Asbestos Services

WHAT IS ASBESTOS?

Asbestos is the main word used to describe a range of six naturally occurring silicate minerals which have a variety of desirable and useful properties. These minerals are made up of large quantities of tiny fibres.

Individually these fibres are invisible to the naked eye because they are so small. Depending on the variation of the asbestos the fibres can either be very flexible or sharp and brittle.

Caution asbestos sign
Oven gloves

At Demcom we can locate and identify any asbestos you may have in or around your property by completing an asbestos survey. We have our own asbestos licence approved by the Health and Safety Executive (Licence Number 202005976). This demonstrates that we have the skills and expertise to remove and work with any type asbestos found in your property in a safe and controlled manner.

Asbestos fibres have a large variety of incredibly useful properties. Asbestos is an excellent, electrical, sound and thermal insulator. Most types of asbestos are able to remain stable and intact in conditions up to 600°C (1112 °F). For context that’s about 100°C (212°F) more than the maximum temperature of a typical household oven.

Furthermore, asbestos is extremely strong and is comparable with steel with regards to strength. Asbestos has chemical corrosion resistant characteristics too. Essentially, asbestos is an excellent insulator, it’s incredibly strong and is fire and corrosion resistant. This makes asbestos a very useful and versatile material.

As mentioned, there are six key types of asbestos, three types are very rarely used; they are actinolite, anthophyllite and tremolite. It is very unlikely you will ever come across any of these types of asbestos. The other three types of asbestos are the most commonly used types of asbestos. Grunerite (also known as amosite) is commonly called brown asbestos, crocidolite typically called blue asbestos and finally chrysotile is known white asbestos.

WHAT IS ASBESTOS USED FOR?

Asbestos was used for a huge variety of different purposes. Its heat resistant properties made it useful for making heat and fire-resistant clothes such as oven gloves, fire rescue overalls and asbestos has also been used to make brake pads for cars.

Asbestos’ main use was within the construction industry and the diagram gives a whole host of different examples of how asbestos was used in buildings. Some examples include; guttering, cladding, insulation, tiling and textured coating.

Depending on the purpose of the material, asbestos can make up a varying percentage of the material. For textured coating asbestos will only make up between 3-5% of the material, but materials such as loose fill insulation can be made up of 100% asbestos. So, the amount of asbestos found in a material depends on the material and the function of the material.

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What are the dangers of asbestos and when
and why was asbestos banned?

Asbestos is an incredibly dangerous fibre. Asbestos causes the largest number of work-related deaths in the UK each year, this is because there are no cures for asbestos related illnesses. It is very important to note that asbestos is only a health risk once the fibres have been released into the air and then become inhaled.

Asbestos fibres are like small razor-sharp needles floating in the air. So, when asbestos fibres are inhaled, it’s like breathing in hundreds or thousands of invisible sharp needles which then get stuck into your lung tissue. Over time these asbestos fibres bury themselves into the lung tissue causing three different types of fatal diseases.

The three most common types of diseases associated with asbestos exposure are mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Around 10,000 people each year die as a result of these asbestos related diseases. These incurable diseases caused by asbestos is the reason why in 1985 the use of blue and brown asbestos was banned in the UK and in 1999 white asbestos was banned, completely prohibiting the use of all types of asbestos in the UK.

Blue and Brown asbestos was banned before white because they are the most dangerous variances of asbestos. White asbestos is not as dangerous as blue and brown, but it can still cause asbestos related illnesses.

How to determine if something contains asbestos?

Survey

It is very important to be aware that you cannot determine if something contains asbestos by simply looking at it. Nor does the colour of the material determine the type of asbestos it is. The only definitive way to find out if a material contains asbestos and to determine what type of asbestos it contains is by taking a sample of the material and testing it in a lab. Do not try to get a sample of the material yourself. Let a professional, such as Demcom, obtain the sample on your behalf.

There are two key types of asbestos survey which are used to determine if asbestos is present in a property; they are a management survey and refurbishment and demolition survey. A management survey is a non-intrusive survey which looks for any potential asbestos containing materials (ACMs). A refurbishment and demolition survey (R&D Survey) is fully intrusive to ensure all areas of a property are accessed to determine where all ACMs could be on the property. It is a legal requirement that an R&D survey is completed before any demolition or refurbishment work is started.

WHAT ARE THE TWO WAYS TO MAKE ASBESTOS SAFE?

Number 1

The first way is to hire a specialist, like Demcom, to remove the asbestos for you. Under no circumstances should you try and remove it yourself, as you will only put yourself and others around at risk. We know how to correctly and safely remove the asbestos. This may require creating an air tight enclosure around the asbestos, so we are able to remove it without any airborne fibres escaping. We have all the correct personal protective equipment to keep us and you safe. We have the appropriate tools to remove the asbestos while minimising the amount of fibres which become airborne.

Number 2

The second way to make the asbestos safe is to hire trained specialists, like Demcom, to encapsulate the asbestos. Encapsulation covers any exposed asbestos preventing any further degradation, which prevent any asbestos fibres becoming airborne. Encapsulation is generally the cheaper and quicker method of making asbestos safe, but it is not always the most appropriate method. We can recommend to you which is the most appropriate method of dealing with the asbestos for your specific situation.

What we offer

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Removal

At Demcom we can locate and identify any asbestos you may have in or around your property by completing an asbestos survey. Once identified we have the skills and expertise to remove the asbestos from your property in a safe and controlled manner.
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Surveys & Sampling

An asbestos survey is an analysis of a property which identifies the type and location of asbestos in or around a property. An asbestos survey legally has to be completed by a fully trained and qualified asbestos surveyor.
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Training

Category A - Asbestos Awareness
Category B - Non-Licenced Asbestos Removal
Category C - Licenced Asbestos Removal

How can Demcom help you?

Contact Demcom now to receive help with managing your asbestos!

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ABOUT US

Demcom is a young, innovative demolition business based in Cambridgeshire, working across the East of England. We aim to be as cost effective as possible without compromising safety, which is Demcom’s priority in all projects. Work safely, safely home.

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