FAQs / What is Asbestos?


What happens if we don't manufacture anything that contains asbestos on our premises?

The manufacture, use and importing of asbestos components is now banned in the UK. However, this legislation has been put in place to protect staff, maintenance workers and visitors, from unknowingly coming into contact with asbestos when carrying out their work on the premises. Hence, whether asbestos is used in any of your manufacturing/production processes or not, you must still have a strategy in place to manage the ACM's present within the structure of the building.


Do I need an asbestos register even though I do not have any asbestos in my building?

Yes! Every non-domestic premises built before 1999 are required to manage the potential risks from asbestos whether there is thought to be any present or not. Remember, materials must be strongly presumed to be ACM's until proven otherwise. This can be achieved either by knowing for certain that the materials in the building do not contain asbestos, this can be difficult as asbestos was added to very many products, or through sampling and analysis.


Is an asbestos register required for blocks of flats or social housing?

The individual flats will not need an asbestos risk assessment but the communal areas such as corridors, lifts, stairwells and waste disposal sections will. This is because any member of the public has access to these areas, and could subsequently come into contact with ACM's.


I lease the premises we occupy from a landlord. Who is responsible for putting the register in place?

The person who is responsible for the maintenance and the general upkeep of the building is responsible for the asbestos register. Various situations can arise whereby either a landlord or a tenant can be held responsible. In any situation where there is confusion it's advisable to contact your solicitor regarding the tenancy agreement. If in doubt contact ourselves for more advice or information.


I only own a small building with 5-6 employees, why do I need an asbestos register?

It has already been mentioned that the register is in place to protect any person working in, or carrying out work on the building. The size of the building and number of employees is irrelevant because asbestos can be found in any building built before 1999.


6. What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a generic term for a group of fibrous silicates formed within rocks over millions of years; the rock is mined and then crushed to extract the wool-like fibres.


Asbestos can be found throughout the world; being mined mainly in South Africa, Canada, Australia and Russia. Over six million tonnes have been imported into the UK.


The main types of commercially used asbestos are:

● Chrysotile - white asbestos

● Amosite - brown asbestos

● Crocidolite - blue asbestos


Asbestos has been used extensively in the building industry for over one hundred years and has proved to be an excellent product for a variety of uses, having many qualities such as insulation, fire and chemical resistance to name a few. Its suitability across a wide range of uses and its relatively cheap cost made it very popular, with over 3,000 different asbestos products having been recorded.


The use of asbestos containing materials (ACM's) was most prevalent between the 1950's and the 1980's when it provided an economic, easy to use and versatile material. Unfortunately, given the constitution and make up of asbestos it can give rise to microscopic airborne fibres being released into the working environment. The fibres have carcinogenic properties caused by inhalation of the fibres which can get lodged in the lining of the lungs causing disease and death.


For this reason the use of asbestos was eventually banned in the UK in 1999. Despite its ban, millions of tonnes of ACM's are still present in properties and buildings throughout the UK.


For More Information On Our Asbestos Services

Call Surecare Surveys On: 0116 2716 352