If you are the owner of a commercial property or the landlord of a domestic property, there are many different legal obligations that you must consider. When it comes to asbestos, the rules are clear. It was banned as a substance that could be used in any form of construction as far back as 1999, but as it had been used extensively in the decades prior to that date it is still present in many buildings. If you are responsible for the management of a building, or the ownership of a building, whether private or public, it is your legal responsibility to manage any asbestos that is found on your property.
The problems with asbestos only ever come about these days because it is a substance that was used so much for many years. Although you will no longer find it used in construction, in lagging of pipes and other purposes in buildings, or within engineering and other big infrastructure projects, you will find that asbestos is discovered when buildings are demolished, or whenever a building undergoes refurbishment or renovation. At these times it is important to be as careful as you can around the materials where asbestos might be present.
What happens if a person comes into contact with asbestos?
It only takes one second to breath in asbestos fibres and this could be potentially deadly. Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other types of asbestos-related illnesses are life-threatening. The problem is, that they do not begin to manifest symptoms for many years. There are plenty of cases in fact, where symptoms do not appear for decades after the event, by which time it is too late. This is why there are still high numbers of asbestos-related deaths in the UK each year, despite the substance being banned twenty years ago.
If you think that asbestos might be present in your building and you would like to do something about it, you must never investigate this on your own. Only licensed asbestos management companies can legally investigate and manage asbestos.
The first steps include a brief review of the property, noting exactly where asbestos and materials that might include asbestos are located within a building. At this point, the asbestos survey does not have to be that intrusive. For a more extensive asbestos survey, a team will close down parts or all of a building to safeguard those present, and to conduct a thorough investigation into the whereabouts of all asbestos. This will include looking at the severity and magnitude of the asbestos present.
There are only three choices that can be made with an asbestos management project. The first is to leave the asbestos alone, as it is in a location in the building that is of no danger to any person present. The second is to repair the asbestos materials, boarding it up so that it is no threat to any person who might come into contact with the area. Most of the time however, a full asbestos removal service will take place, where the asbestos is fully removed from the premises, carefully and accurately. That way, there is no danger of asbestos coming into contact with people in the building again in the future.