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    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 16th Dec 17, 6:41 PM
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    ShadyCharacter
    Asbestos & Lead Water Supply Pipes
    • #1
    • 16th Dec 17, 6:41 PM
    Asbestos & Lead Water Supply Pipes 16th Dec 17 at 6:41 PM
    Hello all,

    Apologies in advance if this topic is already dealt with somewhere. I'm new to this forum so haven't figured everything out fully just yet. I hope you can bear with me!

    I'm looking to buy a house, but I have no idea how to find out about these two things: whether any of the materials used in the build of the house contains asbestos, and whether the water supply pipes are lead or not.

    If the only option to find out about the asbestos is to get someone in to test everything then I suppose I'll have to do that. But I've just come here to ask everyone for their advice (& also because I still don't know how to find out about the lead pipes - unless that's something you talk to the local Council about).

    I wanted to post the links to the 3 properties I'm interested in here, but since I'm a new poster on this forum it won't let me. So maybe if you have any questions about them which might help in knowing about the asbestos & lead pipes then let me know.

    I asked the owner of one of the houses about it & they don't know about either the asbestos or the lead pipes. I doubt the owners of the others know either, but in any case I haven't ask them yet.

    What do you guys think? Is there anyone who could point me in the right direction?
Page 2
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 24th Dec 17, 5:16 PM
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    ShadyCharacter
    Thanks EachPenny & Tomg84. I hope you guys have an enjoyable Christmas

    The property I'm buying is very cheap at £40,000, in south Wales. At the moment I only have around £2k spare for some of the more urgent things to me, such as installing a boiler, replacing the bathtub, & sorting out the rising damp issue (this may only be enough if I'm eligible for a boiler grant, which I'm hoping I am). But in about a year I think I could have £10k to put towards carrying out any more improvements that need doing.

    I'm having a bit of trouble gauging from the surveyor exactly how urgent some of the other repairs he suggested are. I'm thinking they're not very urgent, since the current seller didn't even seem to be aware that any of these problems existed, so it can't have been having much (if any) effect on the living quality of the house.

    Does treating rising damp require going deep into a wall? I had a quick search online at how rising damp is treated & it seems you need to replace the damp proof course then perhaps strip away damaged plasterboard & replace that. I wonder if that would disturb any asbestos (if it's there). Do you guys know anything about treating rising damp? In any case, I've contacted a contractor about this, so I'll see what they say too. I've also heard of these ventilation bricks you can install into the wall that help it breathe & thus gets rid of the rising damp issue - e.g. SmartDry (I can't post the link, but it should turn up in an online search). What do you guys think about this method too?

    So EachPenny, are you saying that the removal of asbestos from a 2-bed house could cost somewhere around £10k? I'm just trying to get a very vague idea of how much all this stuff could potentially cost to do. Also, do you know if it's possible to remove the asbestos area by area? E.g. if the contractor installing my boiler needs it to be removed, can I get somebody to remove it from just that area, or do you have to get it removed from e.g. the entire wall, or the entire house, if you see what I mean? I've contacted another contractor or two that specialises in asbestos to ask what they think too, so I'll see what they say in addition...

    Also, you guys said that generally the only way to be sure of an asbestos free property is to buy a new/recently built property. Couldn't you also get an asbestos surveyor in to test the house too?

    As always, thanks again. Your advice is really valuable & is helping me figure out whether this is the house for me!..

    Merry Christmas!
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 24th Dec 17, 5:46 PM
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    EachPenny
    So EachPenny, are you saying that the removal of asbestos from a 2-bed house could cost somewhere around £10k? I'm just trying to get a very vague idea of how much all this stuff could potentially cost to do. Also, do you know if it's possible to remove the asbestos area by area? E.g. if the contractor installing my boiler needs it to be removed, can I get somebody to remove it from just that area, or do you have to get it removed from e.g. the entire wall, or the entire house, if you see what I mean? I've contacted another contractor or two that specialises in asbestos to ask what they think too, so I'll see what they say in addition...
    Originally posted by ShadyCharacter
    No, I just used a figure of £10k as a 'just suppose' illustration of a cost compared to the value of the house you buy. The actual costs will vary based on where you are, the kind of asbestos, ease of access, and the amount you needed removed.

    In theory you might only need to remove the amount needed to permit whatever other work needed to be done and to leave the remainder in a 'safe' condition. But in practical terms, a significant part of the job (and therefore cost) is in getting to the site, setting up any protective enclosures required, decontamination and disposal. So if the contractor needed to put in a 'tent' to work, then it would probably make sense to make it bigger and remove all the material within that area.

    But unless you know you have asbestos that cannot be left in-situ for the time being then the 'cost' at the moment is zero.

    Also, you guys said that generally the only way to be sure of an asbestos free property is to buy a new/recently built property. Couldn't you also get an asbestos surveyor in to test the house too?
    Originally posted by ShadyCharacter
    Yes, but they can only test what they can see and/or access. I know I have an asbestos panel in my house, but a surveyor would only find out if they began removing several layers of other materials from over the top of it. The key point is it is 'safe' so long as it isn't disturbed. What you need to be aware of is a risk (which you are) and to bear that in mind when carrying out other work or having people doing work for you.

