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Asbestos

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND MANAGE POSSIBLE ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME

Asbestos is a fibrous material which was used in building materials and construction from the 1950’s through to the the late 1990’s when it was banned in the UK due to the risk of the fibres causing lung disease and permanent, serious, health issues.

If your home was built between 1950 and 1999, the chances are that you may have asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) within your home. But please don’t be alarmed; most asbestos is safe providing it is left alone.

The important thing to remember is that as long as materials containing asbestos are left undisturbed, they do not pose a risk to your health. But, if it is in poor condition, becomes damaged, or intereferred with (such as by sanding, drilling, or sawing), it could become a health risk to people who are in contact with it.


What are the risks? 

Keeping you safe in your home is our number one priority. If your home contains asbestos and it’s in good condition you are safe from harm. If there is poor or damaged asbestos in your home, you may be at risk of serious lung disease as the microscopic fibres can enter your lungs on inhallation and cannot be expelled. 

Where you might find asbestos

Remember, asbestos may only be present in building materials used between 1950 and 1999. It was used because of its fire-protection and insulation properties, and was most commonly used in the following:

Oustide

  • Roof tiles
  • Drainpipes and guttering
  • Facia boards
  • Garage and shed roofs
  • Cladding

Inside

  • Textured wall and ceiling coatings (such as Artex)
  • Duct panels (access to pipe work) 
  • Infill panels (such as around doorways and windows) 
  • Panels behind radiators and heaters 
  • Floor tiles 
  • Hanging (suspended) ceiling panels 
  • Panels to the underneath of stairs 
  • Toilet cisterns
  • Boiler and water heater insulation
  • Boiler flue pipes
  • Storage heaters
  • Bath panels
  • Fireplace panels
  • Panels underneath the sink
  • Watertans
  • Pipe lagging 

Some domestic items such as old ironing-board pads, fire blankets and oven gloves may also contain asbestos if they were purchased before 1999.

What to do if you have (or suspect you might have) asbestos

If you have asbestos in your home and are concerned about its condition, or if you are unsure or are planning to do any building or decorative improvement work in your home, you must contact us first for advice. If we feel there is any risk at all, we will send out a registered asbestos specialist, who will be qualified to check its condition and, if necessary, safely remove the ACM from your home.

Contact us immediately if:

  • Any materials you think may contain asbestos have been damaged or disturbed 
  • Protective coatings or sealants are peeling or breaking off, or if special labels have been removed 
  • Asbestos cement-based products (such as guttering or shed roofs) become damaged or badly weathered or waste away

Never:

  • Attempt to remove ACMs from your home, only a registered asbestos specialist, who is qualified and prepared with the correct full protective clothing, can do this
  • Dispose of ACMs yourself. All asbestos products must be disposed of via an asbestos specialist contractor and must never go into landfil or general recycling
  • Work on, damage, or interfere with materials containing asbestos
  • Sand down, drill or scrape off Artex when it’s dry Drill, cut or sand materials you think may contain asbestos
  • Break off pieces or break up large pieces of materials that could contain asbestos
  • Jetwash or clean asbestos cement products
  • Remove old floor tiles or lino (you should leave them in place and lay new floor coverings over them)
  • Remove textured coatings from ceilings

How we manage asbestos in our properties 

We have a long-term commitment to manage materials containing asbestos in our properties. We do this by:

  • Carrying out surveys to homes and communal areas where we know asbestos is present to check its condition, assess and manage any risk, and to ensure our records are kept up to date where we know about ACMs in our properties
  • Providing information about the condition and location of ACMs to people who could be exposed to it
  • Making sure the correct action is taken by anyone who is likely to disturb ACMs (such as our staff, contractors, and consultants), and to reduce the possibility of residents, visitors, and contractors working on our homes being exposed to asbestos

It’s our policy, in line with the Asbestos Regulations and Health and Safety Executive’s recommendations, to leave asbestos as it is. However, if the asbestos is in bad condition, is likely to cause problems, or if a repair or alteration takes place on or near it, we’ll instruct a qualified asbestos specialist to remove it. 

For more information, help and advice 

If you think you might have asbestos in your home and need advice please contact us on:

Telephone: 0208 607 7777

Email: customersandcommunities@inquilabha.org

Via your ‘My Inquilab’ Residents App messaging

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ASBESTOS MATERIALS WILL NOT CAUSE YOU HARM IF YOU LEAVE THEM ALONE

You can get further information from:

Health and Safety Executive 

Telephone: 0845 345 0055
www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos

The Environment Agency

Telephone: 0870 850 6506
www.environment-agency.gov.uk

You can also get advice from your local council.