Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction materials in the UK until it was banned in 1999. It was used for insulation, roofing, flooring and many other purposes, due to its strength, durability and resistance to heat and fire. However, it was later discovered that asbestos is a highly hazardous material, as exposure to its fibres can cause serious health problems, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
As a result, many properties in the UK still contain asbestos in various forms and locations, such as roofs, walls, pipes, boilers and ceilings. This raises the question of who is responsible for removing asbestos in different situations, and what are the legal obligations and risks involved.
In this article, we will focus on the case of housing associations in Hampshire, and whether they have to remove asbestos roofs from their properties, or not. We will also provide some guidance on how to manage asbestos risks for landlords and tenants, and how our company, Affordable Asbestos Removal Hampshire, can help you with asbestos surveys, testing and removal.
Housing associations, also known as registered social landlords, are non-profit organisations that provide affordable and social housing to people who cannot afford to buy or rent from the private market. They are funded by the government, as well as their own rental income and grants, and they are regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Housing associations in Hampshire, as in other parts of the UK, own and manage a significant proportion of the local housing stock, including flats, houses, bungalows and sheltered accommodation. They provide homes for people on low incomes, such as elderly, disabled, homeless, and families with children. They also have a duty to maintain and repair their properties, and to ensure that they are safe and habitable.
Asbestos is a group of six fibrous minerals that have been used in various industrial and commercial applications for centuries. They are known for their strength, durability and fire resistance, as well as their ability to insulate heat and sound. However, they are also highly hazardous to human health when their fibres are released into the air and inhaled.
Asbestos fibres are microscopic and can remain airborne for a long time, travelling through the air currents and settling on surfaces, such as walls, floors, furniture and clothing. When people breathe in asbestos fibres, they can get embedded in the lungs, causing inflammation, scarring and various respiratory diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. These diseases can take decades to develop, and there is no cure for them.
Therefore, it is essential to identify and manage asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in buildings, in order to prevent exposure to their fibres. This is especially important for landlords and tenants, who have a duty of care and responsibility to ensure that their properties are safe and free from asbestos risks.
In the UK, asbestos is regulated by several laws and regulations, which aim to protect people from the health risks associated with asbestos exposure. The main legislation is the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, which replaced earlier versions of the regulations.
These regulations apply to all non-domestic premises, such as workplaces, public buildings, schools, hospitals and shops, as well as domestic premises, such as houses, flats, and HMOs (houses in multiple occupation). They require dutyholders, such as employers, landlords and building owners, to:
The regulations also prohibit the import, supply and use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite.
One of the common locations of asbestos in properties is in roofs, especially in older buildings that were constructed before the asbestos ban. Asbestos roofs were popular due to their toughness, lightness and weather resistance, as well as their low cost.
Asbestos roofs can be found in many shapes and forms, such as corrugated sheets, tiles, slates, shingles and felt. They can appear in various colours, such as grey, brown, blue, green and white, depending on the type of asbestos and the other materials they were mixed with.
The risk of asbestos in roofs depends on several factors, such as the condition, location and type of the material, as well as the frequency and duration of any activities that might disturb it, such as maintenance, repair or demolition. If asbestos fibres are released from the roof, they can contaminate the air inside and outside the property, and potentially expose people to a health hazard.
Therefore, it is important to identify and manage asbestos roofs in a safe and compliant manner, and to seek professional advice and assistance if in doubt or concerned.
Landlords, including housing associations, have a duty of care and responsibility to provide safe and healthy homes for their tenants. This includes identifying and managing any asbestos risks in their properties, in accordance with the relevant regulations and guidance.
In particular, landlords and housing associations need to:
Failure to comply with the asbestos regulations can lead to enforcement action, fines or prosecution by the authorities, as well as harm to the health and safety of people involved.
Tenants also have a role to play in managing the asbestos risks on their premises, as they may be exposed to the fibres if they carry out any DIY or maintenance work, or if they live in close proximity to any work that involves asbestos.
To protect themselves from asbestos risks, tenants should:
Affordable Asbestos Removal Hampshire is a reputable and experienced asbestos removal company in Hampshire, South East England. We offer a wide range of services to help landlords and tenants manage and remove asbestos-containing materials from their properties, in compliance with the regulations and best practices.
Our services include:
We are fully licensed, insured and accredited by the UKATA (UK Asbestos Training Association), ARCA (Asbestos Removal Contractors Association) and HSE (Health and Safety Executive). We also provide a free and no-obligation quote for our services, and we pride ourselves on our competitive and transparent pricing.
If you are a landlord or tenant in Hampshire, and you need help with asbestos surveys, testing or removal, do not hesitate to contact us at 01962 458066 or email us at [email protected]. You can also visit our website at affordable-asbestos-removal-hampshire.co.uk for more information and resources. We are here to help you ensure that your property is safe and free from asbestos risks.