Asbestos can be present in any building built or refurbished before 2000.The materials below represent some common places where asbestos can be found. If you are unsure whether asbestos is present, don't start work. Your supervisor or the building manager should tell you if asbestos is present.

Loose fill asbestos fibre. Sometimes found in fire doors. Also found in paper bags (look like jiffy bags), often between floor joists for sound insulation. It’s raw fibre, any disturbance will send it airborne.    

        loose fill asbestos fibre          loose fill asbestos fibre 2jpg  

Asbestos sprayed coatings. Found on steelwork and columns to provide fire protection. Also found on the underside of roofs, ceilings and on walls for insulation and to prevent condensation and on walls for sound insulation (eg theatres). High risk of fibre release.

        asbestos sprayed coating          asbestos sprayed coatings 

Asbestos thermal insulation. May be pre-formed or hand applied. Could be wrapped, painted or sealed with a hard plaster (often containing asbestos). Also clad with metal or painted with bitumen for protection. Other materials were also used for insulation such as blankets, tapes, ropes and corrugated paper. High risk of fibre release.

        asbestos thermal insulation          asbestos thermal insulation 2

Asbestos insulating board (AIB). Often used in premises for internal partition walls and linings and for fire protection (eg. fire breaks, fire doors), acoustic and thermal insulation and ceiling tiles. Areas around lift shafts, stairwells and service risers in multi-storey buildings were commonly lined or faced with AIB. High risk of fibre release.    

        asbestos insulating board          aib asbestos insulation board

             aib asbestos insulation board aib                         asbestos insulating board fire door

          aib asbestos insulation board soffit          asbestos insulation board

Asbestos cement products. Asbestos cement is a material which is predominantly a mixture of cement and chrysotile and which, when in a dry state, absorbs less than 30% water by weight. 40% of UK imported asbestos was used in asbestos cement.

          asbestos cement roof sheet          asbestos cement roof down pipe

          asbestos cement under cloaking          asbestos cement

Asbestos textured coatings were used to produce decorative finishes on ceilings and walls. In the past, they have had various trade names such as 'Artex'. You do not need a licence to work on these materials, but work with any type of asbestos should only be considered following a suitable risk assessment and adequate asbestos training.

          asbestos textured coatings          asbestos textured coatings image

Asbestos paper, felt and card. General heat insulation and fire protection. Electrical/heat insulation of electrical equipment and plant. Asbestos paper has been used in the manufacture of roofing felt and damp-proof courses.

          asbestos paper felt cardboard          asbestos paper felt cardboard image

Asbestos reinforced plastics. Well bonded with a high asbestos content. Trade names include Bakelite.

          asbestos reinforced plastic          asbestos reinforced plastic image

Thermoplastic floor tiles. Floor tiles that contain asbestos can also have asbestos­ paper backing, or be fixed with asbestos ­containing mastic.

          asbestos thermoplastic floor tiles          asbestos thermoplastic floor tiles image

Compressed asbestos fibre gasket.

          compressed asbestos fibre gasket image          compressed asbestos fibre gasket

Asbestos ARC shield/chutes. Found in electrical switchgear.

          asbestos arc chutes          asbestos arc shields

Asbestos bitumen products.

          asbestos bitumen sink pad          asbestos bitumen damp course

Go to next question: Why is asbestos dangerous?      Go to previous: What is asbestos?

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