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Other Asbestos containing materials – illustrative examples

Other Asbestos containing materials – illustrative examples

This section contains examples of other materials and environments where a surveyor may encounter asbestos.


  • This material is commonly found in residential properties, and surveyors may have reporting tools in place to allow them to report on the potential presence of this material. Due to concerns regarding asbestos, this may influence people’s purchase decisions. Practices should consider how they wish to report on the presence of textured coatings to provide a pragmatic assessment of risk.

    The risk to surveyors where these materials are in good condition is negligible; however, failure to comment on this material in a survey report can result in litigation.

    Asbestos containing textured ceiling finish (© Thames Laboratories)
  • Asbestos fibre has been incorporated into a wide variety of products, such as bonding and bulking agents. It can be found in some types of mastic and adhesives, floor tiles, vinyl floor coverings, industrial belts and some resin-based items such as toilet cisterns.

    The risk to surveyors is low due to the low risk of fibre release.

    Asbestos containing floor coverings (© Thames Laboratories)
    Asbestos containing toilet cistern (© Thames Laboratories)
  • Asbestos fibres can be woven into products such as fabric, paper, yarn and string, with a variable asbestos content depending on the end use – sometimes up to 95%.

    Woven material will typically contain chrysotile, but other asbestos types may be present. In the past these materials were often dyed to give the appearance of crocidolite (blue) asbestos.

    Unusual woven products include window sash cords, caulking, gaskets for safes, filing cabinets and hot appliances such as ovens, boilers and kilns.

    The risk to surveyors is relatively low as the materials may be enclosed within appliances. They are not generally used as construction materials but are more usually found in engineering products and equipment.

    Woven asbestos flash guard (© Thames Laboratories)
    Woven asbestos fire blanket (© Thames Laboratories)
    Asbestos gasket in pipe flange (© Thames Laboratories)
    Asbestos rope boiler caulking (© Thames Laboratories)
  • Asbestos contamination can take a wide variety of forms, and the presence of any contamination can present a significant risk to surveyors. It is therefore important that consideration is given to the likelihood of contamination prior to undertaking any inspection works.

    In some circumstances it is relatively easy to determine the likelihood of contamination, such as following a building fire that has damaged an asbestos cement roof. In other circumstances it may be less obvious, and the surveyor may accidentally find themselves in a contaminated area. In this situation, the surveyor should proceed with caution or seek specialist advice.

    Industrial unit following fire damage contamination following building fire (© Thames Laboratories)
    Underfloor crawlspace with l oose sections of asbestos insulation on the floor (© Thames Laboratories)
    Partially derelict industrial site where a variety of ACMs could be present (© Tim Elliott)
    Fly tipping and dumping where ACMs are mixed in with general building rubble (© Tim Elliott)
    Asbestos cement used to form road (© Thames Laboratories)
  • ACMs have been used widely in equipment, plant and machinery – including vehicles, all of which are subject to the REACH regulation. The sale and transportation of artefacts, plant and machinery containing asbestos need careful consideration.

    Example 1 – fireproofing

    Asbestos has been incorporated into various industrial items.  In this example, asbestos board has been used to line a workbench for fireproofing.

    Asbestos insulating board used to fireproof a workbench (© Thames Laboratories)

    Example 2 - manufacturing

    Asbestos was used in the manufacture of belts and pulleys, typically located where hot processing work would have taken place.

    Asbestos containing belts used in pulleys and fans (© Thames Laboratories)

    Example 3 – classic vehicles

    Classic vehicles, including forms of transport such as classic cars, heritage trains and aircraft can contain asbestos in a wide variety of forms. Examples include sprayed insulation in buses and train carriages, asbestos wrapped cables in aircraft, and more commonly gaskets, wraps and brake linings used in all types of classic vehicle.

    Asbestos heat wrap to exhaust and fuel lines on classic cars (© Thames Laboratories)

    Example 4 – historic apparatus

    An example of the widespread use of asbestos material here the asbestos is not in the board behind the mask but in the hose that was used to provide air to the mask for firefighting purposes.

    Hoses used in historic breathing apparatus (© UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, Photographer Geoff Cooper 2018)