Having to deal with asbestos is not new. The Council identify and remove or make safe asbestos as a normal part of our repair work and improvement programmes.
In 2004 visual inspection surveys were carried out on a representative sample of Council houses to provide the basis for our Asbestos Register.
On 29th January 2010, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) changed the surveying legislation and an asbestos management survey is now required whenever works such as Decent Homes improvements are carried out.
For more extensive works or demolition works a refurbishment/demolition survey is required which is a more detailed type of survey. Details of the survey regime can be found in the Asbestos Management Plan.
The information from the surveys will be used to update the Asbestos Register which allows the Council to ensure that residents, staff and contractors are safe in the properties.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural material made up of small fibres and it was widely used in the building industry from 1930 to around 1980, and particularly from the 1960s onwards, the time when large parts of Milton Keynes were being built. The use of asbestos containing materials was banned in 2000.
The most common forms of Asbestos are Chrysolite, Amosite and Crocidolite, commonly known as white, brown and blue asbestos. However, a full laboratory analysis is required to identify asbestos accurately.
Where is asbestos?
Asbestos containing materials are commonly found in the following places, but this is not an exhaustive list:
- Loose asbestos packed between floors and into partition walls as insulation.
- Lagging on pipe-work, boilers, calorifiers and heat exchangers.
- Ceiling tiles, floor tiles, fire breaks, heater cupboards, door panels, left-shaft linings and fire surrounds.
- Roof and wall cladding, bath panels, boiler panels, gutters, rainwater pipes, fascias and soffits.
Most of the products listed above are also made with non-asbestos materials and so will not cause any problems.
What are the risks?
Three is only a very small risk of anyone coming into contact with asbestos in the home or public buildings. The presence of asbestos in any particular property will depend upon a range of factors. Asbestos-related illness is linked to high concentrations of asbestos dust in the air that can be inhaled. Such instances are generally associated with industries where people have worked with asbestos as part of their job for many years.
Short-term exposure to concentrated levels of asbestos fibres may occur during DIY or similar work if materials containing asbestos are sanded-down, drilled or sawn.
The risk can be minimised by common-sense measures such as using a suitable face-mask.
The HSE have a number of leaflets on working with asbestos which can be found at the following link
What can you do?
The information on the likely location of asbestos materials in council residential properties is held in the Councilís Asbestos Register which is available to anyone.
If you have any concerns prior to carrying out DIY or any work being done in your home by non-council employed workmen, you can seek general advice by calling the Asbestos Helpline.
REMEMBER: Asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition and which are not disturbed present no risks and do not need removing.
We have a free Asbestos Helpline to deal with enquiries and offer advice to anybody who is worried about asbestos in the home.
Asbestos Helpline : 0800 035 0087
Please note that calls are only free when you call on a landline.