Does the law apply to me at home?
This question often causes confusion and frustration. You live in a home, maybe you rent privately or through a housing association, or you own your own home. So do the asbestos regulations apply to you or your house.
The basic answer is no. This surprises many people. You go to work and you are protected, you go to your rented home and you are not. Unfortunately this is the current situation.
If you are in a housing association property the situation is generally quite good , with thousands of surveys being completed each year to identify ACMs and usually if they are poor condition ACMs (Asbestos containing materials) they would either be removed or in some cases actions taken to make them safe.
Private rentals don’t tend to have the same standards, so it may be there are ACMs present which haven’t been identified or managed.
If you plan on doing DIY work in your rental property you should really be speaking to either your landlord or housing association to see if any asbestos information is available. Hopefully this can be provided and in some cases housing associations will commission a survey for you if not.
If you are buying or already own a property there is no requirement for an asbestos survey to be conducted, though some mortgage providers will insist on one for properties constructed before 1986 as higher risk materials may have been used. Some will insist on any properties constructed before 2000 when the final Asbestos prohibitions were enacted.
If you live in an older property, eg pre-1986 it’s a very good idea to have an Asbestos survey conducted, especially if you intend on completing DIY tasks. Even properties constructed before 2000 can contain asbestos material. Simple tasks like drilling holes in ceilings, hanging hooks on walls could disturb ACMs and expose you and your family to asbestos fibres.
Using trades people
There is a situation where the asbestos regulations apply within your home, either rented or owned and this is where trades people or employees of your landlord or housing association are used.
A couple of examples; your housing association is fitting a new kitchen. Before starting work an Asbestos survey should be conducted and ACMs may have to be removed.
Your energy provider is changing the electricity or gas meter. They should have the area around the meter checked for the presence of asbestos and if necessary removed as part of the upgrade.
You as a home owner are employing a local builder to construct an extension on the back of your house. An asbestos survey should be commissioned as part of and by whoever has control over the works eg the builder or Architect.
In addition projects within your home are covered by CDM ( Construction design and management regulations) The trades-person, builder or architect has Duties under CDM such as producing a Health and Safety file, and for longer jobs such as a loft conversion or extension this would also involve the job being notified to the HSE and providing welfare facilities such as toilets.