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Asbestos Cement

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What is asbestos cement?

Asbestos cement is a mixture of both cement and asbestos, with the asbestos content forming approximately 10-15% of the total product.

It was most commonly used as corrugated roofing sheets on garages and sheds and also on outbuildings on farms.

Other products where this type of cement were commonly used were flues, drainpipes and water tanks.

Asbestos cement will normally contain chrysotile (white asbestos), but there are other types that may contain crocidolite (blue) or amosite (brown).

Even though asbestos cement contain asbestos, it’s considered to be relatively low risk because it doesn’t release many fibers.

Do asbestos cement products have to be removed?

As asbestos cement is considered to be a low risk product, then it’s perfectly safe to leave in situ, providing it’s in good condition.

However, if the product becomes damaged in any way, is in poor condition or you are planning on any kind of renovation project, then yes, it will have to be removed.

A removal license is not required for this type of work involving an asbestos cement product, meaning you could potentially remove it yourself.

However, we would recommend the work be completed by a competent person who has completed non licensed asbestos training.

Different rules apply to business premises and home owners when it comes to asbestos products.

For instance, it is the owner of a business premises, or the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of those premises, that will have a legal duty to manage any asbestos, which will include monitoring the condition of it on an ongoing basis.

So if the asbestos containing material(s) condition deteriorates, under duty to manage, they will have to arrange to have it removed from the business premises.

But as a home owner, you don’t have a duty to manage in the same way a business does, although you do have to adhere to the procedure for safe disposal of asbestos products.

asbestos cement garage roof
An old asbestos cement garage roof

Can I remove it myself?

As stated above, this type of asbestos product (if in good condition) can be removed by home owners themselves as a license is not required, although we would still advise against this.

But if you do decide to remove it yourself, you must be very careful and ensure minimal release of fibers when handling the asbestos material.

Asbestos cement products such as roof sheeting and rainwater goods are one of a few products you can remove yourself without a license providing they are in good condition, are handled with care and the materials (including any debris) are contained and disposed of safely.

Other examples include removal of textured decorative coatings, asbestos insulating board/panels and any other materials where the asbestos is either coated, covered or contained within another material such as paint or plastic.

However, If asbestos cement is in poor condition, has been substantially damaged or removal activity will mean that the material will be substantially broken up, creating significant quantities of dust and debris, then it will have to be removed and the work will be classed as notifiable (non licensed).

Notifiable non licensed work with asbestos needs to be carried out with the appropriate controls in place, and those carrying out the work must have had the correct level of information, instruction and training, to protect themselves (and others in the area) from the risks to health that exposure to asbestos causes.

So in circumstances where asbestos cement products are in poor or damaged condition, you must not attempt to remove them yourself and instead hire a competent and appropriately trained person or company to carry out the work for you.

Tips for removing asbestos cement in good condition

Here are some tips for safely removing asbestos cement products yourself, providing they are in good undamaged condition:-

Ensure your personal safety

It’s extremely important that if you plan on removing any asbestos cement products yourself that you wear the correct clothing and equipment and follow safety procedures as follows:-

asbestos cement roof sheets removal
Always wear a disposable coverall and mask when removing asbestos roof sheeting

How do I actually remove the asbestos cement?

If the asbestos cement is in good condition and you do decide to remove it yourself , then it’s very important that you follow these steps:-

Where do I dispose of it?

If you are a householder and the asbestos waste is from your own home, then you can usually take small amounts to your local recycling centre if you have followed the safety procedures as outlined above.

Contact your local council for full details. You will normally have to telephone them beforehand to arrange this prior to visiting the site.

Asbestos waste must be transported in a car or van where it is secure and can’t fall out, so please don’t use a trailer.

Large quantities of asbestos sheets may be refused if you are not a business.

The other option is to ask a licensed asbestos removal firm with a waste carriers license to take the asbestos waste away for you, and take it to a site licensed for the disposal of hazardous waste.

You will have to pay a contractor for this service, but it’s usually easier (and safer) than having to transport the waste yourself.


Did you find this article interesting?  Then check out our other interesting articles below.

For all your asbestos training needs call us on 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ to book an asbestos training course.

Need an asbestos management survey or a refurbishment/demolition survey? Then contact us on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting our sister site https://www.armco.org.uk/

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Published Sep 16, 2019
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