If you're planning on having an old building demolished so that you can begin a new-build project on the site, you might want to commission a pre-demolition asbestos inspection first. But why is this so important and is it worth the expense?
Why you need a pre-demolition asbestos inspection
The fibres contained within asbestos can cause serious respiratory diseases, including some kinds of cancer. Demolishing buildings that contain asbestos can release these micro-fibres into the air, presenting a hazard to the building crew and to passers-by.
Many buildings constructed before the 1970s were built using asbestos-containing materials, such as pipe insulation, rope, and even paint. If you go ahead with demolition and the process releases asbestos fibres, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. This will help the inspection to go more quickly and smoothly, saving you money in the long run.
What a pre-demolition asbestos inspection involves
Asbestos inspectors are specially trained to find building components that contain the substance. This can involve intensive and intrusive examination of areas of the building to be demolished. The expert inspectors will be kitted-out with the correct safety equipment to ensure that they won't be harmed if any asbestos is disturbed during their inspection. Note here that this is a highly specialist job and it's not something that you should attempt to undertake yourself.
Before the inspection can take place, you will need to provide the inspection team with a detailed site layout, building plans if you have them, and any information you have regarding a history of asbestos use in the original construction of the building.
On completion of the inspection, the survey team will compile a report giving details of any asbestos that has been found on the site, together with their recommendations regarding its removal. When the safe removal of the asbestos-containing material has been carried out and the site is deemed to be 'safe', the inspectors will produce a further report to that effect.
Removal of the asbestos is a specialist job too and not something that you can undertake yourself. The site inspectors will recommend a suitably qualified contractor to carry out the demolition work for you.
If you are planning on demolishing an old property, you should be aware that it might have asbestos-containing materials as part of the fabric of the building. For this reason you should have the property inspected by a specialist contractor, prior to proceeding with the work.