Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals. The types of asbestos include chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Asbestos types are categorized into two families: serpentine and amphibole, which indicate their fibre shape.

These differing types of asbestos can be found in many common materials used in the building trade and most should only be worked on by a licensed contractor, like DMD Environmental.

Asbestos is considered a highly dangerous substance when fibres are made airborne and breathed in. If mishandled, it can lead to asbestos exposure. Individuals exposed to asbestos may develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This is why the utmost care is taken by our specialist team to remove asbestos safely and efficiently.

Asbestos can be found in many of the common materials used in the building trade and many of these materials should only be worked on by a licensed contractor:

  • Loose asbestos in ceilings or floor cavities
  • Lagging
  • Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls, and beams/columns
  • Asbestos insulating board
  • Floor tiles, textiles, and composites
  • Textured coatings
  • Asbestos cement products
  • Roofing felt
  • Rope seals and gaskets

Asbestos can be challenging to identify, particularly when it is incorporated with other materials. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) image library is a useful source that highlights several common asbestoses containing materials which you can familiarise yourself with.

Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. The areas which are most typical for asbestos to be found within a property include:

  • Garage/shed walls and roofs
  • Gutters and rainwater pipes
  • Wall and ceiling linings
  • Floor tiles
  • Insulation materials within lofts, on heating pipes, boilers
  • Central heating flues
  • Fire blankets
  • Bath panels
  • Asbestos cement products
  • PVC flooring and vinyl floor tiles
  • Insulating board

Reminder: asbestos is only a health risk if the fibres become airborne, so any asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition do not represent a significant risk until they become damaged.

To find out more about where you can find asbestos in your property visit this useful and illustrative HSE resource.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled, they can cause serious diseases which take a long time to develop. However, when diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything, which is why it is critical to protect yourself now and use a professional, licensed contractor.

  • Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on the road
  • Around 20 tradesmen die each week because of past exposure
  • However, asbestos is not just a problem of the past. It can be present today in any building built or refurbished before the year 2000.


Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases; mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening. More details on these can be found on the HSE website.

A professional asbestos survey details and identifies where asbestos is present, as well as the type of asbestos to help manage and control the risks of asbestos-containing materials within any property, residential or commercial. The process will typically involve taking a sample for analysis and this should only be actioned by a competent asbestos surveyor.

Duty holders need to check that any contractors, like DMD Environmental who are likely to disturb asbestos are trained and competent for that work. Licensed contractors must be used for most work with asbestos insulation, AIB, and asbestos coatings.

Those responsible for managing asbestos on the premises have a key role in briefing contractors. They should ensure that contractors are provided with all recorded information on the location and condition of ACMs. 

Many schools, built before 2000, will contain some form of asbestos. Asbestos-containing materials include:

  • Asbestos lagging used as thermal insulation on pipes and boilers
  • Sprayed asbestos used for thermal insulation, fire protection, partitioning, and ducts
  • Asbestos insulating board (AIB) used for fire protection, thermal insulation, partitioning, and ducts
  • Some ceiling tiles
  • Floor tiles
  • Cement roof and guttering
  • Textured coatings

Anyone who has responsibility for the maintenance and/or repair of non-domestic premises, including schools, is a 'duty holder' as defined in Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. For most schools, the duty holder will be the employer.

Who the employer is varies with the type of school. For community schools, community special schools, voluntary-controlled schools, maintained nursery schools, and pupil referral units, the employer is the local authority. For academies, free schools, voluntary-aided, and foundation schools, it will be the school governors. For independent schools, it may be the proprietor, governors, or trustees.

In situations where budgets for building management are delegated to schools by the local authority, the duty to manage asbestos will be shared between schools and the local authority. The authority's written scheme for the financing of maintained schools will set out the categories of work that will either be financed from the delegated school budget share (revenue repairs and maintenance) or remain the responsibility of the local authority (capital expenditure). Both parties will therefore have 'duty holder' responsibilities for the repair and maintenance of the premises.

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require all construction sites to have:

  • A first aid box with enough equipment to cope with the number of works on site
  • An appointed person to take charge of first aid arrangements
  • Information telling workers the name of the appointed person or first aider and where to find them.

The HSE says if you have fewer than 5 site workers, you need at least one appointed person. If you have between 5 and 10 site workers, you need at least one first-aider trained in EFAW or FAW, depending on the type of injuries that may occur.

More than 50 site workers require at least one first-aider trained in FAW for every 50 people employed (or part of 50).

A first aider is someone who has undertaken training and has a qualification that HSE approves. This means that they must hold a valid certificate of competence in either First Aid at Work (FAW), or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)