Summary: How much does it cost to remove asbestos, factors to consider when removing asbestos and costs to remove asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre which was extensively used in the building industry between the 1950s and 1980s, though any building built before 2000 could contain asbestos.
Whilst it is now illegal to use asbestos in building construction or refurbishment work many thousands of tonnes were used in the past and much of it remains in place. It’s typically found in ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.
As long as the asbestos is in good condition and is not disturbed or damaged then the health risk is small, but if the fibres become airborne and people breathe them in at high levels then it can cause lung disease and even cancer. Around 4000 people die every year in the UK as a result of asbestos-related illnesses, more than die on our roads. Smoking is an additional risk factor meaning that people who smoke and are also exposed to high levels of fibres are at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer.
|Remove asbestos (Labour)||£500 – £1,500 (Per room)||2019||n/a|
Factors to Consider
Clearly given the possibly fatal consequences of exposure to asbestos, removing the substance has to be done with great care and because of the hazards involved many people will choose a properly qualified, licensed, professional to do the job.
Licensed contractors must abide by strict removal methods which aim to cut down the risk of exposure to the fibres. These include sealing off the area, wearing disposable clothes, using a sealed marked waste skip and wearing breathing apparatus.
It’s essential that these controls are in place but this can make asbestos removal expensive. The most significant factors in the cost are the amount of hazardous material that needs to be removed, how easy it is to stop the fibres being released into the air and how easy it is to get to the contaminated area.
Despite the dangers, it is possible to undertake small, low-risk asbestos removal jobs yourself though only if you are competent at DIY. You should however seek expert advice first to determine exactly what you might be dealing with and because it is illegal for certain types of asbestos to be removed by anyone other than a licensed contractor.
The kinds of asbestos removals you could undertake include asbestos cement roof sheets, panels and water goods but as a general rule, the higher the percentage of asbestos there is, the easier it will be to damage it while attempting removal. Also consider if the asbestos containing material is in poor condition as that will increase the likelihood of it breaking up, even if it is a small area. If you need to saw, drill or otherwise damage the material to get it out then do not go ahead yourself.
Although floor tiles and textured coatings, such as Artex, are low risk, they are far more dangerous to remove yourself as the process normally involves a lot of scraping. It’s always recommended to use a contractor to take them out.
The most important factor when doing the work is to protect yourself against exposure to the fibres. Wear a disposable half mask and paper overalls and dispose of them in double-bagged, thick polyphone sacks clearly marked ‘ASBESTOS’. Always wet the material to prevent the fibres becoming released, minimise the damage and never scrape or sand asbestos materials. Keep everyone well clear from the site and put down plastic ground sheets to collect dust. Pick up the dust with a damp cloth and seal it, the cloth and the ground sheets in the waste bags. Do not use an ordinary vacuum cleaner to collect the dust as it can pass through the filter and back into the air. Instead, hire an industrial vacuum cleaner that conforms to BS 5415 (Type H).
Sheets or tiles must be removed in one piece and never broken up as this will release asbestos fibres, so you need to carefully examine the condition of asbestos containing materials before you begin work to ensure there is no risk of them splitting or breaking while the removal is carried out.
Costs to consider
To hire a professional, in houses and small offices, prices can begin at around two hundred pounds to remove the lining on a shed roof and go up to several thousand pounds to take away the insulation of a small office block.
Asbestos must not just be disposed of in the bin along with your usual rubbish. So, you will need to contact your local authority for details of their hazardous waste disposal policy. Some authorities offer a collection service, while others have special collection points for small amounts of asbestos waste.