Asbestos: Living with the legacy of the past

The Houses of Parliament are 'riddled' with asbestos

THERE is so much asbestos in the Houses of Parliament it would take 300 people two-and-a-half years to remove it completely.

That’s the view of members of the Public Accounts Committee who fear that the Parliament buildings are at risk of crumbling unless swift action is taken.

In older buildings, asbestos is a common problem and one that can quickly pose a significant risk to health if it is not dealt with quickly.

Here, we look at some of the common issues and the ways in which the team at Acorn Analytical Services can help.

Living with the legacy of asbestos

According to Imperial College London, asbestos was first used commercially in the UK in the 1870s when it was used extensively on ships and steam engines.

Despite increased concerns about the health risks associated with its use, demand increased throughout the second half of the 20th Century, particularly in the years after the Second World War when its fire-retardant qualities and low cost made it an attractive choice for the construction industry.

As the true scale of the risks were realised, its use was finally outlawed in new buildings in 1999. But the UK still lives with the legacy of its close relationship with asbestos with an estimated six million tonnes still contained within older buildings, including the Houses of Parliament.

These days, strict rules govern how it is managed and work can only be carried out by highly-skilled, trained professionals such as the team at Acorn Analytical Services, who have been at the heart of the industry in Northamptonshire for ten years.

The first step is to find out whether it is present in your building – something we recommend for anyone with premises which were built before 1999.

Why do I need an asbestos survey?

An asbestos survey is the only way to check for the presence of asbestos in your building and there are three main types:

The first includes a visual inspection of the building, ceilings, walls and floors as well as hidden areas including ducts and pipework.

A refurbishment survey will be carried out before any major repairs or refurbishment work is carried out to ensure anyone working on the project is safe. A demolition survey is the most destructive survey and will seek out all Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) contained within a building.

As a general rule, we recommend that any building built before 1999 is checked for the presence of asbestos to reduce the risk of any accidental disturbance.

The dangers of not handling asbestos responsibly

The risks of not handling asbestos in the correct way are stark.

Exposure to the microscopic fibres greatly increase the risk of someone developing mesothelioma – a deadly cancer for which there is currently no treatment or cure.

Mesothelioma affects the lungs and the stomach and more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK every year – more than 80% of those affected are men.

Ensuring you are protected from the dangers has never been more important and as one of the leading independent asbestos consultancies in the UK we are perfectly placed to help you wherever you are.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help protect you and your business.

Acorn is a professional consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using surveysair testing, and 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 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

Harris and Lucas have both been diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Sarah’s story: The inspiration behind A Mile a Day in May for Muscular Dystrophy UK

At Acorn, we pride ourselves on our family values and the strength of our team spirit which help to make our company the success that it is. Together, we’ve built a team which works hard, celebrates the successes and pulls together in difficult times. When life gets hard for one of us it affects us … Read more

Acorn Analytical Services is raising awareness of asbestos

Asbestos may be out of sight but it should never be out of mind

WITH construction methods advancing all the time its easy to think of asbestos as a building material which has long been consigned to the history books. Used extensively in post-war Britain, as a cheap building material known primarily for its fire-retardant properties, asbestos was central to the rebuilding of the UK used in many public … Read more

Asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services continues to grow

Asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services grows its team after successful start to 2024

THE start of the year has been a busy one for the team at asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services with a number of new clients coming on board. These are exciting times for Acorn – and as the business has continued to grow – so too has our team. Since Christmas, we’ve created 12 … Read more

The new senior leadership team at asbestos managment consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services. From left to right, Sian Stone, Sam Savage and Daniel Crask.

Three reasons why you should always #chooseacorn for all of your asbestos management needs

If you’re a regular visitor to our social media channels you’ll almost certainly have seen the hashtag #chooseacorn being used and maybe even wondered why. For Acorn Analytical Services these two words alone mark a real step change in the way we do business – representing a fresh start and a bolder, much more innovative … Read more

The new senior leadership team at asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services. From left to right, Steve McGlone, Andy Jackson and Simon Rodham.

Award-winning asbestos management consultancy starts 2024 with a new senior team

AWARD-WINNING asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services has announced a new senior leadership team to take the company into 2024 and beyond. After a record-breaking year which saw the company recognised for High Growth at the National SME Awards while taking on new clients and winning new business across the UK, Acorn Analytical Services, which … Read more

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

Let’s start 2024 in the right way – by getting rid of the dangers of asbestos for good

According to the latest data from the Health and Safety Executive 2,268 people died from asbestos-related mesothelioma in 2021 alone. It’s a shocking statistic, particularly when you consider that the use of asbestos in new buildings was banned in the UK in 1999 – more than 20 years ago. With Cancer Research UK confirming that … Read more

This Men's Health Month is time to talk about absestos

Men’s Health Month – it’s time to talk openly about asbestos

NOVEMBER marks Men’s Health Month – a time for shining the spotlight on the conditions and issues which affect men from all walks of life. While the focus quite rightly turns to serious health issues including Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and mental health, at Acorn Analytical Services we want people to start talking about asbestos. … Read more

Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services will soon be moving into new offices

Have you heard the news? Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton is on the move

IF you haven’t heard the news already, we are delighted to announce that asbestos connsultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton will be starting a brand-new chapter very soon. In the coming days, our team will be moving to new – much larger – offices on Northampton’s Moulton Park, the place which has been our home for … Read more

asbestos in talcum powder

Unveiling the Hidden Danger: The Menace of Asbestos in Talcum Powder and the UK’s Stance

Explore the veiled danger of asbestos in talcum powder, the UK’s vigilant regulations, and the unfolding narrative of consumer safety. Dive into the rigorous testing methodologies, industry responses, and the promising horizon of international cooperation aiming to foster a safer landscape in the realm of personal care products.

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

Raac and ruin? How concrete crisis also raises the question of asbestos

A LOT has been said recently about Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and asbestos. While fears about the safety of RAAC continue to dominate the headlines both nationally and locally, it is the additional threat from asbestos which we believe should be discussed now as a matter of urgency. Just as RAAC is crumbling in … Read more