Last Updated on 30th January 2024 by max2021
Asbestos in plasterboard building materials (cement) was commonly used between 1940 and 1990 in the construction of many residential and commercial buildings.
As such, it can still be found in many older residential and commercial buildings today. In this blog, we will look at how to tell if old plaster has asbestos.
Asbestos was added to plaster up until the late 1980s in order to make walls and ceilings both incredibly fire and heat-resistant.
So it is very likely that some older brands of cement could contain asbestos fibres.
Surprisingly, plaster only has to contain 1% asbestos in order to be considered an asbestos-containing material (ACM).
Asbestos cement was mostly used in commercial buildings and added to walls that were fire-rated such as lift shafts.
Therefore, it’s very uncommon to find homes that contain any asbestos in plaster walls and ceilings.
It can be very difficult to identify if a wall/ceiling contains asbestos just by looking at it.
However, if you know for certain that it is fire-rated and was built before 1990, then you should assume it contains asbestos and get a sample of it tested immediately.
This is particularly important if the plaster is damaged, as this is when it is most dangerous as asbestos fibres are easily released into the atmosphere.
Before you take any asbestos sample, you must first always ensure that you wear protective clothing along with gloves, goggles, and a respirator.
This will protect you from any asbestos fibres that might be released while taking the sample.
You should also seal off the area to prevent anyone else from entering.
Here are some specific instructions for taking a sample if you suspect asbestos in plasterboard walls or ceilings:-
You should never attempt to remove asbestos plaster yourself.
Only those who are appropriately trained should do so.
The HSE states that operatives do not need an asbestos removal license for this type of work, and generally, this work would not need to be notified.
However, the HSE does state that if the work is likely to be extensive and cause significant damage to the material, then notification would be required.
If in any doubt, please seek the advice of a professional company that deals with asbestos removal.
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their properties, carrying out an asbestos survey in their buildings so as not to put employees at risk.
Whether you need an asbestos management survey or a refurbishment/ demolition survey, contact us at 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
Finally, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/to book an asbestos awareness training course.
Published Jun 17, 2019