Asbestos was a popular building material used extensively in UK construction between the 1950s and 1990s. Because of its popularity, any property built within that period is likely to contain asbestos.
So, do Airey houses contain asbestos?
It is safe to assume that any unmodified Airey house will contain asbestos. Airey houses were built from 1945-1955. During this time, building materials containing asbestos were widely used. If in doubt, an asbestos survey will be able to flag the location, type, and condition of any asbestos in your Airey house.
In this article, we will look at the most common places you might find asbestos in an Airey house. We also cover how to identify asbestos in your home, and what to do if you find it.
We also answer whether you can live in a house with asbestos, whether you can sell a house with asbestos and if it’s worth buying a house with asbestos. Homeowner, seller, or buyer…we have you covered!
Not sure about the best way to sell an Airey home with asbestos? Our free quiz can help guide you in the right direction:
1. Where might you find asbestos in an Airey home?
Airey houses were built during a time when asbestos was used widely in construction. Unless your Airey house has had extensive repairs, it is safe to assume that asbestos will be present in one or more locations.
There are several places you might find asbestos in an Airey house. We have set out the location, item and risk in this handy table below:
Unfortunately, you cannot identify which parts of your home contain asbestos just from having a look around. So, how can you know for certain if your house contains asbestos?
2. How to identify asbestos in your home
An asbestos survey is the only way to know for certain if your Airey house contains asbestos.
There are two types of asbestos survey:
- Management asbestos survey
- Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey
2.1 Management asbestos survey
This survey is for the management of asbestos. It’ll tell you the likely locations and condition of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). The survey will also flag if any ACMs are deteriorating and need immediate attention.
As a residential homeowner, you’re not required to have an asbestos management survey in place.
However, the survey will give you the information to enable you to manage and monitor any ACMs in your home. It can also give you peace of mind and allow you to prioritise any remedial work.
2.2 Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey
You must obtain this survey before carrying out construction work on any building built before 2000. This applies to any type of building, including residential properties such as Airey houses.
A refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey is required if you are planning on carrying out any construction work to your Airey house, including:
- Refurbishment to all or part of the home.
- Demolition of the entire property.
- Maintenance that will disturb existing building materials.
- Extensions to the property.
The survey will only need to be carried out in the room(s) where the construction work will take place.
During the refurbishment and demolition survey, samples of building materials will be taken. From the samples, the surveyor can determine the type, location, and extent of all asbestos materials.
Understanding the type of asbestos is important. Certain types of asbestos are licensed. This means they can only be handled by licensed contractors.
The survey results will let any contractors know what to expect and enable them to take the necessary precautions.
So, what should you do if the survey reveals you do have asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in your Airey home?
3. What should you do if you find asbestos in your house?
So, your survey results are back and reveal you do have asbestos-containing materials in your Airey home. What should you do next?
Depending on the results of your asbestos survey, you should either:
- Leave the ACMs alone. Asbestos materials found to be in good condition and that are unlikely to be damaged are often best left alone.
- Monitor the ACMs. Keep an eye on the ACMs from time to time to make sure they haven’t been damaged or started to deteriorate.
- Repair the ACMs. ACMs that are slightly damaged can sometimes be repaired by sealing or enclosing them. Do not attempt this yourself unless you’ve had the necessary training. Make sure to ask your local environmental health officer for advice on the most appropriate action.
- Remove and safely dispose of ACMs. Any ACMs that are badly damaged or deteriorating should be removed and safely disposed of. Remember that certain types of asbestos are licensed. This means you will need to hire a licensed contractor to deal with the removal and safe disposal.
You can get further information about asbestos and its disposal from your local council. Use the gov.uk postcode searcher to find your local council’s asbestos help page.
4. Can you live in a house with asbestos?
You can live in a house with asbestos, provided the asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and remain undisturbed. Asbestos only becomes a risk to our health when it’s released into the air and breathed in.
Health and Safety Executive recommends where asbestos is in poor condition or is likely to be damaged during the normal use of the home, “it should be sealed, enclosed or removed, as appropriate”.
If you are concerned that part of your home may contain damaged ACMs, stop using the room(s) in question. Try not to disturb the ACM further. Contact your local council and speak to the environmental health officer for advice.
5. Should you buy an Airey house with asbestos?
If you discover the house you want to buy has asbestos, it isn’t always the end of the world.
When deliberating whether to buy a house with asbestos, you should consider:
- The survey results. It’s important to remember that asbestos only becomes dangerous if it’s disturbed or damaged. Are the ACMs in good condition or will they need removing straight away?
- Cost of removing the asbestos. Certain types of asbestos can only be removed by licensed contractors. You will need to consider the costs associated with the safe removal and disposal of any asbestos-containing materials.
- Asking price. Does the asking price reflect the costs associated with the asbestos removal already? Or can you negotiate the asking price with the seller to factor in any removal and disposal costs?
There are also several other factors you should be considering if you’re thinking about buying an Airey house (asbestos or no asbestos). One of which should be whether you can get a mortgage on an Airey house.
For more information, read our guide “Can I Get a Mortgage on an Airey House? [How To Improve Your Chances]” here.
6. Can you sell an Airey house with asbestos?
You can sell an Airey house with asbestos, but it might be harder and take longer to sell than a traditional home. You will need to disclose the asbestos to potential buyers if you are aware of its presence.
The asbestos is likely to be the least of your worries when trying to sell an Airey house though...
The best way to sell an Airey house will largely depend on whether PRC repairs have been carried out to an approved standard. Unrepaired Airey houses are best sold by auction, as you’ll have an audience of cash buyers and developers. If repaired, your best option is to sell with a local agent who has experience selling this property type.
We’ve written an entire article on why Airey houses are so hard to sell. If you want to learn more, you can read “Airey Houses: My Top Tips on How to Achieve a Stress-free Sale” here.
For personalised home-selling guidance, take our free quiz:
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert