Hidden Hazards: Unmasking Asbestos Secrets in UK Homes

Asbestos, a hidden hazard lurking in many UK homes, poses a serious risk to health. In this article, we’ll delve into the mysteries surrounding asbestos and answer questions related to asbestos safety in UK homes. We understand how important it is to ensure your home is safe.

Where Does Asbestos Come From?

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that were widely used in building materials from the 1930s until asbestos was legally banned in the UK in 1999. It’s important to know when your house was built to determine the likelihood of asbestos being present.

Hidden Asbestos in UK Homes

Asbestos can be found in various materials in homes built before the ban. Some common materials containing asbestos include:

  • Old brickwork
  • Corrugated sheeting
  • Loft insulation
  • Frosted glass
  • Artex ceilings

If you’re unsure whether your home contains asbestos, consider hiring an asbestos surveyor near you to inspect and provide an asbestos survey.

The Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is hazardous when its fibres become airborne and are inhaled. It’s linked to various diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. To learn more about the dangers of asbestos, visit some of the links at the bottom of this page.

Asbestos Regulations and Removal

Asbestos is covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations. Homeowners have a duty to manage any asbestos-containing materials in their homes. It’s crucial to hire a licensed professional for asbestos removal, as improper handling can release dangerous fibres into the air.

Asbestos and Selling Your Home

It’s not illegal to sell a house with asbestos, but you must disclose its presence to potential buyers. If you’re selling a house with Artex ceilings, which may contain asbestos, it’s essential to inform the buyer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Asbestos Be Found in Old Brickwork?

While asbestos was commonly used in many building materials, it is generally not found in old brickwork. Asbestos was primarily used as insulation, in roofing materials, and for fireproofing purposes. Bricks themselves were not typically made with asbestos-containing materials. However, in some cases, mortar or other bonding materials used in the construction of brick walls may contain asbestos. If you suspect that your old brickwork may contain asbestos, it’s essential to have a professional asbestos survey conducted to ensure your safety and the safety of those working on your property.

When Did They Put Asbestos in Plaster?

Asbestos was added to plaster as a reinforcing and fire-resistant material during the early to mid-20th century. The use of asbestos in plaster was most prevalent between the 1920s and 1980s. As a result, many buildings constructed or renovated during this period may contain asbestos in their plaster walls and ceilings. Asbestos was a popular additive due to its durability, soundproofing, and insulating properties. However, as the health risks associated with asbestos exposure became apparent, its use in construction materials such as plaster significantly decreased, leading to its eventual ban in many countries.

Can asbestos be found in frosted glass?

You may also wonder if asbestos can be found in frosted glass. While it’s not a common occurrence, it’s worth mentioning that certain types of frosted glass produced in the 20th century may contain asbestos fibres. If you have concerns about the presence of asbestos in your frosted glass, it’s advisable to consult a professional asbestos surveyor.

Was Asbestos Used in Loft Insulation?

Yes, asbestos was indeed used in loft insulation materials during the mid-20th century, primarily in the form of loose-fill insulation. This type of insulation was made from a mixture of asbestos fibres and other materials, such as vermiculite, and was commonly used to insulate attics and lofts due to its excellent thermal and fire-resistant properties. However, since the 1980s, the use of asbestos in insulation products has been discontinued and replaced with safer alternatives, such as fibreglass or cellulose insulation. If your home was built or renovated between the 1940s and 1980s, there is a possibility that it contains asbestos-containing insulation materials, and it is essential to have it inspected and removed by a professional if necessary.

Can Asbestos Be Found in Corrugated Sheeting?

Asbestos was indeed a common component in corrugated sheeting materials during the mid-20th century. Asbestos cement sheets, also known as “fibro” or “AC sheets,” were frequently used in the construction of roofs, walls, and fences due to their durability, weather resistance, and fireproof properties. These sheets typically contained 10-15% asbestos fibres, which provided reinforcement and stability to the cement mixture. Although the use of asbestos in corrugated sheeting has been banned in many countries since the late 20th century, older structures that have not undergone renovation or demolition may still contain these hazardous materials. If you suspect the presence of asbestos in corrugated sheeting, it is crucial to consult with a professional to assess the risk and take appropriate action to remove and dispose of the material safely.

Do asbestos surveys expire?

Another frequently asked question is whether asbestos surveys expire. While there isn’t a specific expiration date, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that asbestos surveys are reviewed and updated regularly, particularly if there have been changes to the building or if new information about the presence of asbestos becomes available.

Is Asbestos Covered by COSHH?

Asbestos is indeed covered by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. These regulations require employers to prevent or control the exposure of employees to hazardous substances, including asbestos. As for its flammability, asbestos is a non-flammable material, which is one of the reasons it was widely used as insulation in the past.

Is Asbestos Flammable?

Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not flammable. In fact, one of the primary reasons it was so widely used in construction and various industries is its remarkable fire-resistant properties. Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that can withstand high temperatures without burning, which made it an ideal insulator for fireproofing buildings, electrical wiring, and even protective clothing for firefighters. However, despite its non-flammable nature, the severe health risks associated with asbestos exposure ultimately led to a ban on its use in many countries. If you suspect asbestos-containing materials in your home or workplace, it is essential to consult a professional for proper identification, removal, and disposal to minimise the risk of exposure.

When Asbestos Was Banned in the UK?

Asbestos was legally banned in the UK in 1999, but its use had been restricted for several years before that. Consequently, buildings constructed or renovated before 2000 are more likely to contain asbestos materials. If you are unsure of when your house was built, it’s crucial to have an asbestos survey carried out.

Is it illegal to sell a house with asbestos in it?

It is not illegal to sell a house with asbestos in it, but you must disclose its presence to potential buyers. The presence of asbestos may affect the value of your property or deter some buyers, but it does not have to be a deal-breaker. If you are considering selling a house with Artex ceilings, which could contain asbestos, ensure that you inform potential buyers, and consider having a professional asbestos survey carried out.

Can I Sell My House with Artex Ceilings?

It is important to be transparent with potential buyers about the presence of these textured coatings, especially if they contain asbestos. Artex, a popular decorative plaster used between the 1950s and 1980s, sometimes contained asbestos to enhance its durability and fire resistance. If you are unsure whether your Artex ceiling contains asbestos, it’s advisable to have it tested by a professional. If asbestos is present, you can choose to have it removed or encapsulated before selling your home, which might make it more appealing to potential buyers. However, if the asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and not disturbed, they may not pose an immediate health risk, and you can decide to sell the house as-is, provided you disclose this information to interested parties.

Remember, when it comes to your building project, an informed decision is the best decision.



As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.


How Shear Architectural Design Can Help

At Shear Architectural Design, we understand the importance of ensuring the safety of your home, whether you are undertaking a new build project or renovating an older property. Our team of experienced Architectural Designers can guide you through the process of gaining planning permission and building regulations for your project, including new build houses, house extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, barn conversions, and driveways.

Our expertise in architectural design and commitment to safety ensure that your project will be carried out with the utmost care. With Shear Architectural Design on your side, you can confidently create the home of your dreams, knowing that your safety is our top priority.

Preventing Asbestos Exposure: Tips and Best Practices

While the dangers of asbestos are well-known, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to prevent exposure and ensure the safety of everyone involved in a building or renovation project. Here are some tips and best practices to help you prevent asbestos exposure:

1. Conduct a thorough asbestos survey

Before embarking on any construction or renovation project, it’s essential to carry out an asbestos survey. This will help you identify the presence of asbestos-containing materials in your building and determine the appropriate course of action. A professional asbestos surveyor can assist you in assessing the level of risk and developing a plan to manage it effectively.

2. Develop an asbestos management plan

If your building contains asbestos, developing an asbestos management plan is crucial. This plan should outline the location of asbestos-containing materials, measures to prevent disturbance, and procedures for dealing with any accidental release of asbestos fibres. Regularly review and update your plan to ensure it remains effective.

3. Provide training and raise awareness

Ensure that anyone working on your property, including employees, contractors, and other stakeholders, is aware of the potential risks associated with asbestos. Providing asbestos awareness training can help them recognise asbestos-containing materials, understand the health risks, and take appropriate precautions to minimise exposure.

4. Use licensed professionals for asbestos removal

If asbestos-containing materials need to be removed or disturbed, it’s crucial to engage a licensed asbestos removal contractor. These professionals have the necessary training, expertise, and equipment to safely remove asbestos without posing a risk to human health or the environment.

5. Dispose of asbestos waste properly

Once asbestos-containing materials have been removed, it’s vital to ensure their proper disposal. This should be done in accordance with local regulations and guidelines, which may require you to use a designated asbestos waste disposal site or engage a licensed waste carrier.

By following these best practices and seeking professional guidance, you can effectively prevent asbestos exposure and create a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved in your building or renovation project.


In Conclusion

Asbestos is a hazardous material that was widely used in construction until the late 20th century. While its use has been banned since 1999, many buildings still contain asbestos-containing materials. It’s essential to understand the risks associated with asbestos and take appropriate precautions when dealing with it, whether you’re undertaking a renovation project, purchasing a property, or working in a building that may contain asbestos.

At Shear Architectural Design, we’re committed to helping you create a safe and healthy living environment. Our experienced team can provide guidance and support throughout your building or renovation project.

If you have questions or need assistance with your project, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is ready to help you turn your vision into a reality while prioritising your safety and well-being.

Additional Resources:


About Shear Architectural Design

Shear Architectural Design is an award winning Architectural Design firm based in Sussex, specialising in residential and commercial projects. Our experienced team is dedicated to creating innovative, sustainable, and functional spaces that meet the unique needs of our clients. With a focus on collaboration and customer satisfaction, we work closely with you to bring your vision to life, from the initial concept to the final construction. To learn more about our services or to discuss your project, please contact us today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home. We also navigate the complexities of Building Regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.


Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

Related Services:


We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

View the latest fascinating information on the HSE website on Where you can find asbestos: HERE

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