    So for example, if you are planning on having the boiler replaced you need to consider things like whether the boiler has an asbestos flue, is it mounted on an asbestos backing, is any of the pipework insulated with asbestos, do any new pipe runs need to go through a wall lined with asbestos? A competent tradesperson should know about this and act accordingly. As a homeowner you are at an advantage if you have an awareness and can stop the tradesperson if you think what they are doing is unsafe. But beyond that there is no need to be excessively worried.

    Thanks EachPenny & Tomg84. I hope you guys have an enjoyable Christmas
    Originally posted by ShadyCharacter
    You too.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 24th Dec 17, 6:10 PM
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    ShadyCharacter
    Thanks EachPenny, that's some good advice. Gonna need to mull this all over But it seems that worst-case scenario I could save up to do work that I feel needs to be done.

    Do you happen to know anything about treating rising damp? Like whether the type of work involved could disturb asbestos in the walls (if present)?
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 24th Dec 17, 8:18 PM
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    • 7,915 Thanks
    EachPenny
    Do you happen to know anything about treating rising damp? Like whether the type of work involved could disturb asbestos in the walls (if present)?
    Originally posted by ShadyCharacter
    The main thing to know about rising damp is there are many experts who will sell you their fix, but most of them are - no offence - rather ShadyCharacters

    My advice if there is a problem would be to make sure all gutters and drains are clear, working and not leaking. Check for any roof damage, any items or soil leaning or piled up against the walls. Don't dry clothes inside the house other than in a tumble dryer, use extractor fans when showering and cooking. If after 6 months there is still a damp problem then get someone in to find and check the damp course. Always take any advice you are given with bucket full of salt.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • societys child
    • By societys child 24th Dec 17, 8:40 PM
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    societys child
    Like whether the type of work involved could disturb asbestos in the walls (if present)?
    What asbestos are you hoping to find in the walls?

    • Dave215
    • By Dave215 27th Dec 17, 8:35 AM
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    Dave215
    I've been an asbestos surveyor for over 10 years. In my experience most pre 1980s houses contain some sort of asbestos. The majority of this is old floor tiles (often below newer tiles in kitchen/ bathrooms ), old sink pads, artex, cement drains/ gutters, external soffit boards and cement roofs to outhouses. Ex council houses tend to have more than other properties.
    There were literally hundreds of uses and it's possible there could be asbestos in all sorts of things but in domestic properties these are by far the most common.
    As others have mentioned asbestos is not dangerous unless disturbed and so there's no reason you can't leave it where it is. Building surveyors often note old boards or insulation and say they may contain asbestos but as they're unlikely to be specialist asbestos surveyors they are more often than not wrong and are likely to miss other asbestos containing materials (I've lost count of times I've been to a property to sample a material a building surveyor has flagged only to find its something that definitely doesn't contain asbestos).
    You could search for a local asbestos surveying company (check they're UKAS accredited) and get a survey. They'll probably charge about £200 but if you shop around you might find someone will do one for £100 if they have other work in the area. Unless there's something to be concerned about though it's probably not worth it and unless you have a demolition survey where all walls have holes smashed in them (something the current owner clearly won't want) you can't guarantee to find all asbestos anyway.
    As for asbestos stopping you getting work done that's quite unlikely. Although If there's artex to all the walls and ceilings it might be difficult to find somewhere to place new boilers or put cables etc and it can cost quite a lot to safely remove it. Old cement roofs can also be expensive to remove as they're heavy and disposal of asbestos at waste sites costs by weight. The most dangerous asbestos and most problematic is boards, insulation and sprayed coating (these are unusual in domestic properties but by no means impossible ).
    I wouldn't over worry about asbestos too much, most asbestos in domestic properties contain fairly low risk materials (that I've mentioned above ) and there's lots of other things you could discover about a house you're buying that would be more problematic.
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 30th Dec 17, 4:09 PM
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    ShadyCharacter
    Thanks EachPenny. Thanks a lot too Dave215. That was a lot of really helpful info! I'm glad you took the time to reply to my thread, it's valuable coming from an actual asbestos surveyor. The seller seems to be sure there's no asbestos in the property but I won't bank on it. Anyway, the general consensus I've gotten on this thread is that asbestos isn't anything major to worry about if it's going to be undisturbed. My only concern was regarding costs to remove it in places where I wanted to do improvement works to the house. I'll just have to cross my fingers & toes there isn't any in areas where I want to make improvements. Thanks for the list of most common places asbestos-containing materials may be found in residential houses too.
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 7th Jan 18, 7:16 PM
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    ShadyCharacter
    Hey Dave215. Hope you had a happy new year! I just wanted to ask, is it possible for asbestos to be in the walls of a residential property? The property in question is in Tredegar in South Wales & was apparently built around the 1900s. What do you think?
    Thanks,
    SC
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