Asbestos is a silica–based mineral found underground at many sites around the world. The ancient Greeks and Persians used it back in the day. But, we, in the west didn’t extensively use it until the middle of the 19th century.
It’s flexibility and resistance to fire made it the obvious choice for many types of building materials. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 1999 that the UK government banned its use because of the carcinogenic properties of the asbestos fibres. Therefore, if your house is older than the 1990s, there’s a good chance it contains some asbestos.
For an average-sized UK property, the cost of asbestos removal is around £50 per m2. Typically, an asbestos specialist will charge at least between £200 and £300 per day for the work including disposal. There are other factors which will have an impact on your quotation, we will break these down below.
Companies widely used asbestos in roof insulation, pipe lagging, ceiling tiles, walls, flooring, soil pipes, drainage and guttering. Furthermore, garage roofs were commonly made from corrugated asbestos cement sheet, whereas houses used asbestos roofing tiles.
The UK government banned the substance from 1999, however many properties still contain asbestos in one form or another. However, there’s no need to panic too much. It is safe enough to use as long as it’s not cut, broken, drilled or damaged in any way. It’s only then, that the fibres dislodge and float around the environment.
Generally, only qualified contractors wearing full protective equipment should remove asbestos from your home. So, we recommend not to do a DIY asbestos removal project.
How Much Does Asbestos Removal Cost?
You might decide that you’ll do the job yourself. If this sounds familiar, I would recommend you don’t. A DIY asbestos removal project runs the risk of releasing asbestos fibres into the air and allowing them to float around your home, thus putting yourself and your family at risk.
Let’s run through the total operation so you can see what it entails and calculate the cost to remove asbestos in your home.
If your house is older than the 1990s, you probably have some asbestos somewhere. It’s quite safe as long as you don’t disturb it. But, if you intend renovating your home, get a professional to carry out an asbestos survey.
The surveyor will assess the quantity of asbestos present. They will identify where you have asbestos, and take samples for analysis. You will eventually receive a report advising on the risk and whether to remove or encapsulate it. A typical asbestos survey will cost about £200 but might be more, and take at least between 2 and 3 hours.
Your survey might say that the removal company can safely encapsulate the asbestos in your home rather than remove it. This means, coating the surface with an adhesive preventing harmful fibres from escaping. You can then safely paint or otherwise cover the material.
Encapsulation costs at least £10 per m2.
3. Asbestos removal
If it’s unsafe to encapsulate the asbestos, then your report will recommend removal by a licensed contractor. A licenced hazardous waste carrier must remove the material inside a sealed asbestos waste skip to a registered disposal site.
The cost to remove asbestos from your home will be at least £50 per m2. Depending on the contract with the contractor, the asbestos skip may be extra or may be included in your quotation.
You can see that removal costs far more than encapsulation. But, removal is always the better option as you no longer have to worry about exposing the asbestos in the future. Removal will also increase the value of your home.
In both these methods, the price may be much higher than stated, depending on the extent and location of the asbestos as well as how easy it is to access and what extra resources the contractor needs. And of course, London prices are more expensive than elsewhere.
If the contractors encapsulate the asbestos, the material will need covering by boards or by decoration. If the company removed large areas of asbestos, they will leave gaps that need re-boarding, plastering and decorating.
Basic reboarding costs anything from £400 upwards, depending on the size and the agreed finish.
Smaller areas such as an asbestos water tank removal will typically cost less than the standard price and might be about £200.
Conversely, to remove an asbestos garage will probably set you back about £2500.
Types of asbestos
Different types of asbestos have slightly different properties so were used differently. However, they are all classed as human carcinogens and come under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
Commonly known as ‘white asbestos’, it’s mainly found in construction, especially prefabricated garages and corrugated garage roofs. It’s also common in car brake linings, gaskets and boiler seals. And, pipe and duct insulation. It has a greyish white colour and is strong and flexible.
Known as brown asbestos, this thermally insulated around hot water and steam pipes. Frequently found in insulation board and ceiling tiles.
Known as blue asbestos, this is rare in the UK. When used, it was mainly in high–temperature applications, such as steam engines and pipe insulation.
Only found in small quantities for insulation and construction materials. Colour is grey to green, brown and beige. Normally brittle, but elastic when fibrous. It occurs as a contaminant in vermiculite and talc.
Manufacturing and industrial applications usually use this type, so you won’t usually find it in your home. Can be brown, transparent, white, green or grey.
Fire retardant devices often used this type as it’s a poor heat conductor. Otherwise, not used in construction materials and other commercial applications.
If you are looking to remove artex, you can take a look at our artex removal cost guide.
