over twenty years. This is because it can take many decades to present symptoms of any kind. To this day, we see older men and women who worked in industries where they were in contact with asbestos, only becoming ill as they reach an old age. By that time, it is a fatal illness.
That is why when asbestos is found in a building today, you should do everything you can to alert a licensed asbestos survey company to come and take a look at the area and to locate all asbestos present.
There are a few choices open to you once a full and thorough asbestos survey has taken place in a building that you are responsible for. In some cases, an asbestos management company will advise that the asbestos-materials are located in a part of the building where there is a danger to no person (where an area is never accessed). In these cases, the area is locked up and a note is made for future reference where the asbestos is, in a case where the building might end up demolished or refurbished.
In other cases, it is important to rectify the situation, and only a licensed asbestos removal company can perform these actions. If there is only a small amount of asbestos present, the materials that contain it can be repaired and sealed off, ensuring that no person can disturb the asbestos fibres. This is not a regular occurrence, as the final option is most popular the vast majority of the time.
A licensed asbestos removal service will enter your building, locate all asbestos present (including stating its condition) and proceed to remove the asbestos and all materials containing asbestos, in a secure and timely fashion. With that you can return to the building safe in the knowledge that no person is in danger of coming into contact with asbestos, or in the case of a refurbishment or demolition project, go ahead and begin proceedings.