Birstalls Ltd offer a full range of asbestos related services from simple advice right the way through to full removal under controlled conditions. Please click on one of the hyperlinks below for more information on asbestos, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (CAR 2006) and the services that we provide.

Asbestos removal works under fully controlled conditions are subject to the mandatory 14 day notification period to the Health & Safety Executive, Items that do not require fully enclosed conditions generally are exempt of the 14 day notification period.
Birstalls Ltd are a fully licensed & insured company; we are members of ACAD/TICA who are one of the H/S/E?s recognised Governing bodies
All staff are fully trained and experienced in their own fields, from our team of Managers, estimators, Supervisors to Operatives

The Practical Alternative to Removal

There are instances when encapsulation of asbestos containing materials is an adequate and viable alternative solution to removal.
First and foremost, the asbestos must be in a fairly good state of repair. This is easily identified in the survey report. During the survey, the surveyor will use his judgement and experience and apply his recommendations to what, if anything, must be effected, to make the identified element safe.
Encapsulation can be a highly cost effective and enduring solution, normally effective for several years, but it does not eradicate the problem, merely postpones the inevitable ? namely that ultimately, removal will be necessary.
Ostensibly interim repair, encapsulation is nevertheless still subject to the mandatory 14-day notification period to the Health & Safety Executive and is still deemed ?MAJOR? works.
All Birstalls removal staff are fully trained and have certificates applicable to their particular fields of expertise.

Asbestos Removal
Removal of identified elements noted during an asbestos survey will be necessary if:

  • The materials are in a friable state of repair
  • There is a significant risk of airborne fibre release
  • Major refurbishment is planned in or around the area
  • Where asbestos has been identified
  • The building is to be demolished

The most common form of removal is FULLY CONTROLLED WITHIN A POLYTHENE ENCLOSURE; this form of removal is necessary due to the anticipated fibre levels expected during the removal procedure.
A purpose built enclosure will be erected around the asbestos elements, this entails a timber frame being covered with 1000 gauge virgin polythene, and all joints will be sealed with PCL tape to make the area within airtight.
A negative pressure unit will then be attached (a negative pressure unit is a machine that extracts air from within the area, exhausts the air through a high efficiency particle filter to a filtered level of 99.99% with such force that the area within the polythene is placed under negative pressure, thus any tears or breaches of the polythene enclosure will result in air being forced into the area with no chance of fibres escaping out)
A 3 stage personnel airlock is applied to the enclosure as the only means of access to and from the area (a 3 stage airlock is 3 separate compartments where personnel access and depart the area of work, all compartments have self sealing doors/flaps which will seal the area of work in the event of power failure to the negative pressure unit)
All work within the enclosure can now be carried out without risk to non-asbestos personnel outside of the area.

Fully controlled conditions will generally apply to work on these elements amongst others:

  • Asbestos insulation to pipes or vessels
  • Textured coatings including Artex
  • Asbestos insulation board
  • Sprayed coatings

There are instances when asbestos removal can be carried out without building enclosures; the forms of asbestos that this applies to are amongst others:

  • Thermo-plastic flooring material
  • W/C cistern tanks
  • Cement based products like corrugated roof sheets
  • Gaskets to pipe work
  • Flash pads to fuse boxes
  • Acoustic pads to sinks

Asbestos survey
Asbestos removal

What can we
do for you?

Asbestos survey
Asbestos removal

What can we
do for you?


Birstalls are qualified and insured to carry out all 3 types of asbestos survey (as laid down in MDHS100 Surveying Sampling & Assessment of Asbestos Containing Materials) notably:
Type 1 (Location & Assessment Survey)

A presumptive survey where everything is ?presumed? or ?strongly presumed? to contain asbestos. No samples are taken. A risk scoring system for parameters including: product type; location; extent (quantity); presumed asbestos type; accessibility; damage and surface treatment is undertaken to allow subsequent management or potential removal. Type 1 Surveys are a less accurate form of surveying and are not definitive. Because no sampling occurs there is a very real possibility that materials that do not contain asbestos are managed as if they do, and there are many 'grey' areas. Over time, this would make management of materials very expensive, as prior to any work within the fabric of the building, the materials would need to be sampled by a UKAS Accredited Laboratory.
Type 2 (Standard Sampling, Identification & Assessment Survey)

