Asbestos in lofts

Another real life and recent example of why home surveys (not bank valuations) are vital.

Did you know that the valuation your mortgage company insist on is not a survey?  Did you know that the valuer may not even go into the loft, or the property come to that.

In this second article on what a building surveyor can find in lofts, Chartered Surveyor Douglas Snell uncovers, literally, why Building Surveys and House or Flat Purchase Surveys can save you a lot of money, or from making a mistatke.

Asbestos is known to cause fatal illness, but it is still found in domestic buildings in several forms. The current informed view is that if certain forms of asbestos remain undisturbed and undamaged, it does not represent a significant hazard to health.  But in most cases, the removal of the asbestos will need to be undertaken by a specialist company and this may prove relatively expensive. 

There are cases where asbestos is highly dangerous.  When undertaking a Building Survey on a 1930s house in Palmers Green, North London, we accessed the roof void to assess a number of areas normally covered under this form of survey.  However, a surveyor should always identify risks to safety before proceeding and the presence of asbestos was identified. 

An old lead water pipe had been lagged with a loose fibre asbestos based insulation known as amosite

This is one of the most dangerous materials containing asbestos.  People are more at risk from breathing in asbestos fibres because disturbance of the lagging or insulation releases fibres very easily into the air.

In this instance we ceased the inspection and advised that urgent testing was undertaken.  This proved the material was indeed amosite and the entire roof void and all other areas where fibres would have reached were cleared, vacuumed and air tests were carried out by a HSE licenced asbestos removal contractor.

Our client saved many thousands of pounds by having this identified before the exchanged contracts on the purchase, but more importantly, they did not move into a highly dangerous property. 

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