Asbestos was widely used in residential and industrial buildings in the UK from the 1950s until the mid 1980s when its use was banned. It was used for sound-proofing and also because of its fire-retardant properties. But it was also used for gutters, roofing shingles, water and waste pipes.
Although banned in the 1980s as a construction material, its widespread use before that means that there are many buildings today that still contain asbestos within their fabric. In commercial and industrial buildings it is commonly found in the roofing panels, wall cladding and insulating boards. Asbestos can be a dangerous material because it is a carcinogen – it has been proven to cause asbestosis, lung cancer (particularly in smokers) and mesothelioma so dealing with it safely is of paramount importance.
Thankfully much of the asbestos used in buildings is of the non-friable type i.e. it cannot be easily broken up into a powdery substance. So the necessity for complete removal is not always necessary if the asbestos containing material is still in good condition. Although many individuals and companies may prefer to remove it, this may not always be a financially viable option or, indeed, the safest option. In the case of industrial asbestos roofs there are a number of safe refurbishment options available.
But if the asbestos in your premises is worn or damaged then the area should be tested by a professional for possible contamination. If a survey reveals that contamination is present and removal is the only option then there are procedures to be followed to ensure the removal if done safely and does not expose anyone to any unnecessary dangers.
In the UK it is important to be aware that the responsibility for managing the potential risk of asbestos in commercial buildings lies with whoever is responsible for maintaining the building. Asbestos removal should always be performed by professional workmen who should adhere to a number of safety procedures but the final safety assessment, after any works have been carried out, still remains with the person responsible for building maintenance.
The UK has an accreditation scheme for companies that carry out asbestos surveys as well as separate schemes for those who sample and analyse materials that possibly contain asbestos. It is important Service Industry Synonym to note that some companies are only accredited for one aspect of asbestos assessment: sampling, analysis or surveys and a full assessment may require the use of different companies.
Individuals can also be certified under the Asbestos Building Inspectors Certification Scheme but this does not reflect on the quality of the whole organisation in the same way as the UK Accreditation Scheme (UKAS).
Depending on the outcome of the analysis and survey you may need to decide what action to take – particularly if the asbestos is in good condition. If you decide to leave it in place then you must keep detailed records of where the asbestos containing materials are so that workmen performing repairs and maintenance work in the future can take adequate safety precautions to avoid any health hazards.
For example roofing contractors performing an industrial roof repair to a leaking roof must be made aware of the presence of asbestos roofing sheets so Industrial Engineering Books that they apply the correct specialist roof coatings or encapsulate the industrial roofing in suc a way to minimise the escape of asbestos fibres.

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