If your property contains asbestos or you suspect it does, you should arrange for an asbestos survey, or at the least, send off a sample for analysis. The results will tell you where the asbestos is and any danger it may pose to you.
There are three ways to go about getting your property checked:
- DIY asbestos sampling kits.
- An asbestos management survey.
- A refurbishment or demolition survey.
DIY Asbestos Sampling Kit Cost: From £30
These kits are easy to use and allow any competent DIYer to collect a sample from their property and send it off for analysis.
The results will be ready to view online, often within 48 hours.
This option is perfect for situations where the suspect material is easy to access, such as:
- Garage roof panels.
- Ceiling or wall Artex.
- Piping, lagging or guttering.
These kits cost around £30 but you’ll need to buy your own mask and other PPE:
Asbestos Management Survey Cost: From £200
An asbestos management survey is more expensive than a DIY sample analysis but cheaper than a full demolition or refurbishment survey.
A professional will visit the property and inspect all visible and easily accessed areas of the building.
Samples of any suspected asbestos will be taken and analysed and the customer will receive a detailed report of where any asbestos was found, its type, any danger it poses and a recommendation on the next steps.
The surveyor will usually look at:
- Areas that are easily visible.
- In the loft.
- Outside and on the roof.
- Behind panels, doors, hatches or under carpets etc – anywhere access is possible without using invasive or destructive methods.
The surveyor will typically look at places where asbestos is commonly found and where it’s likely to be easily disturbed by homeowners going about their daily lives or carrying out maintenance work.
The surveyor won’t carry out invasive or destructive actions such as pulling down ceiling sections or wall plaster although samples may be drilled out of suspect areas.
Asbestos Demolition or Refurbishment Survey Cost: From £350
This is the most thorough asbestos survey and costs the most.
The surveyor will assume that the building will either be demolished or substantially renovated and any asbestos, anywhere in the building should be located, inspected and included in the report. This includes asbestos hidden in areas that wouldn’t normally be disturbed during normal maintenance works.
The surveyor will first look at all the visible areas of the property and will then carry out invasive searches of walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas that cannot be seen without causing some destruction or disturbance.
Several samples will be taken and analysed at an off-site laboratory and a detailed report prepared for the customer.
This type of report isn’t usually required unless substantial works are planned as the survey is invasive and some minor repairs may be required afterwards.
The prices below are a guideline:
|Asbestos sampling via post||£30 for 2 samples|
|1-bed property (management survey)||£200 - £300|
|2-bed property (management survey)||£250 - £350|
|3-bed property (management survey)||£275 - £375|
|4-bed property (management survey)||£300 - £500|
|Commercial property (management survey)||Variable and depends on size and type of building|
|1-bed property (demolition or refurb survey)||£350 - £450|
|2-bed property (demolition or refurb survey)||£400 - £500|
|3-bed property (demolition or refurb survey)||£500 - £600|
|4-bed property (demolition or refurb survey)||£600 - £800|
|Commercial property (demolition or refurb survey)||Variable and depends on size and type of building|
The cost of an asbestos survey depends on the age of the property as an older house will likely have asbestos in several locations while a newer building will only have it in a few if any, places.
Buildings Constructed After 1999
Buildings constructed after 1999 shouldn’t contain any asbestos unless old second-hand materials were used in the construction. DIYers or builders could have used second-hand asbestos products during the construction of any alterations or extensions but this is unlikely.
As a general rule of thumb:
|Age:||Probability of Containing Asbestos|
|Pre 1870s||Unlikely but could contain asbestos retrofitted.|
|1870 - 1920||Possibly and could have been retrofitted.|
|1920 - 1999||Very likely to contain asbestos somewhere.|
|Post 1999||Unlikely to contain asbestos but it could have been retrofitted with second-hand building materials.|
Should Asbestos be Removed?
A common misunderstanding is that once asbestos is discovered in a property, it should be removed, whatever the cost.
In fact, many types of asbestos can be left in place and some types can be sealed or encapsulated (boxed in) so they don’t release harmful fibres.
Ceiling boards can be boxed in with plasterboard and pipes can be boxed with timber and warning labels placed over them.
Asbestos corrugated roof panels can be sealed internally and externally with specialist sealers and paints that trap the harmful fibres so they won’t be released into the environment.
Asbestos removal isn’t cheap so if a safe alternative is viable, it should be considered.
Cost to Remove Asbestos (Examples)
Back in 2017 we got in touch with several asbestos removal firms and asked them how much they charge to remove asbestos from a garage roof and from inside a property.
In 2022 we asked several asbestos removal firms how much they charged to take down and dispose of asbestos ceiling Artex. The prices varied from £150 – £200 per square metre.
Where You’re Likely to Find Asbestos
Depending on the age of the property, you may find asbestos on:
- Roofing tiles
- Flooring tiles
- Ceiling tiles/panels
- Loose insulation in lofts
- Insulation boards
- Textured or smooth coatings (Artex or similar)
- Cladding panelling
- Sink pads
- Lagging on pipes
- Rainwater gutters and pipes
- Soffit and fascia boards
- Electrical and boiler back panels
- Window sills
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