• Domestic/Residential Properties
  • Non-Domestic Properties
  • Asbestos Awareness Training
  • About Asbestos

Domestic – Asbestos at Home
Home Owners may be concerned about the possible presence of asbestos materials in their home. In particular, the concern is heightened when carrying out diy projects or buying and selling.

No job is too small for our experienced and qualified team of surveyors.

Where to begin:

  • If you are reading this then you have made the first step in researching the topic. Read more about asbestos in our ‘About Asbestos’ tab.
  • Decide whether you should go ahead with a survey. Take a look at the flow chart below to help you decide

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 23.36.45

*There was a crossover period of a few years where some contractors continued to use up stocks of ACM’s despite regulations prohibiting this. If you are concerned that this could be the case for your property contact us.

If you have concluded that a survey is necessary, have a look at our survey options below or contact us for a discussion on your individual needs.

  • Targeted Sampling Survey: A quick and inexpensive survey. Here we attend your property and survey a targeted area (very popular for bathroom conversions etc). This survey is relatively non-intrusive and does not include a full property survey.

Targeted samples typically include – textured ceiling, tile adhesive, floor tiles, loft insulation, roof sheets, roof felt etc.

Targeted samples will be analysed by an UKAS accredited laboratory and the results reported back to you usually within 2-3 working days including recommendations on how to manage any positive results.

  • Full Property Surveys: In some circumstances you may require a full survey of the entire property e.g. mortgage company request, own peace of mind or extensive refurbishment work.

ESP offer two types of full survey but can tailor these to meet your individual needs.

  • Management Survey: A full but non-intrusive survey identifying any potential ACM’s that are reasonably accessible (materials that can be accessed and sampled without disrupting the integrity of that material or its encapsulating material – i.e. we will not drill core holes through a wall cladding to sample a backing material but where possible, we will lift areas of flooring and bath panels etc to investigate beneath). All sample points are made safe by sealing and there will be little or no evidence of where these have been taken.

The samples taken are analysed at an accredited laboratory and reported back to you within 5 working days including recommendations on how to manage any positive results with accompanying risk assessments according to fibre type, condition and quantity.

  • Refurbishment/Demolition Survey: A fully intrusive survey. Usually undertaken where damage to a material or its encapsulating material is not an issue. As with all surveys our, where possible, samples are taken from areas already damaged, sample points of suspect material are made safe by sealing but any holes required to gain access to those materials will likely still be visible although we make every effort to leave a premises with as little visible damage as possible. 

The samples taken are analysed at an accredited laboratory and reported back to you within 5 working days and will include recommendations on how to manage any positive samples if removal is not necessary as well as risk assessments of positive samples for use by removal contractors indicating which materials will require licensed contractors for handling/removal.

Non-Domestic Properties 
In 2012, the Control of Asbestos Regulation (CAR 2012) replaced existing regulations. Under this regulation, it is a legal requirement for those in control of buildings to develop an asbestos register and management plan in accordance with the requirements of HSG 264.

All employers have a Duty of care to protect their employees, visitors, and contractors within or on their premises.

ESP has qualified staff with extensive experience in carrying out asbestos surveys, risk assessment, abatement, and removal supervision. The services fulfill the requirements of commercial, industrial and government clients during operations, maintenance, renovation and/or demolition scenarios.

Services and Capabilities Asbestos services consist of:

  • Non Sampling Asbestos Management Survey/Scoping visit
  • Bulk Sample Asbestos Management Survey
  • Demolition/Refurbishment Survey
  • Asbestos Surveillance and Register Update
  • Asbestos Dust Swab Identification
  • Asbestos Air Quality Identification

Non Sampling Asbestos Management Survey/Scoping Visit
An Initial Survey carried out by our experienced staff is a crucial first step in asbestos management. This is a cost-effective means of identifying the presence of major classes of suspected asbestos containing materials (ACM). The report will be based on presumption and include a quotation for a sampling survey.

Bulk Sample Asbestos Management Survey
A Full Comprehensive Survey involves a significantly higher level of assessment and requires sampling and analysis of each suspect ACM on the site. Assessments will be carried out to evaluate the potential risk of exposure, establish priorities and to determine viable corrective actions.

These corrective actions can be in the form of management in situ, enclosure, encapsulation or removal or any combination of these.
A full survey would typically include an estimation of material quantities making it possible to estimate the removal cost. This is a non intrusive survey, samples of materials which are reasonably accessible without the means of removing damaging the integrity of the product/material
Demolition/Refurbishment Survey
A full intrusive survey to identify ACM’s within an area or entire building planned to be demolished or refurbished, the survey will include destructive works of materials to be able to access hidden or enclosed areas which may be containing ACM’s.

