Asbestos removal

Asbestos is a mineral that was used in building materials until 1999. Undisturbed asbestos usually poses no problems. When asbestos is moved or disturbed, this can release fibres which are damaging to health.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos was used  widely to make building materials more rigid and fire resistant from the 1950s until mid 1980s. It was banned in 1999.

Asbestos-related diseases

Inhaling high quantities of fibres increases the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.  You could increase your chances of getting this type of disease if you:

  • work on or near damaged asbestos-containing materials
  • inhale levels of asbestos fibres many hundreds of times higher than environmental levels

Often disease symptoms  don't appear for 20 or 30 years after exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos in your home

You might find asbestos in some of areas of your home including:

  • eaves, soffits, gutters and rainwater fall pipes
  • garage and shed roofs
  • linings for walls, ceilings and doors
  • insulation panels in some storage heaters
  • bath panels
  • central heating flues
  • floor tiles

Identifying asbestos in your home

It can be difficult to identify asbestos in your home. You might need to employ a surveyor or skilled contractor who can take a sample or survey the premises.

If you're concerned about asbestos in your home: 

  • leave the asbestos untouched as it's safe unless damaged or disturbed
  • don't put drawing pins, screws or nails in asbestos or apply adhesive tape as this could release asbestos fibres in the air
  • don't sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
  • always seek professional advice before removing asbestos materials
  • ask a licensed contractor to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or insulation board as they can safely remove these materials
  • ask a skilled contractor to remove asbestos cement or asbestos vinyl floor tiles

Disposing of asbestos

You must not put asbestos in household waste or recycling collections. Only sites licensed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency can accept asbestos waste.

You may be able to employ a contractor who is licensed to collect asbestos with a consignment note from you. If you are a homeowner not acting for commercial gain, you can arrange asbestos disposal with a licensed hazardous waste disposal site. 

Homeowners concerned about asbestos

If you are a homeowner concerned about asbestos in your home or need advice, contact the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) Asbestos Advisory Service:

You can also contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)'s hazardous waste unit:

  • telephone 028 9056 9710

Housing Executive tenants

If you are a Housing Executive tenant concerned about asbestos in your home or need further advice,  contact the Housing Executive (NIHE).

Tenants in private rented accommodation

If you are a tenant in a private rented property concerned about asbestos in your home, contact your landlord or letting agency.

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