A non-destructive survey, as per Type 1 (presumptive) but samples are taken to prove or refute the presence of asbestos through analysis. This is currently the most recognisable survey within the industry and can provide the basis for the asbestos management plan. It is very definite and accurate in relation to the 'obvious' ACM's.
Type 3 (Full Access Sampling & Identification Pre-Demolition/Major Refurbishment Survey)

Termed a Destructive Survey, it is normally required before demolition or major refurbishment and constitutes a thorough survey of all materials within the building and accesses all areas deep into the fabric of the structure. Using invasive techniques, this uncovers not only the obvious ACM's, but also the majority of the hidden ACM's as well.
Although Type 3 (pre-demolition/major refurbishment surveys) will always be required, the majority of surveys carried out are Type 2.
Type 2 surveys are necessary in order to prove or refute the presence of asbestos in a premise. The resultant formal documented record of Type 2 surveys is commonly known as the 'Asbestos Register and Management Plan'.
The new legislation introduces a 'Duty to Manage? asbestos within premises. It is NOT a duty to remove. Neither is it a duty to survey, but suffice to say, surveying is the universally recognised method of identifying any asbestos containing materials (ACM?s) and to manage asbestos you initially need to identify it.
All Birstalls asbestos surveyors possess, as a minimum, the BOHS P402 qualification for surveying and sampling of asbestos in buildings and at least 2 years experience in the industry. Other qualifications held include the BOHS P405 management of asbestos, Construction Site Safety Awareness, Planning Supervisor, First Aid (St. Johns Ambulance) as well as numerous health and safety and construction site proficiency certificates.
All surveyors undergo continuous in-house training and compulsory refresher courses combined with tailored external training and examinations to ensure they can offer clients complete peace of mind by carrying out any works to the highest standards as well as permitting them to carry out all three types of survey (Types 1, 2 & 3) as specified in the MDHS 100.
Following Birstalls documented Method Statement for Surveying and Sampling of Asbestos, the surveyors carry out all site works and follow strict generic site risk assessments (which are available upon request at tender stage) as well as carrying out their own individual on site risk assessments when faced with any potential risks, ensuring that the health and safety of anyone on site whilst the survey is undertaken, remains uncompromised.
Every Birstalls surveyor is fully conversant in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and will be able to answer most questions you may have whilst on site.

What is an Asbestos Register?

Having Asbestos surveyors survey a building for asbestos contamination is important, but the real take home value is the quality of the report; the ?Asbestos Register? that is issued to you following undertaking of the survey.

The Asbestos Register needs to be able to advise the Dutyholder and any people intending to work on the fabric of the site, where asbestos containing materials may be expected to be found. It is also beneficial if it additionally refers to materials which may, at first glance, look like asbestos containing materials, but which, after laboratory analysis, are confirmed to have no asbestos detected. Prior knowledge of this is invaluable as it can prevent someone stopping work because of concern about a suspected asbestos contamination which isn't actually there, which may in turn, adversely disrupt the works programme, potentially resulting in undesirable delays and unwelcome additional cost.

Management Plans

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (CAW 2006), give specific guidance on who the duty holder is for buildings and how asbestos should be managed.
Regulation 4 "Duty to Manage Asbestos in Non-domestic properties" is the regulation that has focussed the mind of Building Managers and it is Birstalls job to assist clients with compliance.
Asbestos management is primarily focused on the smooth passage of information between various parties. The priority behind legislation changes is to prevent lack of information filtering through the site and the potential accidental contamination of maintenance workers and alike.

Asbestos management can be achieved through a variety of simple easy to follow steps.


Amendments to the control of asbestos regulations, effective from November 2006, continue the specific legal duty to manage asbestos in all premises, whether commercial, retail or residential
In short, meaning if you own, occupy or manage premises where people may be employed, you have a legal duty to either identify, assess and manage that material, or co-operate unconditionally with the person who has that duty.

In our experience, some companies are reluctant to adopt the regulations because they believe that if they discover asbestos, removing it will incur huge expense.
Those companies are regrettably mis-informed. The new regulations introduce a duty to manage not a duty to remove.Removal is only necessary if the asbestos is damaged beyond management.

What is asbestos?

The word ASBESTOS is Greek. The 'a' stands for 'not' and 'sbestos' stands for 'extinguishable' . The first recorder use of the word asbestos was by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century AD; although the substance itself was known as early as the 2nd century BC.
The Romans made cremation cloths and wicks from it, and centuries later, Marco Polo noted its usefulness as cloth.
Naturally forming, Asbestos is the fibrous form of several minerals and hydrous silicates of magnesium and is mostly found underground.
It is obtainable by various underground mining methods, the most common of which being open-pit mining. Asbestos was, and in some parts of the world, still is, commercially mined for its extremely useful physical properties notably:

  • *Resistant to Chemicals
  • *Heat Resistant
  • *Low Thermal Conductivity
  • *Flexible
  • *High Tensile Strength
  • *Cheap & readily available

Only about 6 percent of the mined ore actually contains usable fibres.

The fibres are separated from the ore by crushing, air suction, and vibrating screens, and in the process, are sorted into different lengths or grades.

The most widely used method of grading, the Quebec Standard Test Method, divides the fibres into 7 groups,the longest in group one and the shortest, called milled asbestos, in group seven. The length of the fibres, as well as the chemical composition of the ore, determines the kind of product that can be made from the asbestos.

The longer fibres have been used in fabrics, commonly with cotton or rayon, and the shorter ones for moulded goods, such as pipes and gaskets.

Asbestos fibres can be bonded, moulded or woven into various fabrics and textiles. Coupled with the fact its both non-flammable and a notoriously poor heat conductor, has meant asbestos has been widely used to make insulation products such as hot-water piping, and fireproof products such as protective clothing for fire fighters.

Indeed, even today, despite huge technological advances, Asbestos remains one of the most effective forms of fire protection known to man.

Widely used, asbestos was often mixed with other materials in what we today refer to as asbestos containing materials (ACM's).

Asbestos falls into one of two principal classes, either amphiboles or serpentines, the former being of relatively minor importance.

From the 6 main types of asbestos existing, in the UK, in addition to Chrysotile, we?ve mainly used two amphibole types,Crocidolite and Amosite, more commonly known as ?blue? asbestos and ?brown? asbestos respectively.

The colour prefix refers to its raw state and it is very hard for the naked eye to detect the colour when it is in an ACM.

Crocidolite was primarily mined in South Africa but was also commercially mined in Australia.

In its raw state, the fibres are very dark in appearance and when processed appear a distinctive blue.

Commonly used as sprayed insulation, Crocidolite is seen as one of the most deadly forms of Asbestos.

Chrysotile, commonly known as ?white? asbestos, is a member of the group of minerals comprising the serpentine class, and constitutes about 95% of the world supply of asbestos, of which 3/4 is mined in Quebec. Other large deposits exist in South Africa. In the United States, California, Vermont and Arizona are the leading asbestos producing states; however, the majority of United States deposits are of no commercial value.

In its raw natural state, Chrysotile is cream, white or pale green in appearance and its soft curly fibres when processed make it ideal for spinning and weaving.

Chrysotile asbestos was the most commonly used form within the UK, often incorporated in materials such as Asbestos Cement (AC) and various papers.

From the 6 main types of asbestos existing, in the UK, in addition to Chrysotile, we?ve mainly used two amphibole types, Crocidolite and Amosite, more commonly known as "blue" asbestos and "brown" asbestos respectively.

The colour prefix refers to its raw state and it is very hard for the naked eye to detect the colour when it is in an ACM. Crocidolite was primarily mined in South Africa but was also commercially mined in Australia.

In its raw state, the fibres are very dark in appearance and when processed appear a distinctive blue.

Commonly used as sprayed insulation, Crocidolite is seen as one of the most deadly forms of Asbestos.

Amosite, the most common member of the amphibole group was commercially mined in South Africa. When raw, the fibres are brown or black and when processed, appear to be grey or brown.

Typical applications for brown asbestos were pipe lagging or mixed as Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB).

Left: Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB)
These were the 3 main types of asbestos used within ACM's, which were, in turn, because of their seemingly advantageous properties, widely used in the construction industry as part of the construction and refurbishment of buildings.

ACMs undoubtedly performed well, but intrinsically created a potentially fatal problem. The dust kills!

The dust is microscopic. When asbestos is disturbed, these microscopic fibres are exposed into the atmosphere, and by definition, the air that we breathe in.

Due to its tremendous resilience against chemical attack, our bodies cannot repel or expel these fibres. Our natural defences cannot dissolve them and so the fibres reside in our breathing organs often causing cancers of the lung, mesotholemia, asbestosis and various other asbestos related diseases, most of which are incurable.

That's why it is now banned in the UK and to keep the air safe to breath, we need to locate where it is and properly and professionally manage it.