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

You need to think carefully about asbestos

Asbestos: Think carefully before signing on the dotted line

A BUILDER who lied to his customers about his asbestos industry credentials has been forced to pay back the thousands of pounds. According to the Environment Agency, Lee Charles used false paperwork to convince customers he was legitimate and had the qualifications necessary to remove asbestos and store it safely. In reality, Charles had no … Read more

Asbestos surveyor

Unveiling the Hidden Dangers: How Hiring a Professional Asbestos Surveyor Could Save Your Business and Property

Could your business be at risk from an invisible threat, hidden within the very structure of your buildings? Understanding the importance of a professional asbestos surveyor could be key to preserving your business operations and the integrity of your properties. Uncovering the hidden dangers of asbestos can protect your employees’ health, save significant costs in … Read more

inexperienced asbestos consultants (Medium)

The Rise of Inexperienced Asbestos Consultants: A Growing Concern

The asbestos industry is facing an alarming issue with the rise of inexperienced asbestos consultants. These individuals, lacking proper accreditation and expertise, are entering the market with only basic P402 qualifications. In this article, we aim to highlight the potential risks and consequences associated with this concerning trend. Understanding P402 Qualification The BOHS P402 qualification, … Read more

The Houses of Parliament are 'riddled' with asbestos

Asbestos: Living with the legacy of the past

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 … Read more

Mesothelioma - celebrating the work of nurses

Mesothelioma: Celebrating the work of Mesothelioma UK’s nurses

IF you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that mesothelioma – the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres – is a cause close to all our hearts. Over the years, we’ve worked closely with Mesothelioma UK, the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting people living with mesothelioma and their families, … Read more

Let your career in the asbestos industry grow with Acorn

Let your career in the asbestos industry grow with Acorn

GIVING young people the opportunities they need to build successful careers in asbestos and health and safety is a big part of the work we do here at Acorn Analytical Services. Having all started off as apprentices and learnt our trade over many years, we pride ourselves on providing the right environment where the next … Read more

Here for you on Safety and Health at Work Day and every day

Here for you on Safety and Health at Work Day – and every day

ASBESTOS is one of the biggest health and safety hazards in the UK contributing to 2,700 deaths from mesothelioma every year. To mark Safety and Health at Work Day we wanted to highlight the range of services Acorn Analytical Services provides to help protect yourself and those around you from his hidden killer. We’ll also … Read more

Asbestos is dominating the headlines once again

Asbestos – silent killer dominating national headlines once again

ASBESTOS has once again dominated the headlines this weekend with The Sunday Times focussing on the stories of real people who have been affected by this hidden killer. Research shows there could be as much as six million tonnes of asbestos contained within 1.5 million buildings in the UK – including 90% of hospitals and … Read more

Construction workers are at a much greater risk of being exposed to the dangers of asbestos

‘Asbestos awareness is crucial for everyone involved in the construction industry’

IF you work in the construction industry chances are you will come into contact with asbestos – perhaps without even realising it. With hundreds of thousands of buildings in the UK still believed to contain this highly dangerous material, even something as simple as drilling a hole could leave you vulnerable to exposure, and at … Read more

Mesothelioma can affect anyone of any age

Raising awareness of mesothelioma – a deadly cancer which kills 2,500 people every year

AS Global Asbestos Awareness Week draws to a close, we felt it was important to shine a light on the work of Mesothlioma UK, a charity which is close to all our hearts. For many years, Acorn Analytical Services has been very proud to support the work of this amazing charity which supports people living … Read more