Asbestos fibres are particularly damaging because they are so small. When inhaled into the lung, they irritate the lining and cause scar tissue or cancer. This then leads on to breathing problems and eventually death. Unfortunately, the effects of asbestos inhalation may not manifest for many decades.
Asbestos exposure causes two main types of illness. These are ‘benign’ or ‘malignant’. However, even though the disease can be benign, it can still be life–threatening for other reasons besides cancer.
Malignant diseases linked to asbestos
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
Malignant diseases possibly linked to asbestos.
- Pharyngeal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colon cancer
Non-malignant diseases linked to asbestos
- Hyaline pleural plaques
- Peritoneal effusion
- Pleural thickening
- Pericardial effusion
- Pleural effusion
Questions to Ask When Hiring A Professional
It’s always tempting to remove asbestos yourself, or even have a survey done. After all, a certified specialist costs so much. Whatever you do, don’t! Working with asbestos is always dangerous.
It’s also not a good idea to hire cheap contractors either. You see, asbestos specialists train to a high degree because they’re doing a dangerous job. If you don’t use a qualified and certified asbestos contractor you’re putting yours and your family’s lives at risk.
Because of this, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 state that for most asbestos removal, it’s compulsory to hire fully qualified and competent specialists, and the HSE will enforce this if necessary.
The surveyor and the removal guys must hold accreditation to the following. So, make sure you ask to see proof.
- BOHS P402 Standard (Surveying and sampling strategies for asbestos in buildings)
- HSE License to remove asbestos
- Hazardous waste Carriers Licence if transporting asbestos
- Uses a UKAS accredited laboratory to analyse the samples.
- Has insurance to cover exposure to asbestos.
Just because someone in the company has these qualifications, doesn’t mean that the guy doing the work will have them. Ensure all those working on site have appropriate training together with a fully accredited supervisor.
Remember, if you think you have asbestos in your home, you should contact your local council for advice. They will also help you with finding an appropriate contractor, and you might get financial help too.
There are many regulations involving asbestos in commercial premises, hospitals and schools. However, we won’t go into those because our focus is on asbestos in the home. The HSE publishes all the asbestos regulations publications, free of charge and you can download them to inspect at your leisure. These are guidelines and instructions to the contractor and householder and explains all the UK and EU regulations in words you can understand. The Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) set out the legal responsibilities of all parties when dealing with asbestos and how they should go about doing the work.
Surveyors and operatives must also carry out a risk assessment of all their operations and how they affect other people.
UK Grants & Financial Aid
There may be grants available to help with the costs associated with asbestos removal. You will have to contact your local council for the details specific to your area as each council may have its own rules on these.
Even if there isn’t any financial help available, many councils have their own facilities to remove asbestos and charge far less than normal commercial companies. It’s always worth checking before you pay exorbitant rates.
As a last resort, many commercial companies will remove asbestos for you. Remember to ask for quotes from 3 or 4 different companies to get the best possible value for money.
Asbestos Removal Cost FAQ
Can you legally remove asbestos yourself?
Even though the UK government banned asbestos, you can legally decide to remove it yourself. However, the HSE and UK government publish guidelines and instructions for asbestos removal and recommend that you hire a suitably accredited contractor.
Can I remove an asbestos roof myself?
You can. However, we don’t recommend it. In law, anyone can dismantle and remove their own asbestos garage or shed. But, you must do it properly using recognised safety procedures and wearing appropriate PPE. There will be serious health problems if you allow asbestos fibres to escape during the work.
How long does asbestos removal take?
That depends on how much asbestos you have in your home and how easy it is to access.
- Survey. To have an asbestos assessment, you need to allocate up to 4 hours.
- Removal. For the removal work itself, a small amount can take a few hours while a large amount might take up to a week or even longer.
- Abatement period. After removal, the contractor must maintain an asbestos abatement period of at least 48 hours before they carry out the air test.
- Air test. After they’ve removed the asbestos and the abatement period expired, an independent testing company must measure the number of fibres in the air. Before the removal company can leave the site, the air quality must have less than 0.01 fibres per cubic centimetre of air.
These durations are to ensure that technicians take appropriate safety measures at all times.
How much does asbestos testing cost?
For a basic appraisal of asbestos materials within the home, you can expect to pay at least £50. For an extensive survey, including samples, expect costs of at least £200.
how can I tell if my garage roof is asbestos?
Inspect the material first. If it’s plastic or metal then there won’t be any asbestos present. If however, it’s corrugated and coloured grey, you can expect to find asbestos cement.
Find Local Specialists
If you think you have asbestos in your home, it’s best to call a professional for a survey and then for removal of the material. You can always ask your local council for advice on who is qualified in your local area or you can use our tool on this page. To find out the average asbestos removal costs in your area, simply fill out the form at the top of this page and you will receive 3-4 quotes from qualified professionals.