by Tom

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by Tom

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Asbestos is still an issue now in 2019.  In the early 2000’s it was predicted that the vast majority of asbestos would have been removed and disposed of “in twenty years”.  A lot has been but a vast amount remains in properties throughout the UK and the world twenty years on.  Some of you may even remember this Farmers Weekly article about how buildings would be difficult to sell and more expensive to demolish… https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/watch-out-asbestos.

Asbestos on farms, like many other places, can be found almost anywhere due to the versatility of asbestos.  Most asbestos on farms will be in the form of asbestos cement, sometimes called fibre cement.  Roof sheets, guttering, shuttering and flues are all common to be made from asbestos cement.  Other asbestos materials can include floor tiles, asbestos insulation board, rope seals, electrical fuse flash guards and many others.  It is not unusual to find a stack of asbestos sheets somewhere too.  You may also have noticed that modern non-asbestos sheets do not last anywhere near the length of time the asbestos ones did – that was the main reason for adding it.  Fire protection is often cited as the reason for adding asbestos to cement sheets, however they are completely unable to contain a fire due to the cement content which contains water and explodes in extreme heat causing the asbestos cement sheets to shatter and disperse far and wide.

The management of asbestos applies to all industries including agriculture.  In many cases it is a simple and straightforward process, it may also be a part of some accreditations such as Red Tractor.

Where to start?  Start with an assessment yourself, you may not need anything else.  If your farm buildings were built after 2001 then they should be free of asbestos.  This is not guaranteed, but asbestos used in construction after this time is unlikely.  We have seen some cases where old stocks of Artex had been used or where equipment from abroad has been imported, but generally nothing more.

If you have buildings built prior to 2001 then you need to carry out a risk assessment, as required by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (Regulation 4; Duty to Manage).  You will most likely need to have an asbestos survey carried out in order to fulfil your duty under CAR.

What is an asbestos survey?  Many if not most farmers will claim to already know where their asbestos is located and feel a survey to tell them what they already know is unnecessary just like all the other unnecessary things they have to do.  This is a reasonable point however we often find more asbestos than was originally thought, and in places that were previously considered unlikely.  Having it documented is essential.  An asbestos survey will include a visual inspection of each building and testing/analysis of each material suspected to contain asbestos as well an assessment of each material.

What will it cost?  Generally from £495+VAT upwards but we will always give an accurate and fixed quotation before starting.  At the time of writing this I am told you can’t even buy a tractor tyre for that!  Our surveyors are “farm aware” and able to work around animals and in all types of buildings.

Contact us for a chat and a free no-obligation quotation.

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