When you purchase a property in the UK, you cannot always predict what challenges you will encounter. Some houses have unexpected issues which are flagged up in a survey – while in other cases, problems can become more noticeable over the years.
A challenge which many UK homeowners are aware of is asbestos. For people living in all types of properties, including flats, it is important to be aware of any asbestos in the building – and an asbestos report can guarantee this.
But what exactly is an asbestos report? And when is it required for flats? Read our blog below for an answer to these important questions.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibre which was used in construction and other industries until the late 1990s throughout the UK. Asbestos was primarily used for roofing, flooring and insulation in buildings, however it is now banned in the UK due to increased awareness of its dangers.
Unfortunately, there are some UK properties constructed in the 20th century which still have asbestos in them.
Nowadays, you’re only likely to come into contact with asbestos if it is disturbed or damaged in an old building. If it remains intact in the property, then it does not present much risk.
What is an Asbestos Report?
An asbestos report is a survey which identifies anywhere asbestos may be present in a building. This report will usually be compiled by a surveyor (there are many specialists in this area throughout the UK) who will complete a thorough inspection of the premises, and then provide you with a report.
There are two types of asbestos report: a management survey and a refurbishment/demolition survey. While the former provides guidance on how to continue living with asbestos in a property, the latter is used when part of a building needs to be refurbished or demolished.
A typical asbestos report will include the following information:
- Asbestos Register
- Asbestos Management Plan
- Sample locations
- Room photos and construction details
- Any recommended action
Some homeowners choose to pay for an asbestos report every 5 or 10 years. This is because if asbestos is damaged or disturbed in a building, the recommendations of an asbestos report may change.
The report should also provide the name of the surveyor, and details of the laboratory which carried out analysis of samples.
When is an Asbestos Report Required for Flats?
Flat owners are not legally required to have an asbestos report when selling their flat in the UK. However, some estate agents, mortgage lenders and insurance companies require an asbestos report to be completed before selling a flat.
You should also keep in mind that selling a flat that contains asbestos is likely to impact the sale. For example, buyers will probably offer less money than you were hoping for if they discover that asbestos is in the flat. It is therefore advisable that you complete an asbestos report before selling a flat (even though it is not a legal requirement) because it prevents any unwanted surprises for potential buyers.
If you are aware that asbestos is present in your flat (even if a report has not been completed) then you are legally required to disclose this information to the potential buyer.
Why is an Asbestos Report important?
Asbestos is harmful to people who are exposed to it for a long period of time. This is because breathing in asbestos fibres can damage your lungs and their lining. An illness such as asbestosis, for example, is specifically caused by exposure to asbestos.
An asbestos report is critical for the health and safety of anyone that will be living in the property. Even though it is not a legal requirement to complete one when selling a flat, it is highly recommended that you get one done.
How much does an Asbestos Report cost?
The price of an asbestos report will vary depending on the size of your house, and the company that you hire for this job. It is recommended that you research local companies thoroughly before deciding on one. If possible, ask for recommendations from friends or estate agents for reputable companies.
For a flat in the UK, an asbestos report from a reliable company will likely cost between £100 – £300. You can, however, find companies which charge more or less than this.
For a medium-sized semi-detached property, the report will likely cost between £250 – £400. Once again, there are always companies above and below this price range, but this is the average range.
For a large detached house, an average asbestos report will cost between £400 – £700. This is simply due to the size of the premises, and the amount of thorough inspecting that needs to be completed.
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