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Asbestos

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral commonly present (in tiny amounts) in the air we breathe, but has been commercially mined from rock and milled into fibres from which a wide range of materials were produced since the 1950s. Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals.  This led to their widespread use in a whole range of building materials and products, particularly during the 1960’s up to the 1980’s.  Asbestos was often used as fireproofing or insulation but also as a general building material. The use of asbestos has been banned in the UK and properties built after 2000 do not contain asbestos.

Asbestos materials (ACM) pose little risk unless they are disturbed in some way that allows the fibres to be released into the atmosphere.  This will occur if the ACM is drilled, sanded, cut or broken up but could also occur if it is in a poor and/or damaged condition and liable to further disturbance.

Asbestos-containing materials are not a risk if they are in good condition. If the ACM becomes damaged, or their condition deteriorates, it could pose a risk to health. Damaged asbestos containing materials can release fibres which, when inhaled, can cause serious diseases.

We are required to act and manage under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, on our tenanted properties and within the communal managed areas of our blocks. We record all asbestos information and provide information about the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). As part of the leasehold management packs on resales, where there are known ACMs in the communal managed areas, a copy of the asbestos survey is included. A copy of the report can be requested from Worthing Homes at any time.

Where Asbestos may be found in the home?

Under the terms of your lease, leaseholders (homeowners) or freeholders are responsible for fixtures and fittings within the property so it is important to be aware that ACMs could be present in your home.

Asbestos can be found in many places around the home and it is not always easy to tell if a material contains asbestos as many modern asbestos-free materials often look similar.

The list below gives some of the common areas where asbestos might be found:

Exterior

  • Profiled [corrugated] roofing sheets
  • Some roof tiles and roofing felt
  • Gutters and downpipes
  • Soffit boards
  • Window panels

Interior

  • Partition walls
  • Window panels
  • Cupboards around boilers
  • Panels around electrical equipment
  • Panels behind fires or heaters
  • Panels on or inside fire doors
  • Bath panels
  • Floor tiles
  • Textured coatings (Artex)
  • Old boiler flues
  • Gaskets and rope seals inside gas appliances
  • Cold water storage tanks
  • WC cisterns

Short term exposures to significant level of asbestos fibres can occur during ‘DIY’ work. Please remember before making any changes or improvements to your home you must obtain written permission from Worthing Homes before you do them.

We advise you to note the following if you do carry out DIY:

  • Do not carry out any DIY works on asbestos containing materials.
  • Do not disturb any asbestos containing materials by banging nails into it.
  • Do not drill into asbestos containing materials by hand or power tools.
  • Do not scrape asbestos containing materials or use a steam stripper.
  • Do not attempt to remove asbestos containing materials.

If you are unsure whether your home may have ACMs, you should contact us to find out if there are any ACMs in your home.  If there is we will record what it is, where it is and how much there is, the asbestos type and its condition.

If any ACMs require removal we recommend that you contact an asbestos-removal contractor licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out the work.

If you arrange for any asbestos to be removed, please tell us so we can keep a record on file, in case we need to pass on any relevant information to new residents, contractors and/or third parties.