Asbestos. in the home. A guide for tenant and leaseholders.

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1 Asbestos in the home A guide for tenant and leaseholders

2 Please keep this reference guide it contains important safety information A large-print version of this document is available. Call for a copy. 2

3 Introduction This guide is all about asbestos: what it is, its health effects, where it may be in your home, and what you can do about it. Most homes contain asbestos and even if there is asbestos in your home, it is not usually a serious problem. Asbestos is not itself dangerous. Asbestos only becomes dangerous when it gets damaged over time or is disturbed during work on your home. When damaged, asbestos releases fibres that can cause serious lung disease. Contents What is asbestos? 4 When is asbestos a problem? 4 What are the health risks? 5 How does asbestos affect health? 5 Where asbestos may be found? 5 What if I think there is asbestos in my home? 8 How does Waverley manage asbestos in tenanted properties? 9 How the Council will act? 10 What are my responsibilities if I m a tenant? 11 How should I dispose of asbestos? (tenant-owned items only) 12 What if I ve bought my flat? 12 Dumped asbestos 12 Asbestos do s and don ts 13 Important advice 14 More information 16 Contact telephone numbers and addresses For information on who to contact, see page 16 3

4 What is asbestos? Asbestos is a natural mineral (a fibrous silicate) found in rocks all over the world. It has been used commercially for about 150 years because it is strong, flexible and stable. The three types of asbestos used in the UK are: Crocidolite (blue asbestos); Amosite (brown asbestos) and Chrysotile (white asbestos). When is asbestos a problem? When asbestos containing materials are damaged or deteriorate with age, they can release tiny fibres into the air. These fibres can penetrate deep into the lungs. They can stay there a long time and can t be coughed out. Blue and brown asbestos are generally the most dangerous types. 4

5 What are the health risks? About 5.5 million buildings in the UK contain asbestos in some form. Because asbestos has been so widely used, there is a low level of asbestos fibres in the air everywhere. Yet the risk to the public from asbestos in the home is low. The greatest risk arises when asbestos is damaged or drilled, sawn, scrubbed or sanded. DIY work can result in brief but high levels of exposure. If you think a material might contain asbestos, don t work on it - contact Waverley for guidance. Asbestos related disease accounts for around 4000 deaths a year. That s more than the number of people killed on the roads and it s the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK. It s sometimes seen as a granddad s disease affecting older workers but there s still a risk to younger tradesmen if they don t take adequate precautions. (See the do s and don ts section see page 13) How does asbestos affect health? Asbestos fibres in the lungs can cause cancer and thickening of the lungs. One type of cancer, mesothelioma, is always fatal; and asbestosis is a crippling lung disease. Where asbestos may be found? Building materials containing asbestos were widely used from 1930 to the mid-1980 s, but particularly from the 1960 s onwards. So houses and flats built or refurbished prior to 2000 may contain asbestos. However, identical properties may not contain the same materials. Different contractors may have used different materials at different times. For information on who to contact, see page 16 5

6 Here are some of the asbestos containing products that might be found in a home: Outside the home Roofing felt made with bitumen Corrugated roofing sheets to sheds and garages Rainwater downpipes Rainwater guttering Roof slates Soil and vent pipes Undercloak board supporting roof tiles where they overhang beyond brickwork. Usually found on the end of the house Soffit boards horizontal board beneath the roof overhang. They bridge the gap between brickwork and fascia board with the guttering attached Window cills (external) 6

