The Danger of Asbestos; How it Affects Your Property

So you’ve gone through most of the process, you’ve spent a few months attending viewings, looking at potential homes and choosing a few promising properties that look like they fit the bill. Now you have settled on one of the properties and you have requested the assistance of a surveyor to conduct a report on the condition of the property.

The report is in and the surveyor has noticed that asbestos has been used in the construction of your property. It will need to be removed safely if you want to conduct any renovations or improvements on the property. Why is this such an issue? Just what exactly is asbestos? And why is it so important that I remove it?

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a construction material made from minerals that was used in the building of properties throughout the 20th century. Its popularity was enormous and many properties were built using asbestos as a form of construction. However during the 1920s and 1930s, concerns were raised over the long term health effects of using asbestos and by the 1990s it was phased out entirely as inhalation of asbestos was found to be incredibly harmful and even fatal.  Nowadays a property containing asbestos is fairly uncommon, but needs to be cleared out before it can be made habitable.

Types of Asbestos

There are three main types of asbestos; blue, white and brown.

White Asbestos – The most widely used of the three types, it was used in strengthening cement particles and was commonly found in roofing slates.

Blue Asbestos – The most deadly of the asbestos types. It was used in yarn and rope lagging from the 1880s to the 1960s and then in preformed thermal insulation from 1920 until 1950.

Brown Asbestos – Good for anti-condensation and for acoustics, it was also used for fire protection on structural steel. It was mainly used in insulation boards, preformed thermal insulation, pipes, slabs and moulded pipe fitting covers.

Removing Asbestos

When considering the removal of asbestos do not attempt to get rid of it yourself. If left undisturbed the asbestos is relatively harmless but if inhaled it is incredibly dangerous. If you are looking into getting asbestos removed from the property, always ask a professional. Due to the three different types of asbestos, it is important that they are identified and dealt with accordingly which is why a professional is needed. It is not worth the risk of seriously damaging your health to save a bit of money if you are planning on getting rid of the asbestos yourself.

Is it Worth it?

If you have really fallen in love with the structure of the property and you have the funds to be able to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos as well as renovating the shell of the property, you’ve got nothing to lose. Essentially it is not worth all the hassle, having to empty out an asbestos filled properly and then renovate it using new and expensive materials. However if you don’t who will? This might be a property in an ideal location bearing all the facilities that you or your family needs. If you have the funds for it, go for it, but be aware that it is a long and arduous process.

Ultimately, buying a property is a long, expensive process, with lots of hidden fees and extra charges you don’t know about initially. However once you’ve been through it once, you’ll be far more prepared for the next time, if you plan on moving into a separate home, or if you plan on getting a buy-to-let investment or other property. It can be stressful, but once you’ve got all that information at the end, you will be far better prepared for the next occasion. Keeping an open mind and being prepared is always essential when looking at property, so be optimistic and don’t let one bad egg get you down!

Article provided by, a firm of Chartered Surveyors established in 2012. Based in West Sussex, the experienced team of six surveyors specialise in a wide range of building surveys and valuations.

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