Specialists in the testing and removal of asbestos

Buying or Renovating a House with Asbestos


Buying and selling a house can be a stressful experience at the best of times. Renovating a house you have bought can be similarly stressful. Add in the presence, or suspected presence of asbestos and the whole process definitely becomes stressful – unless you call in the asbestos experts in Bristol, Swindon, Bath and surrounding areas – A4 Asbestos.

Here is a selection of our work from the last month:

Buying a House with Asbestos Present

Most people who buy houses organise a home buyers report prior to exchange of contracts. Increasingly we are being contacted by purchasers who have obtained such a report in which the surveyor has flagged the possible presence of asbestos.In the case of the house in Bath, the prospective purchaser instructed A4 Asbestos to inspect the property and take samples of suspect materials for laboratory analysis to determine whether asbestos was present in the textured coating ‘artex’ ceilings throughout the property and in the ground floor floor tiles. We took 11 samples of which 8 tested positive for the presence of asbestos. At this point many purchasers would withdraw from the purchase, however in this instance the purchaser asked us to quote to remove 7 ceilings and 3 floor coverings, which together with new plasterboard ceilings amounted to several thousand pounds. Armed with this information the purchaser successfully renegotiated the purchase price and today we started on site,  removing the asbestos containing materials.

The benefit to the purchaser, he has identified and removed the asbestos containing materials and he can complete a refurbishment of the property to his taste, of which part of the cost was effectively paid by the vendor. He has peace of mind during the renovation work and going forward.

While there is no statutory requirement to manage or remove asbestos containing materials from domestic properties we find that most property owners prefer having the peace of mind of knowing that their cherished property is asbestos free, particularly if they have children. Further it is quite possible that the law could change in future years introducing a requirement to remove asbestos from domestic houses, hence its better to do it at the outset rather than in the future when the property that you are trying to resell has an asbestos problem.

Having suspected that asbestos was present, the “seller” of the property could have had a survey completed and perhaps sold the property for more than they received.

If you are buying or selling a house that you believe may have asbestos, contact A4 Asbestos so you know the facts before the purchase.

Renovating a House with Asbestos Present

A4 Asbestos won the job to remove an internal lining of a wall, containing asbestos, in an old cottage near Swindon in Oxfordshire. The cottage is early Victorian, or possible older, and it was built with single brick walls and no insulation. During the mid 20th century it was commonplace to dry line walls to restrict damp penetration and to improve thermal insulation and this is exactly what was done, in this case, using asbestos cement sheets.

Wind forward to the current day and the new owners want to renovate the cottage and called in a builder who was concerned about the wall lining. They arranged for a sample to be taken and analysed in a laboratory, which showed that indeed, the lining does contain asbestos.

That’s when A4 Asbestos was called in to safely remove the hazardous material before renovations could continue.

A4 Asbestos are receiving many calls from builders, property developers, electricians, plumbers, plasterers etc when they spot suspect materials. It is comforting to note that the message is getting through, and that increasingly tradesmen are aware that if they find a suspect material then they should stop and clarify the position before continuing. A4 Asbestos can take a sample and arrange  laboratory analysis for asbestos at short notice as well as remove the offending material if it is shown to contain asbestos.

For more information on asbestos sampling and testing in Bath or throughout Wiltshire, Bristol and surrounding areas please call A4 Asbestos on  0117 259 1425.


Relevant News:

Man Renovating a House Ordered To Pay Over £2000

Date: 7 March 2016

A man from County Durham has been fined for potentially exposing members of the public to asbestos fibres during the refurbishment of a residential property on South Parade, Croft on Tees, County Durham.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard how Peter Wade of Staindrop, was converting an integrated garage into a bedroom at the property. While he was visiting the property for a quote, the home owners mentioned the possibility of asbestos in the garage.

While working in the loft space of the garage, the garage ceiling collapsed and Peter Wade proceeded to pull the remainder of the ceiling down, break it up and place in waste bags. It was not until he removed the material that he discovered it contained asbestos.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive ( HSE) into the incident which occurred on 14 March 2015, found that Peter Wade failed to ensure an asbestos survey was carried out prior to any work taking place.

Peter Nigel Wade (trading as P.N. Wade Building and Civil Engineering contractor), of Winston Road, Staindrop, County Durham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, and was fined £267 and ordered to pay costs of £1,765.


Date: 10 March 2016

A gas engineer removed potentially dangerous asbestos material during a gas boiler replacement putting himself and others at risk from exposure to asbestos fibres.

Brian Hockin, aged 58, was removing an old warm air heating system at a residential property on Williams Close, Wrafton when he disturbed a quantity of asbestos insulation board that surrounded the warm air boiler.

The tenants of the property raised their concerns with Brian Hockin that he had disturbed asbestos but he continued to remove the material bagging it and removing it from the property and storing it at his yard.

The tenants were so concerned that they contacted Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted Brian Hockin at Barnstaple Magistrates’ court.

During the hearing the court heard that Brian Hockin used no safety measures to prevent the spread of asbestos and that he used no protective clothing or protective breathing apparatus when he was removing the asbestos.

Brian Hockin of Bickington, near Barnstaple, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £450 and ordered to pay £921.40 in costs.

HSE Inspector Simon Jones, speaking after the trial, said: “Brian Hockin’s negligence could result in serious health effects to both him and anyone else who may have come into contact with the asbestos material that he disturbed.

“Given Mr Hockin’s vast experience as a gas engineer he should have realised that there is a very good chance that a 30 year old gas boiler could be insulated with asbestos insulation board but he made no checks before working around the material.

He then compounded matters by ignoring concerns raised the tenants that the material that he had disturbed was asbestos and carried on removing the material.

“Tradesmen should always be aware that asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000.

“Tradesmen should make enquiries as the presence of asbestos before starting work and if they suspect that they have come across asbestos during work they should stop work immediately and confirm what the material is and arrange for it to be dealt with by properly trained asbestos removers in a safe manner’

It is always better to safe than sorry, especially as the testing, sampling and removal of asbestos is cheaper than you may think. Call A4 Asbestos on 0117 259 1425 and get a free no obligation quote.


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