Asbestos Removal Before Demolition: A Guide

If you plan to demolish a building that may contain asbestos, it is vital that you take steps to manage and remove the asbestos before the work begins. Asbestos can be extremely dangerous. This substance was once used to insulate a large number of construction products, such as roofing, pipework, ductwork and wall and floor tiles. This article explains everything you need to know about the process of asbestos removal.

Identifying materials which contain asbestos

Identification is the first step of the asbestos removal process. A contractor will conduct a complete survey of the building to locate which materials and spaces within the property contain asbestos. Any materials that are damaged and are likely to release fibres should also be identified. The contractors will identify asbestos-containing materials is by using a handheld fibre-optic microscope. The microscope uses light to magnify fibres in the sample so you can see if they are asbestos. Once the contractors are sure the material contains asbestos, they will label it as ACM (asbestos-containing material) and keep it separate from other demolition materials. Asbestos will almost always be found in older buildings, but it can also appear in newer buildings if it was present during construction or if it has been disturbed after the building was built.

Identifying asbestos-related hazards

Identifying asbestos-related hazards is the second step of asbestos removal. All ACMs must be removed by a specialist company. You can request a list of licensed specialists from your local council. Before work begins, the contractor must identify if there is any risk of contamination. This is usually done via air monitoring which tests the quality of air inside the working environment. 

Removing the asbestos

Once asbestos has been identified, it must be removed. This is the third step in the asbestos removal process. This stage involves removing any loose materials that could potentially release fibres into the air. It is important that asbestos materials are not disturbed by drilling or cutting them. Contractors will seal sections of asbestos before they remove them. Doing so will help to reduce the risk of contamination. Once this has been done, all ACM must be removed by a specialist company who will bring their own equipment and waste disposal lorry for safe disposal of the material at an authorized landfill site.

If you would like to find out more, you should contact a local company that can remove asbestos.