Where is asbestos located?
The commercial use of asbestos in the UK began around the end of the nine-teenth century and increased gradually until World War II. Immediately after World War II, late quantities of asbestos were used, particularly for new ‘system-built’ buildings in the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s.
These buildings are generally the schools, hospitals, leisure centres, local-authority/ government buildings, police stations, fire stations etc. that we mostly associate asbestos with today.
Asbestos has been the subject of gradual voluntary and formal bans since 1969, for example:
- the use of blue asbestos stopped almost completely in about 1970;
- the installation of sprayed coatings decreased gradually from 1970 to 1980 and was the subject of a legal ban from 1985;
- the installation of asbestos insulating board decreased sharply after 1980 and stopped completely in 1985;
- the use of asbestos paints and varnishes stopped in about 1988;
- the installation of asbestos-containing decorative plasters was legally banned in 1992;
- the installation of asbestos cement was prohibited in 1999.
This is why we survey all properties built or refurbished before 2000 as some materials were still stored in surplus and used after 1999.
From our experience, most organisations and occupiers, particularly of domestic premises, are unaware of just how many materials contained asbestos and how extensively they were used.
The HSE document “Asbestos : Your quick guide”, has 2 sample diagrams, shown below, to illustrate an example where asbestos can be found within Industrial and Domestic properties: