As the director at Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design Studio responsible for health & safety policy, risk assessment and safe working, it is my responsibility to concern myself with, and address, various concerns that impact homeowners undertaking renovation projects. It’s no accident that our core principle is ‘to make the refurbishment process as simple, efficient, SAFE and stress-free as possible’. One of the issues which is of paramount importance but often relegated to the background by many fitted kitchen contractors is the conducting of an asbestos survey, especially for homes built in the United Kingdom before the year 2000. In this article ‘Asbestos Surveys in Kitchen Renovations: A Comprehensive Guide’ I hope to explain why an asbestos survey is essential, and explain how we manage this critical issue in your renovation project
The Silent Risks of Asbestos
Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral, was extensively employed in construction until the late 20th century due to its excellent insulation and fireproofing properties. However, if these asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, the fibres may become airborne. Inhalation of these fibres has been unequivocally linked to severe health conditions such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. They’re also non-discriminatory, affecting anyone who may inhale them, including you and your family as well as anyone else present if they’re unknowingly disturbed.
Legal Obligations and Liabilities
From a legal standpoint, while residential homeowners are not explicitly required to do so, many contractors, owing to ethical and legal obligations, will, as they should, decline to commence renovation work on properties that haven’t undergone an asbestos survey. The reason is straightforward: the health risks to our contractors and the subsequent legal liability are too great to ignore. If asbestos is accidentally disturbed, the entire renovation process would come to an abrupt halt, incurring additional, unplanned expenses for its safe removal.
How we Manage Asbestos
Our processes for managing asbestos are integrated into the initial stages of our process. When you invite our designers to survey the space you intend to renovate, one of their first tasks is to ascertain the age of the building. Per our internal guidelines, should the home be constructed prior to the year 2000, our designers are obligated to stress the necessity for an asbestos survey. The aim is to ensure you are not only cognisant of the potential risks but also equipped to financially plan for both the survey and any subsequent remedial actions that may be required. Currently, the cost for an asbestos survey is approximately £200. However, it is crucial to also budget for the possible financial implications of asbestos removal or containment, should it be detected.
What to Expect During an Asbestos Survey
Upon receiving your approval to proceed with the renovation project, we engage the services of a licensed asbestos removal company. These certified and licensed professionals will perform a meticulous survey of your home to identify the presence or absence of asbestos. The survey will also offer detailed insights into the ramifications of these findings on your overall budget and project timeline. A survey typically involves a thorough inspection involving the collection of samples from various parts of your home, including loft insulation, Artex ceilings, floor tiles, and pipe insulation. These samples are subsequently submitted to a certified laboratory for analysis. Should asbestos be detected, a comprehensive plan outlining the necessary management or removal procedures is then provided.
Conclusion: Necessity vs. Obligation
While it is not a statutory obligation for homeowners to have an asbestos survey performed, the compelling arguments from a health, legal, and financial perspective make it an indispensable part of any serious renovation endeavour. Consider this not just a procedural requirement but a critical investment in the long-term health and financial well-being of both your family and property.
Our thorough approach ensures that you are armed with all necessary information and safeguards, thereby eliminating unpleasant surprises once the project starts. We know from experience this aids a smoother renovation process. It also significantly mitigates health risks to you and any other occupants, as well as the contractors and our employees working on your property. It is this attention to detail, we believe, that sets us apart from many of our competitors. Conducting an asbestos survey through a licensed entity not only fulfils a legal and ethical obligation but also serves as a prudent financial and health precaution for all parties involved
So, please, before you make any structural changes, remember this guide to asbestos surveys in kitchen renovations and add a survey to your ‘to do’ checklist. It is a due diligence step that assures a secure and safe renovation process for everyone involved.
I hope this guide to asbestos surveys in kitchen renovations has helped. At Nicholas Hythe, Cambridgeshire’s only Trading Standards approved kitchen designers and installers, we’re well used to helping clients make the decision that’s right for them while still making the refurbishment process as simple, efficient, safe and stress-free as possible. So, when you’re ready, why not book an appointment with us, free and with no-obligation?