Commercial Asbestos Testing

Why Do Some Roofs Contain Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that is perfect for use in insulation. And so between the 1950’s until the 1990’s, asbestos was widely used in the construction industry as a method of building insulation.

However, it was discovered later that asbestos had very strong links to a number of fatal lung diseases and subsequently banned here in the UK in the late 90s. So whilst asbestos is no longer used in new buildings, older buildings built before the ban may contain the material within their walls and roof linings.

What Are The Dangers of Asbestos?

It is extremely dangerous to come into contact with loose asbestos fibres. Inhaling them can cause serious and life threatening diseases. In fact, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers each year, with around 20 tradesmen dying every week as a result of past asbestos exposure.

This is because asbestos doesn’t immediately harm you once you have inhaled it, it usually takes a long time to develop and once you have a diagnosis, it’s usually too late and there’s often nothing that can be done. The most dangerous thing about asbestos is that you cannot see or smell the fibres so you don’t know you’re breathing them in.

Diseases relating to asbestos include:

  • Mesothelioma, a cancer usually affecting the lungs and lower digestive tract.
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer
  • Asbestosis, severe scarring of the lungs
  • Pleural (lining of the lung) thickening

What Can Be Done About Asbestos?

If you think your building might contain asbestos you must seek professional help and advice. The particles must be tested by a certified specialist, such as NWIR, to assess whether there are risks to the wider public and how best to limit them.

Once you’ve contacted a professional asbestos specialist no public access should be available and it’s important to shut down any heating and/or air conditioning systems. Basically, anything that circulates air as this can spread asbestos fibres.

Testing For Asbestos

Here at NWIR, our professional PASMA trained specialists conduct a thorough testing procedure. First, we take careful and concise asbestos samples, transferring them into sealed containers to be tested. We then make the suspected areas weatherproof and safe. We would then reduce the level of harmful fibrous particles in the air to reduce the potential risks to the wider public.

The Next Steps

Once the asbestos testing and roof survey is complete we liaise with you to keep you informed of the results. When the results do come back, we’ll give you advice on the best way to tackle any problems highlighted.

More often than not, the problem can be treated with asbestos overcladding. This is where metal or plastic sheets are attached to undisturbed areas of asbestos to make them same. Here at NWIR we provide asbestos roof overcladding services and will be able to advise you about whether this course of action is suitable for your building.