£2bn Government gold rush could be an asbestos minefield

Commercial Photography from Pete Barnes

This autumn, the Government launched a new scheme to promote home insulation. It is subsidising home insulation ventures with grants of up to £5,000 which can be used to install insulation, double glazing, smart controls and more.

This is great news for the environment and for the economy however, we do have concerns about it.

When you get a Government-backed scheme like this, you get a flood of people jumping on the bandwagon who haven’t been in the game before but rush in to try and capitalise on the funding. Unfortunately, they won’t necessarily consider all the risks associated with doing so.

In this blog we want to give you some information about what needs to be in place for those types of works to be carried out safely in your property.

What are the risks?

Firstly, what asbestos can you get in lofts? This scheme actually covers domestic and commercial properties. A lot of public buildings will be included in this including schools, council offices and commercial buildings.

In a home loft you may find loose asbestos insulation has been used as loft insulation. This is 100% loose asbestos fibres, which have literally been tipped into the loft and that’s it. It is rare but there are instances of it. People living closer to coastal towns are more likely to have it in their properties, however, we’ve come across it in properties in Kettering and Northampton. This is the worst case scenario. Loose asbestos lying in the loft as insulation. There is no ceiling on it, nothing, just literally raw fibre. It is the highest risk asbestos material that you can come across. If you suspect that you have any of that in your loft, do not go in there – call in the professionals to help you manage that risk.

Next, down the scale are things like pipe insulation which is quite common within commercial and domestic lofts. You will find a pipe has been insulated with asbestos insulation and then over the years it’s forgotten about and can degrade and fall off.  You can also have problems if it’s been reinsulated. Fibre glass is pulled out and you can get debris underneath the fibreglass itself. This degrades over time and ends up on the floor and because repairs happen, a bit is hacked off and left to one side!

You may have asbestos insulating board being used as a fire break or on the back of a hatch door. It could be used as a platform to a water tank or you may find warm air heating lined with asbestos insulating board.

In some properties the actual ceiling or the floor of the loft is asbestos insulating. They are just raw boards with raw asbestos literally poking out of them.

Cement products are also very common in lofts. You can have cement roofs which can contain asbestos and cement water tanks. The most common asbestos product in lofts are cement flues, extending from the bottom half of the house right through to the loft and out through the roof.

What happens if something goes wrong?

Essentially anywhere in a loft, there could be asbestos. If works are carried out and something goes wrong and a house is exposed to asbestos the only way to make it safe for occupancy is to gut it. We would put an air lock on the front door, clean everything in the house that could be cleaned and anything that cannot be cleaned would have to go to landfill and be destroyed.

These schemes are brilliant for the economy and the environment but don’t go ahead without safety procedures in place to ensure that workers and all occupants of the building are protected.

How can you make sure you stay safe?

We are not talking about a huge cost here. Delivering a refurbishment survey of a loft in a domestic property isn’t going to cost thousands, it’s a few hundred pounds. To spend that so you know that you are safe and the workers are safe is a no brainer.

We’re a professional asbestos consultancy helping businesses deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying-sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spent purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

The Ultimate Guide to Asbestos Surveyors: Why Your Safety Depends on It

Asbestos, once a ‘miracle material’, now poses severe health risks. Uncover the significance of asbestos surveys in the UK and why your safety depends on it.

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Having the right consultancy to help you manage asbestos has never been more important’

A REPORT written by asbestos expert and director of Acorn Analytical Services, Ian Stone, has highlighted the worrying state of asbestos in the UK. The Annual Asbestos Industry Review provides a unique insight into the industry and a snapshot of the work being done by Acorn Analytical Services – one of the largest independent consultancies … Read more

Management of asbestos in schools

Management of Asbestos in Schools: A Comprehensive Analysis

In this blog post, we delve into the critical issue of asbestos management in UK schools, the recent HSE report, and the role of Acorn Analytical Services in ensuring safe learning environments.

Asbestos: Dispelling 3 common myths

Is your business fully compliant with the latest asbestos regulations?

HOW much do you really know about asbestos? If your building was built before 1999, have you ever had it checked? If you know it’s there, do you know for sure that you’re compliant with the latest rules and regulations around asbestos management? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’ it’s time … Read more

Asbestos in fire

Act Now: Uncover the Silent Perils of Asbestos in Fire-Damaged Buildings – A Deep Dive into the Brighton Hotel Incident

Asbestos in fire situations poses significant health risks. Understand the dangers, especially in textured coatings, and the need for expert remediation.

Acorn Analytical Services director Ian Stone has worked in the asbestos industry for 20 years.

#ActNowOnAsbestos: How our FREE training sessions will help raise awareness

ASBESTOS is firmly in the headlines once again and we’re delighted to see an open and very frank discussion finally taking place about the material itself, the risks around mesothelioma and the steps we should all be taking to protect ourselves. At Acorn Analytical Services it’s something we’ve been talking about for years and as … Read more

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Supporting #ActNowOnAsbestos is the right thing for us to do’

Last weekend The Sunday Times launched #ActNowOnAsbestos, a hard-hitting campaign which urges the Government to take urgent action to protect people from the UK’s asbestos epidemic. The campaign makes important recommendations to help protect members of the public from the hidden dangers of asbestos, which poses a serious threat to our health and wellbeing more … Read more

Ian Stone, director of asbestos management consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services

‘We finally have hope – hope that those in authority will take notice, take action and save lives’

Media statement in response to the launch of the Sunday Times Campaign, Act Now on Asbestos: Ian Stone, Director of Acorn Analytical Services, said: “For ten years Acorn Analytical Services has been on the front line of the UK’s battle with asbestos, banging the drum for change and fighting to raise awareness of the sheer … Read more

Using our success to highlight the dangers of asbestos

How we’re using our success to drive home the dangers of asbestos

The whole team at asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services was over the moon to walk away with not one, but two awards at the prestigious Northamptonshire SME Awards earlier this month. Directors Neil Munro, Paul Knights and Sam Savage were in Daventry for the event which celebrates the work of businesses across Northamptonshire and their … Read more

Men's Health Week: Focus on a hidden killer

Men’s Health Week: Mesothelioma is the killer few are talking about

FOR many men mesothelioma is a very real threat. Caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, it’s a cancer which affects 2,500 people every year in the UK. More than 80% of those are men. This Men’s Health Week, the team at Acorn Analytical Services is determined to shine a light on the dangers of asbestos … Read more