7 Inside the home Airbricks Bath panels Bituminous paper lining to the roof Bituminous acoustic pad fitted beneath stainless steel sinks Chimney breasts asbestos insulation board (AIB) panels used to form mock chimney breasts in timber-framed homes Cold water tanks in the loft space Decorative ceiling tiles Floor finish cushion floor sheet vinyl Floor tiles rigid vinyl Floor tiles thermoplastic vinyl Fire surrounds heat and fire proof Flue pipes to heating systems Insulation of warm air heating systems Insulation to central heating systems Lagging to pipes and boilers Textured decorative finish to ceilings and occasionally walls Artex is a well-known brand Textured decorative paint Window board black cast resin sheet Wall boarding to internal partitions, airing cupboard linings, shelving, duct and pipe covers Asbestos Insulation Board linings to doors, door header panels and loft hatches Other places where asbestos is found Coal bunker lid and slider panel to coal bunker Electric night storage heaters up to 1976, used for the heat retention blocks Filler ropes surrounding oven doors and solid fuel fires Fire blankets in kitchens Ironing boards iron-rest heat pads Portable heaters using LPG (liquid petroleum gas) Oven gloves For information on who to contact, see page 16 7

8 Asbestos has been used in some heat-resistant household products, such as oven gloves, simmering mats and ironing boards. The use of asbestos in these products decreased greatly around the mid-1980s. Since 1993 the use of asbestos in most products has been banned. Asbestos is no longer used in goods such as toasters, hair dryers as well as gas and solid fuel appliances that conform to a British Standard. However, imported manufactured goods may still contain asbestos. Please note that Waverley s asbestos survey does not include household items owned by the tenant. Since 1976 British asbestos manufacturers have put labels on most of their products to show they contain asbestos, but labels are often removed after purchase or even accidentally concealed. From early 1986 all products have had to carry the European label. Warning What if I think there is asbestos in my home? If you are in doubt as to whether any material already contains asbestos, or if you think your home contains damaged asbestos material, then... Don t take risks! Don t carry out work on it! During these times children are most at risk 8

9 How does Waverley manage asbestos in tenanted properties or blocks of flats? To gather information on asbestos in your home or communal parts to blocks, Waverley has commissioned a survey of all its council-owned or council-leased property by a specialist contractor. This Management Survey involves a visual inspection of the property or block and sampling of suspect materials. Properties and blocks will be re-inspected from time to time, depending on the type of asbestos and level of risk. Before we do any work in an area of your home or block that has or may have asbestos, we will arrange for an additional detailed survey which entails sampling material by opening up the area, for example lifting up flooring to inspect any hidden materials. This is called a Refurbishment Survey. When we survey your home, we share the results with you. After receiving a survey result, Waverley will take one of these four actions, depending on the risk: Asbestos only becomes dangerous if damaged or disturbed For information on who to contact, see page 16 9

10 How the Council will act? Type of risk Action If the type of asbestos, location or condition has a high risk Remove immediately If the risks are much lower but as part of a larger maintenance plan or improvement programme Remove as part of a maintenance/ improvement plan Low risk asbestos materials used in the bare state Seal/Record and re-inspect periodically Low risk items that are generally in good condition, sealed and not in a vulnerable position Record and re-inspect periodically We maintain an Asbestos Register Database showing all survey results. We update it when appropriate. 10

11 What are my responsibilities if I m a tenant? If you wish to carry out home improvements, you must seek approval from Waverley before you start the work, in accordance with your tenancy agreement. During that process, we ll give you any information we have about possible asbestos containing materials in your home. We ll only remove asbestos containing materials if they pose a serious risk or are damaged. If you need to remove or work on any asbestos containing materials, for example, if you wish to remove textured decorative coatings, you must do so at your cost and using a qualified and approved contractor. Before authorising works to asbestos, we may ask you to provide evidence detailing how the contractor will deal with the material. In your garden there may be an old shed. If this is not part of the original Waverley property, this belongs to you and you have full responsibility for its condition and maintenance. Some sheds contain asbestos sheeting to the roof or walls. If you wish to carry out any work to a shed, Waverley can offer simple guidelines. For information on who to contact, see page 16 11

