What is asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral that was widely used in the construction and automotive industries for insulation, flooring, shingles, pipe covering, and many other building materials until the late 1990s. The are six types that all have long and thin fibrous crystals and these are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion, which is why it was such a popular material. However, if the fibres become airborne, they are carcinogenic and have been proven to cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other forms of disease. Asbestos within a property can be harmless if it is not disturbed or is safely managed and contained. Any commercial building built before the year 2000 requires by law that an asbestos survey is carried out by a licensed person such as DES Holdings. If asbestos is present and is in any way damaged, crumbling, or deteriorating then it will require removal. However, if it is undamaged and no major renovations are planned near to the asbestos, such as stripping out walls, ceilings, or floors or making holes in them, then it is possible to encapsulate the asbestos and manage it with a regular survey every three to five years. What is asbestos encapsulation? Asbestos encapsulation is a method for managing asbestos within a building. Firstly, any asbestos-containing materials (ACM) has to be located and assessed to see if encapsulation is a viable method for managing it. The process of encapsulation is then to either cover or coat the asbestos to prevent any of the microfibres from being released into the air to cause danger. The encapsulating material could be a physical barrier of fabric, cloth, or boarding but can also be a painted or sprayed coating that safely contains the fibres from becoming airborne. The cover or coating also offers some protection to prevent the ACM from becoming damaged. Warning labels are then placed on the covering to notify of the presence of asbestos behind the protective barrier and to prevent any accidental disturbance of the cover Advantages of encapsulating asbestos vs removal The main advantage of encapsulating asbestos is that it causes much less disruption to those using the building than removal. This can mean that your use of the building can potentially continue uninterrupted. It also means that the costly, and potentially dangerous, processes of removing and disposing of the materials can be saved. If the ACM is in a part of the building which is likely to be undisturbed by any renovations, then encapsulation is the obvious choice. Although it will require regular visits to inspect the site, in the long term it is a far less invasive process and won’t compromise the safety of anyone using the building. Encapsulation also minimises the risk of asbestos becoming airborne much more quickly than the processes involved with removal. Removal will require considerable downtime for the building’s occupiers as asbestos has to be taken out with a great deal of care and disposed of safely. This is could be a major disruption to your business’ function whereas if encapsulation is possible, then this aggravation could be avoided. At DES Holdings our highly qualified specialists can provide a survey and report for managing your asbestos treatment. Safety first If you are at all suspicious of the presence of asbestos within your building, then you need to urgently contact a specialist asbestos management team. The safety of anyone using your building, in the vicinity of any asbestos, is at risk. The threat is silent and deadly as the tiny spores won’t cause any discomfort or indication of inhalation at first. The health issues can take anything from 10–20 years to appear, but they are fatal. With over 30 years of experience in the industry at DES, we are experts at knowing how best to encapsulate or remove asbestos, whether in a domestic or commercial setting. With many accreditations to illustrate our expertise you can rest assured that any asbestos issues will be handled professionally and with the least disruption to the use of your property. Contact us today to get a free, no-obligation survey and quote.