If your property is more than 15 years old, it is possible that it contains materials made from asbestos.
Common locations are listed below but there may be others in your home - so if in doubt leave well alone and seek expert help.
This advice is aimed at householders but the Health and Safety Executive (takes you to an external website) have produced a number of leaflets which are more appropriate for businesses.
Common locations of asbestos is in cement on:
- garage or shed roofs
- shed and garage wall panels
- drain pipes
- or insulation boards, infill panels and partitions
- on the side of bath panels
If your home is rented, your landlord may have relevant information.
What to do if you have asbestos in your home
- The general rule is to always leave asbestos alone, it's usually safe unless it's damaged or disturbed
- Paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion, and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
- Always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules below if carrying out asbestos cement removal work. Do not try to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor
HSE Asbestos Licensing Information provides a current list of Asbestos Licence Holders.
Safe asbestos cement removal
Asbestos bonded cement can be safely removed by remembering these basic rules:
- Prepare the work area - remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting
- Wear protective clothing- disposable overall with hood, disposable paper face mask (for use with asbestos) and rubber or disposable gloves
- Damp down - use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but don't soak the area as this will make cleaning up more difficult
- Remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape
- Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand - wipe down with disposable damp clothes. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread dust around
- Pick up polythene sheeting and remove protective clothing and dispose of both as asbestos waste
- Wash hands and face after the job is completed
Disposal of asbestos waste
Asbestos bonded cement can be disposed of free of charge by householders at Fife Council Environmental Services Lower Melville Wood Landfill Site, by Ladybank. Householders must contact the site in advance by telephone on (01337) 830507 or 831870 to pre-book your visit. The material will be placed in the designated transfer container.
If you intend to transport asbestos cement waste from your domestic property in your own vehicle, you do not need to be a registered waste carrier provided that it is your own waste.
However, you should take the following steps to ensure that asbestos does not contaminate your vehicle:
- Spray sheets of asbestos cement with water
- Double wrap or double bag the asbestos cement with heavy duty polythene
- Ensure the wrapping is secured with tape
- Make sure vehicle occupants do not have access to the asbestos waste
What to do if you find asbestos
- Do not panic if you think you have asbestos in your home - it' is usually only a problem if it's disturbed
- Do treat asbestos with respect
- Do not drill, saw or disturb materials that contain asbestos
- Do seek advice if you think you have got a problem with asbestos in your home
Advice and further information on these matters can be obtained by using the contact details provided below.
Public Health Nuisance
Tel: 08451 55 55 55 + Ext 47 00 74
By Post: Fife Council, Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes, KY7 5LT