The survey comes complete with full Risk Assessments of identified ACMs with material risk assessment scores, extent of material, asbestos fibre type, condition, treatment and photographs essential for asbestos removal contractors.

Asbestos Surveillance and Register Update
All the Details from the Bulk Sample Asbestos Management Survey and Plan are converted into an asbestos register detailing all relevant information for each identified and presumed ACM. The legal requirement for update of the register is required at least once a year; it records any changes or deterioration of the ACM and if any ACM has been removed from site.


Asbestos Air Quality
Tests carried out between ESP and our a sister company; we can arrange air clearance testing and compliance air tests to ensure any affected areas are clear of air Bourne fibre, ensuring the safety of your workforce/public to reuse this area

ESP will work with you to tailor the survey or mix of surveys you require.

How long does the process take?
From acceptance of our quote and a purchase order raised, a convenient date and time for you will be arranged for our site visit. After the survey has been carried out we aim to have results back within 2-3 working days and a full report written and sent to you in a PDF format Via email. (Times vary depending on size of report and availability of surveyor; we aim for no more than 5 working days week for any report)

How are the samples analysed?
The samples we take are analysed by a UKAS accredited laboratory using polarised light microscopy to identify the fibre type which is then incorporated into our material risk score as part of the risk assessment section of our reports. A certificate of analysis is included in all our reports.

Asbestos Removal
ESP does not carry out an asbestos removal service as we feel it would be could be construed as a professional conflict of interest to our sampling survey work. However, removal of asbestos can be arranged through ESP if you wish to continue dealing with us. We are able to subcontract the job to a professional licensed removal company based in Swansea but who also covers the entirety of The UK and Ireland.

Phoenix Asbestos Recovery (PAR) are available to be sub contracted by ESP to allow removal of ACM’s under your original purchase order.

PAR are fully licensed and insured for all works carried out with asbestos, they are not affiliated with ESP.

If you would prefer to go directly with PAR please follow link below, any removals of asbestos cannot be carried out without a risk assessment. PAR also believes in the same conflict of interest and therefore do not carry out asbestos surveys.

Phoenix Asbestos Recovery Website

Asbestos Awareness Training
ESP offer a 1 day (approx 9am to 3pm) asbestos awareness course delivered by our qualified lecturer (PGCE FE/HE) with 5 years lecturing experience and holder of BOHS P402 Asbestos Surveying and Sampling certificate.

Who would benefit from the course?

This course is aimed at any persons who may come into contact with Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) as part of their job (builders, plumbers, keen diy enthusiasts) as well as those people managing any persons who may come into contact with ACM’s.

The course is designed to teach and inform allowing sensible health and safety protocols to be set up and a common sense approach to be employed rather than panic and indecisiveness which could lead to errors of judgement.

What is involved?

The course covers a range of topics to provide a basic understanding of:

  • About Asbestos – what it is, where it’s from and what types
  • Health effects – how do fibres enter the body and what happens when they do?
  • Use of asbestos/products – why and where we used ACM’s
  • Legislation – an outline of the current rules and regulations regarding asbestos
  • Working with asbestos – who can legally do what and how to keep yourself safe
  • Scenarios – check the information has been absorbed by running through some scenarios and discussing what your approach would be.

We bring with us a number of safely double bagged and labelled samples of commonly occuring ACM’s, giving candidates a good opportunity to get a close look at some of the materials they may encounter and example PPE of the required standard to handle any ACM should a situation arise.

About Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally forming silicate mineral with a long, thin fibrous make up. Asbestos is still mined in huge quantities in a number of countries around the world (predominantly Russia and Africa, Brazil)

A quick history lesson into asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral which is mined throughout the world; it has a number of common forms all of which share a long, thin, fibrous crystal make up.

It is believed asbestos has been used through the ages as far back as 4000 BC where the fibres were used in lamps and candles. Asbestos has also been found dating back to 3000 BC contained in the cloth which were wrapped around Egyptian Pharaohs.

Asbestos became a staple material in a huge number of building materials in the UK from as early as the 1920’s, with peak use between the 50’s and 70’s. From the 70’s onwards its use was slowly phased out with Government prohibitions added from the 80’s. It took until 1999 for all fibre types and associated products to be completely banned in the UK. Therefore any building constructed before 2000 is considered highly likely to contain ACM’s and a few buildings after 2000 continue to contain ACM’s due to a minority of unscrupulous contractors using up already paid for stocks of materials in projects rather than disposing of them as asbestos waste.

What are the differences between the Types of Asbestos?