12 How should I dispose of asbestos? (tenant-owned items only) Carefully dispose of items which you suspect as containing asbestos such as ironing boards with heat pads, oven gloves and old fire blankets as soon as possible. Damp them down and put them in a tightly sealed plastic bag labelled asbestos or wrap with polythene sheeting. Don t try to unfasten the ironing board heat pad or remove the fire blanket from its holder. By doing so, you ll increase the risk substantially and may create some dust and debris. Please take bagged items for disposal to the Slyfield Community Recycling Centre (Tip) - see page 17. What if I ve bought my flat? When you become a house owner, you are responsible for the asbestos containing materials in your home (subject to the restrictions under the Right to Buy). But if you don t take the precautions stated in this guide, you could be putting at risk the lives of you, your family and the contractor. Therefore, you must make sure that if you need to repair or remove asbestos, this is only done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos. We also suggest that you only use qualified and established companies to carry out surveying, sampling and ongoing condition inspections. Dumped asbestos If you see what may be asbestos dumped anywhere in the borough, please report it immediately so that the material can be inspected and appropriate action taken. 12

13 Asbestos do s and don ts Make regular checks of any material that you think contains asbestos. Don t touch it but look for signs of wear and damage such as tears, abrasions or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibres. If its condition has changed substantially since your last Council inspection, please let us know. Do keep away from areas where there is damage to material that may contain asbestos Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos material Do ensure that if you only use qualified contractors for any work on asbestos Don t dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos Don t saw, sand, scrape or drill holes in asbestos materials Don t trample dust or mess from materials that may contain asbestos through the house. It will result in other furnishings being contaminated and potentially more people being put at risk. For information on who to contact, see page 16 13

14 Important Advice If you personally carry out work, or enable and permit others to carry out work without our prior written approval, you will be fully liable for any costs of dealing with any asbestos incidents, as well as the cost of reinstatement. DIY work can result in brief but high levels of exposure to asbestos fibres. Irresponsible or inappropriate work (commercial or DIY) on asbestos materials in the home can lead to: people s health being put at risk contamination to the home contamination of other things such as the family vacuum cleaner asbestos materials in the domestic dustbin fly-tipping Your local refuse vehicle compresses and grinds up the waste, thereby putting the refuse collectors at risk. Also the standard domestic vacuum cleaner allows the very fine needle-like asbestos fibres to pass straight through the machine to be spread all over the house, thereby endangering the whole family. Carrying out any work to any form of asbestos without knowledge, expertise and the appropriate protection will put people s health at risk. Fly-tipping puts others at serious risk especially children. 14

15 For information on who to contact, see page 16 15

16 More information Who to talk to Waverley s Property Services Compliance Team Tenants and leaseholders seeking advice Business hours 9.00am to 5.00pm weekdays Helpline Address The Compliance Team Property Services, Waverley Borough Council The Burys, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1HR Waverley s Property Services Out-of-Hours Emergency Service Southern Monitoring Service (SMS) Out-of-Hours service 5.00pm to 9.00am daily Telephone Waverley s Environmental Health Service Asbestos for owner/occupier homes or privately rented accommodation Private Sector Housing Team Telephone Flytipped asbestos or queries regarding disposal of asbestos products Environmental Services Team Telephone

17 Asbestos (Household) Waste & Recycling Site Slyfield Community Recycling Centre (Tip) Address Moorfield Road, Slyfield Industrial Estate Guildford GU1 1RU Telephone Winter 1st October to 31st March Mon Fri, 8am 4.15pm Weekends 9am 4.15pm Summer 1st April to 30th September Mon Fri, 8am 5.15pm Weekends 9am 4.45pm Sites are closed 3 days a year: Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year s Day For information on who to contact, see page 16 17

18 Useful websites Waverley Borough Council Health & Safety Executive Asbestos Information Centre Surrey County Council Waste & Recycling environment-housing-and-planning/waste-and-recycling 18

19 Please hold on to this document For more information please contact: The Property Services Compliance Team Waverley Borough Council The Burys, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1HR Telephone (01483) Website For information on who to contact, see page 16 19

20 Asbestos in the Home First Edition: October 2004 Second Edition: July 2011 Third Edition: July 2015 For more information please contact: The Property Services Compliance Team Waverley Borough Council The Burys, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1HR Telephone (01483) Website HM-ASB-3 MARCH 2015

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