What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of fibrous minerals found naturally in many parts of the world. In the past asbestos was added to a variety of building materials to strengthen them and to provide fire proofing, insulation and noise reduction. Its use was not finally banned in the United Kingdom until 1999, so if your home was built before this, it may contain some materials that are made from asbestos.
When does asbestos become a problem?
The Health and Safety Executive state that "Asbestos is not a risk if it is in good condition and is not disturbed".
When asbestos becomes damaged, deteriorates, is disturbed or worked on, or is in a loose form it may release fibres into the air. Asbestos fibres can be harmful if they are inhaled. Breathing in fibres can lead to asbestos related diseases. People most likely to be affected are those who have worked with asbestos for many years as part of their job.
Where will you find asbestos products or materials in your home?
It is not always easy to tell whether a product contains asbestos as it is often mixed with other materials. The illustration shows the places where asbestos may be found in your home. Here are a few examples of where asbestos may have been used:
• Corrugated cement based sheeting on sheds and garages
• Cement based soffits, downpipes and gutters
• Fire surrounds and flues
• Toilet cisterns and seats
• Textured decorative coatings used on ceilings and walls (“Artex” or “Sandex”)
• Vinyl floor tiles and the bitumen adhesive used to glue them in place
• Ironing board mats
• Inside fuse boxes
• Fireproof panels on fire doors.
Asbestos - what to do and not to do
✓ Treat asbestos-containing materials with respect.
✓ You must contact Magna if you wish to undertake work or improvements to your home. (Even if there is no asbestos-containing material in your home). We can arrange for one of our trained asbestos surveyors to advise you.
✓ Take every precaution to avoid damaging identified asbestos-containing material in your home.
X Don’t panic if you think you have asbestos-containing material in your home - it’s only a problem if it gets disturbed or is damaged.
X Don’t drill, sand, cut or in any way disturb an area known to contain asbestos.
X Don’t remove any suspected asbestos-containing products and try to dispose of them at your local council’s refuse site.
X Never sweep asbestos dust or debris as this sends asbestos fibres into the air.
What is Magna doing about asbestos?
As homes become empty, and as part of our surveying programme, we assess the condition of any asbestos. We may remove it, encapsulate it or leave it if it is in good condition. Over the last few years we have visited all homes over a certain age to check if there is any asbestos present and provided our customers with information about any asbestos present in their home.
When a property is inspected if it is suspected that any material contains asbestos then samples may be taken and analysed. Asbestos containing material will be reviewed regularly. If the material is damaged or is a risk due to its location, then we will take immediate action to deal with it in a safe and appropriate way.
What are your responsibilities?
Before you carry out any home improvements you must contact your tenancy manager and obtain written permission. One of the reasons we ask you to do this is to ensure that if there is asbestos present that proper controls are put in place to reduce any exposure to you, your family and any other person that may be carrying out the work.
There are strict regulations relating to the removal and disposal of asbestos and if you carry out work without written permission you may be liable for any costs incurred.
Please remember that under the terms of your tenancy agreement, changes to the structure or fabric of the property are not allowed to be carried out without prior written approval.
Likely places to find asbestos in your home
- Roof sheets, tiles, soffit boards, felt, guttering & down pipe
- Textured coatings on ceilings and walls
- Toilet cistern
- Garage roof
- In or behind electrical equipment
- Panel on or inside the fire door
- Floor tiles or linoleum
- Sink pads
- Boiler flue
- Heater cupboard doors and linings
- Lagging in older boiler pipework
- Garden sheds or coal bunkers
What should I do if I think there is asbestos in my home?
If you suspect that a material in your home contains asbestos, or if you think your home may contain damaged asbestos material, then ring one of the following numbers:
Do not try and deal with it yourself.
Where can I get more information about asbestos?
The Health & Safety Executive: www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos
Help and advice
If you have any questions, need help understanding this leaflet or would like it in another format, for example in large print or on audio CD, contact us.