Where could asbestos be found in an industrial property?

If you own an industrial property, or are the employer responsible, you have a duty to manage any asbestos that may be in the building. But in order to manage any asbestos (find out how to manage asbestos here) and take appropriate action, you first need to identify how much asbestos is present and where it is located.

Asbestos was once one of the most commonly used construction materials, so could be found in any property that was built or refurbished before 2000. To identify if there is any asbestos in your property, you will need to hire a specialist asbestos contractor to carry out a comprehensive survey of the building. However, some of the places you could find asbestos in an industrial building may be:

Sprayed coating on ceilings, walls, beams and columns

Sprayed coating was often used for insulation and fire protection in warehouses. Because it was sprayed, it was very easy to either overspray or get splashback so where there is spray coating, there is likely to be asbestos debris in the surrounding area.

Spray coating is typically up to 85% asbestos and can be broken up very easily, making it one of the most dangerous asbestos containing materials (ACM).

Asbestos cement water tanks

Asbestos cement is just normal cement mixed with asbestos, and in some cases the mix can be over ½ asbestos.

Loose fill insulation

Loose fill insulation is the fluffy material that most people may think of when they picture asbestos insulation. Loose fill was often used between cavity walls, under floorboards and in loft spaces and is probably the most dangerous ACM.

Loose fill consists of pure asbestos and if disturbed can release large amounts of asbestos fibres into the air.

Lagging on boilers and pipes

Lagging on pipes can sometimes be quite difficult to identify as it has many different appearances and, when used on pipes, is often covered in a protective coating. Lagging is mostly a fibrous material which can flake and break easily, making it one of the most hazardous forms of asbestos.

Asbestos insulating boards (AIB)

AIB was commonly used for fireproofing and was used in a range of areas in industrial buildings, including ceiling tiles, partition walls, around boilers and in fire doors.

Without the help of a specialist to conduct an asbestos survey, it can be difficult to tell the difference between AIB items and non-asbestos containing building items.

Asbestos rope seals and gaskets

Asbestos rope seals and gaskets may have been used in gas or electric heating appliances.

This form of asbestos does not necessarily pose an immediate risk, however caution should always be taken when carrying out any work on rope seals and gaskets, and any asbestos should be identified and monitored to prevent any damage.

Textiles such as fire blankets

Old fire blankets and heat resistant gloves were sometimes made out of asbestos textiles. In terms of appearance, these ACM are not always very distinctive from what is used now, so the age of fireproof textiles, or the brand name of the product, should be checked to identify if they contain asbestos.

Textured coatings on walls and ceilings

Textured coatings containing asbestos (such as Artex) were often used on ceilings and walls to create a decorative finish, such as peaks or patterns.

Asbestos cement roof, gutter and downpipe

Asbestos cement roofs found on industrial buildings were mainly made from large sheets of corrugated asbestos cement.

Asbestos cement gutters and downpipes were then often attached to the roof on industrial properties. As with water tanks, the cement mix can sometimes be over ½ asbestos.

To effectively identify all the areas of your property where asbestos is present, a comprehensive asbestos management or demolition/refurbishment survey needs to be carried out by an expert contractor. Once this has been completed, they will then be able to recommend the best course of action for managing or removing any ACM in the building.

BLS Asbestos are a HSE licensed asbestos contractor with over 20 years’ experience in carrying out asbestos surveys and removals on industrial, commercial and residential properties.

To discuss your asbestos survey or removal requirements, or for more information on our asbestos services, call BLS Asbestos on 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.

Published: 7th March 2018

Author: Charles Burke

Charles is currently the Managing Director of BLS Asbestos and has nearly 20 years experience within the asbestos surveying and removal business.

His main priority is ensuring that the business always operates within the necessary health and safety guidelines that look after both his staff and clients when removing asbestos. This is further backed-up by his BSc Occupational Health and Safety degree that he attained at the University of Leeds. 

Find out more about Charles' skills and accreditations within the asbestos removal industry via his LinkedIn page

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