Below is listed three most common asbestos fibres types used in the UK, what colour they are under polarized light & what they are commonly referred to, the year they were banned in the UK and the Characteristic and behaviour

Name Fibre Colour Banned in UK Characteristic Behaviour
Chrysotile White 1999 Serpentine Hydrophilic
Amosite Brown 1985 Amphibole Hydrophobic
Crocidolite Blue 1985 Amphibole Hydrophobic

There are a further three asbestos types which were not commonly used in the UK but are still identified on occasion. All three were banned in the UK in 1992 and are called Actinolite, Anthophyllite and Tremolite.

Why was it used?
The list of beneficial qualities of asbestos is a long one and the products it became incorporated into even longer! There is still no one naturally formed material that possesses all the qualities of asbestos. Below is a list of some of the most popular qualities which proliferated its use:

  • Fire resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • Electrical insulator
  • Chemically inert
  • Vermin proof
  • High tensile strength
  • Chrysotile can be spun relatively easily into textiles
  • Relatively inexpensive

Where would you find asbestos?
Listed below are a number of the locations and materials asbestos can commonly be found and sampled. The list however, is not exhaustible:

  • Roof tiles
  • Roof felt & tars
  • Roof Sheets
  • Downpipes/Guttering
  • Soffit boards
  • Ceiling sprayed thermal insulation
  • Ceilings boards
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Walls boards
  • Wall plaster
  • Ceiling &Wall textured coating
  • Acoustic ceilings & walls
  • Floor tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Heat panels (e.g. behind radiators)
  • Fire doors
  • Sink pads
  • Toilet seats
  • Toilet cisterns
  • Industrial & marine gaskets
  • Thermal pipe lagging
  • Electrical insulation
    • Arc Arrestors
    • Phase Separators
    • Rope Seals
    • Electrical Wires sleeving
  • Brake pads & shoes
  • Gas mask filters
  • Firemen clothing
  • Fire blankets
  • Oven Gloves & Towels
  • Stage Curtains

 Why should I be concerned?
All asbestos is classed as a Grade 1 carcinogen which, many years after exposure, can result in serious and fatal respiratory diseases. Yet, if the material is in good condition, sealed within a matrix (e.g. cement) and not easily disturbed, it is often recommended to keep the material in situ rather than remove which causes more disturbance than may be necessary. Provided the ACM can be safely sealed or encapsulated with appropriate sealant and any persons who may need to carry out works on that material are made aware of its presence then the risk is considered very low. For example, artex is usually covered in numerous layers of paint as well as originally being bound in a matrix to apply to ceilings that fibre release is only possible through sanding or drilling and therefore poses no risk on a day to day basis.

The first reported and published death due to asbestos was an asbestos textile worker in Manchester, Nellie Kershaw who died in 1924. Unfortunately it took a number of years before the inquiries of asbestos to be examined and in the mean time the use of asbestos grew and grew and wasn’t till the 1980’s asbestos was started to be banned.

The dangers of exposure to asbestos fibres come to light a number of years after exposure (anything from 10 to 60 years later!) in a number of serious, and sometimes fatal, health conditions including:

  • Lung Cancer
    • Mesothelioma
    • Asbestosis
    • Pleural thickening
    • Pleural plaque
    • Plural Effusion
    • Asbestos Corns/Warts

Keeping Safe
Always try to identify any ACM’s before any works commence and ensure a P3 dust mask is worn at all times during diy/building projects particularly if you are removing an encapsulating material of any description with an unknown backing.

If you suspect you may have disturbed an ACM it is important to immediately stop work to prevent any further fibre release and close off the area if possible. Contact us to talk through what you need to do next according to the material disturbed.

Here are some basic do’s and don’ts it is worth keeping in mind:

Don’t disturb ACM’s (or continue to disturb if you have moved some accidentally)

Don’t put yourself at risk by handling material you suspect could be asbestos.

Don’t panic – Asbestos is not dangerous unless the fibres are released – you may be able to limit further fibre release by wetting the site of disturbance if safe to do so.

Do wear a P3 dust mask during DIY work

Do try to find out if your property/out building was built prior to 2000

Do contact ESP for advice as soon as possible

Remember, it is fibre release that categorises the immediate danger and asbestos fibres can break down to microscopic sizes meaning you cannot see all of the fibres released by a product. If an occasion ever arises where you think you may disturb or have already disturbed a material which can readily release asbestos fibres (loose fill lagging, pipe lagging, asbestos insulating board etc) then you should immediately stop work and evacuate the room – closing off that room if possible, and do not re-enter without contacting us to come and sample the material for you and advise you on what to do next.

Free copies of the HSE Guidenses can be downloaded from the following links:-

Asbestos: The survey guide – HSG 264

Asbestos: The licensed contractors’ guide – HSG 247