Asbestos Removal Procedures

Asbestos is a structurally volatile carcinogenic substance which has been proven to create long term health problems including cancer and a life threatening respiratory issue called “asbestosis” which is a variant of pneumonia and can be fatal. 

Asbestos removal procedures vary according to the composition of the asbestos, its type and location.  Asbestos can be found in many types of products and construction areas in old built type of structures which pre-date the ban on asbestos materials in construction by the United Kingdom.  Before a building is permitted to be demolished the removal of asbestos is required by law in most countries.
The hazardous material is commonly found in:

  • Vermiculite insulation
  • Roofing shingles and compounds
  • Water tank insulation
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Acoustical ceiling tiles
  • Acoustical plastic wall and ceiling treatments
  • Plastic plumbing
  • Fireproof walls and doors

Overhead Asbestos Removal Procedures

The first step in any removal of asbestos includes the installation of a negative air filtration device which will assist in filtering out dislodged particulates and keeping the air quality within government safety guidelines.  The complete floor area under the ceiling is protected with specialty plastic sheeting to collect debris. 

Water is applied in a fine mist to dampen the material and avoid agitating the asbestos preventing the dislodging of fibres into the air.  If the asbestos material is friable (crumbling) the light dousing process may take a considerable amount of time to secure the piece for removal.  Once moistened to a safe condition, the asbestos is gently cut and pulled down from the ceiling and set into a plastic back.  The slow and careful handling of the asbestos is critical to preventing contamination of the air in the work space.   The individual pieces are wrapped and sealed according to guidelines for supervised disposal at an appropriate location.

Flooring and Mastic Removal

Whenever conducting asbestos removal, procedures for safety outlined above (air filtration and appropriate protection equipment) is required according to health and safety standards.  All work surfaces in the area (including counter tops and windows) should be carefully sheeted with plastic to prevent the spread of asbestos fibres.

When removing vinyl flooring the material may be present in two locations warranting two different asbestos removal procedures.  First in the composition of the vinyl tile.  While vinyl tile is defined as non-friable asbestos fibres given the stability offered by the vinyl coating, power tools should not be used, as cutting with an electric saw or grinder will release the asbestos fibres into the area.  A manual floor scraper is the responsible method of lifting the tiles with the consideration in mind.  Once the tiles are removed they are carefully wrapped in plastic for disposal.

Included in the asbestos removal procedures is the removal of the mastic (or adhesive) which has accumulated fibre broken down and released during the regular use of the flooring.  The mastic is typically softened using an adhesive remover and then scraped using a manual floor scraping tool to remove the residue.  The mastic which is removed must also be wrapped carefully and disposed of according to the law.