How to choose an asbestos removal contractor
If you need any kind of asbestos abatement carried out on your property (whether domestic, commercial or industrial), it’s crucial that you find a genuine, qualified contractor to carry out the work.
Why should you use a licensed asbestos contractor?
Asbestos is incredibly dangerous so if it needs removing completely, or you simply need to encapsulate, repair or maintain asbestos containing materials (ACM), you need to enlist the help of a licensed asbestos contractor.
Asbestos that is in good condition is unlikely to be harmful, but if it is disturbed and the fibres become airborne, this is when it poses the most risk. Being exposed to asbestos fibres can cause lasting health problems (asbestos still kills around 5000 people each year). So if any work is carried out that could potentially disturb the asbestos, you need to make sure the contractor is licensed to work with ACM and knows how to control it in order to minimise the risk.
What should you look for?
To make sure they are qualified for the job, there are a few things you need to check when hiring an asbestos removal contractor.
What accreditations do they have?
An asbestos contractor’s licences and accreditations are the first thing you should check:
- Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE) licence
The first thing you should find out is whether a removal contractor has an HSE licence to work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulation board for the purpose of removal. Some contractors may have different conditions on their licences, so if you’re unsure whether they are able to carry out the work you need, you can ask to see a copy of their licence.
Before you commit to an asbestos removal contractor, ask them for their HSE asbestos licence number and check it against the HSE database to make sure it is still valid.
- Licence to transport hazardous waste
If you are having asbestos removed and disposed of, make sure the contractor who will be doing this has been awarded a licence to transport hazardous waste by the Environment Agency.
Asbestos can’t just be thrown away with general waste, so you need to know that the contractor is able to dispose of it properly and safely once the removal has been completed. To check, ask them for their Waste Carriers Registration Number.
- Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) membership
ARCA is the UK’s leading association for asbestos removal contractors. If you are considering working with a particular contractor, you can check if they are a Full Contracting Member of ARCA by searching for them in its asbestos contractor database.
You can also ask contractors if they have ARCA’s Site Audit Accreditation Scheme (SAAS) quality assurance award. This is a great marker of quality and expertise and states that a contractor’s methods and procedures surpass ARCA’s stringent high standards.
- Other accreditations
Checking for any other health and safety accreditations such as CHAS, or proof of quality and skills such as CSCS, are also beneficial when looking for an asbestos removal contractor as these additional accreditations will further show that they are a skilled and experienced contractor.
Have they worked on similar projects before?
Before you enter an agreement with an asbestos contractor, find out about their specific experience and the jobs they’ve carried out in the past.
Their experience in your sector can be especially important if you require work on a public building such as a hospital or a school. However, you should also keep in mind the scale of the jobs they’ve done.
If you require asbestos removing for a demolition project or the renovation of a large industrial property, make sure that the contractor you choose has experience doing this. If you choose a company that usually only carries out small projects on private domestic properties, they might not be able to carry out larger scale work as easily as another contractor could.
Asbestos removal from BLS Asbestos
BLS Asbestos are a specialist, HSE licensed asbestos removal contractor, with over 30 years experience in the survey and abatement of asbestos in domestic, commercial and industrial properties.
For examples of the work we’ve carried out in the past, take a look at our case studies, or call BLS Asbestos on 01484 400558 to arrange a free, no-obligation site visit.