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Asbestos advice please - rather worried!

Discussion in 'Building' started by Amber69, 15 Sep 2021.

  1. Amber69

    Amber69

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    I am hoping for some advice please. I recently decided to get the soffits, facias and guttering replaced on my house which was built in 1990. The idea was to completely remove all the old ones and fit new PVC ones. But when the contractors started, they broke off the first bit of the soffit and said it might be asbestos. They advised to leave it in place undisturbed and fit the PVC soffits over it. I agreed to this.

    However, when I returned home when they were a fair way through the job, I found that in removing the wooden facias, the soffits had been damaged in a couple of places (although not many) but that also most of the edges of the soffits looked slightly damaged with rough edges. There are small bits of it everywhere outside. As the facias are totally removed now and they are fitting the new ones, the damage is done.

    What I'm worried about is how much of a health hazard this has already caused - short term exposure for the workers and longer term for us, if we use the garden and dust continues to be in the atmosphere? It will more than likely be in the grass, plants, along the paths / driveway etc. They will also need to drill holes to fit air vents which will cause more dust.

    I've no idea what I should do at this stage. I have sent off for an asbestos test kit but if it comes back positive, what next? Even if I get someone in to remove the new soffits and remove the old soffits beneath, the dust that's already out there is still there.

    The strange thing is I'm one of the last in the street to get this done and no one has ever mentioned an asbestos problem to me. We are mostly residents who have lived here since the houses were new so it's not that current owners won't know about work done in the past.

    Any advice really appreciated!
     
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  3. Old Salt

    Old Salt

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    No point in worrying until its been tested as positive.

    Photos would maybe help. In the meantime dont disturb any dust, in the short term you could wet the area with a watering can or hosepipe but very, very gently just to dampen it and stop it blowing about.

    I don't really think it could be asbestos as surely they should have taken care not to damage it further and wear appropriate ppe or call in a specialist.

    I would be calling their office and get them to arrange a clean up.
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    If it is asbestos it will be the least hazardous type with few fibres, of which do not just get constantly released like some mass prison-break. Also, any fibres which may have been released are about 10miles south east by now, not hanging around in the garden and house.

    Any firm working where asbestos is likely, should be trained in asbestos awareness, which means identifying materials that may contain asbestos and not work on it unless proved otherwise. The client is responsible for testing and dealing with any asbestos product. It is possible to drill and seal certain asbestos materials without having it removed.
     
  5. Amber69

    Amber69

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    Thank you so much for the 2 replies so far. Sorry I didn't post photos, it just didn't occur to me. I will wait for the test results. Hopefully if it is asbestos, it will at least be the lowest risk cement mix type. Then I need to decide if it's safe to allow them to put in the vents which will need holes drilling. Life is that stressful at the moment this felt like the final straw, so thank you for taking the time to give me the advice.
     
  6. Amber69

    Amber69

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    I forgot to say, I did speak to the company boss, and it was his suggestion to leave it in place undisturbed and cover over it with the PVC, which seemed like a reasonable solution to me at the time. I also know he did speak to and take some advice from a specialist who apparently agreed with this course of action. But it's the fact that some of it has been disturbed during the removal of the facias that worried me, plus the fact that holes will have to be drilled to fit the vents.
     
  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Why are you having vents fitted when there are none there already?
     
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  9. Amber69

    Amber69

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    There were vents there already. They are the only ventilation for the roof space so are needed. The old ones were the old rectangular type. Looking around the whole estate, no one seems to have these any more. Instead they are all either a continuous but very narrow vent on the outside edge of the soffit, or small round vents at regular intervals. The proposal is to install the small round ones.
     
  10. Amber69

    Amber69

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    The existing holes in the suspect board can't be used as putting one round one where each hole is will not be adequate ventilation, there need to be more of them as the new vents are a smaller area than the old ones.
     
  11. jeds

    jeds

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    Whatever, you shouldn't worry. Asbestos cement board is not really hazardous at all unless you do something stupid like saw it with a skill saw or smash it to tiny smithereens. And then you'd have to throw the stuff around in the air to get close to it being a problem. ACB actually contains very tiny amounts of asbestos fibre, which is bound in cement matrix, making it too heavy to get airborne. I'm not saying sprinkle it on your cornflakes but it is basically no more hazardous than many common building dusts. Leaving it in place was sensible advice and is usually what HSE advise.
     
  12. Keithmac

    Keithmac

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    We clad over ours, I wouldn't worry about it. More mess trying to rip it all out and ours was all sound/ in good condition.
     
  13. Amber69

    Amber69

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    That has put my mind at rest, thanks so much. I'm still waiting for the test results back but I won't freak out if it comes back positive now.
     
  14. Keithmac

    Keithmac

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    It's same with our Marley floor tiles, they were stuck down securely and it good condition so I just laid underlay and laminate straight over the top.

    No benefit in causing a load of work and dust if you can avoid it imho.
     
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