Most people are aware that handling and simply coming into contact with asbestos can be seriously harmful to health. After confirmation that your home or commercial premises harbours asbestos you may be advised to have it removed (although sometimes an asbestos management plan can be drawn up if it poses no risk).
Always use a professional
Asbestos is extremely hazardous and complex to remove, it should always be carried out by an experienced professional.
The process explained
- Preparing the area – Depending on where the asbestos is located and how much there is you may have to temporarily remove furnishings and yourself from the building. Sometimes it is possible to stay on the premises while the work takes place, usually however it is best if the property is vacated.
- Containing the asbestos – The asbestos must be contained so that it does not become airborne and reach other areas. Plastic sheeting may be used to help keep the fibres contained.
- Filtering the air – While the removal takes place specialist HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters) are used to trap asbestos dust particles and prevent them from escaping the contaminated area.
- Removing the asbestos – Removal may involve applying moisture so that the asbestos particles are heavier and less likely to become airborne. Manageable pieces of asbestos or contaminated materials are double bagged and removed from the property. Once removed from the property the asbestos containing materials are taken to specialist sites to be incinerated.
Ensuring the area is safe
An important part of the removal process is ensuring the building is safe to enter again. Once the asbestos has been removed the property must be declared safe with an air quality test. Testing the air allows specialists to determine if any asbestos fibres remain present in the property or not.
A safe, standard level is less than 0.01 fibres per cubic centimetre (recognised in the UK). Once this level has been reached, the containment area can be taken down and the area thoroughly cleaned.
How long does the process take?
This depends on the amount of asbestos there is. Smaller amounts can be safely removed within a day, however larger projects may take up to a week to safely remove.