For any demolition, refurbishment or repair project, the presence of asbestos in the building can have far reaching cost and health & safety implications. And it’s not an uncommon problem. Asbestos was widely used as a roofing material right the way through to the 1970s thanks to its durability and fire resistance benefits at low cost. The use of asbestos as a building material is a legacy of the built environment that today’s roofing contractors are often tasked with tackling, as those roofs originally specified in the 1950s, 60s and 70s fail and need to be replaced. Sometimes, there may be no other option than to remove the asbestos roof and incur the project delays and added costs that specialist remediation involves. However, while the Control of Asbestos regulations 2012 ensures that building owners are accountable for preventing any risk of exposure to asbestos fibres from their building, contractors do not need a license to work with asbestos cement products, such as profiled roofing. As a result, the most cost and time efficient option for refurbishing asbestos roofs is often encapsulation of the asbestos.
Traditional strip out and disposal of asbestos is an onerous process that incurs additional time and cost on a project thanks to the need for a specialist contractor that will remove the asbestos waste in line with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations. There are a number of alternatives, but again, the efficacy and cost of these methods should be considered carefully. A patch repair can be carried out using a paint-on coating and this may initially address an immediate water ingress problem but it is unlikely to provide anything other than a temporary fix. Meanwhile, over-cladding the roof can provide an effective long-term remedy but is also costly and requires consideration for increased weight (structural loading) and height (possible planning permission), as well as the safe removal of loose asbestos particles resulting from fixing operations (internal and external).
The third alternative for upgrading a roof containing asbestos without removing the asbestos is to use a tough, flexible cold liquid-applied waterproof membrane to completely encapsulate the roof, ensuring a whole roof solution. This option not only offers significant cost savings as compared to over-cladding or removing the asbestos and replacing the roof; it also enables the roofing contractor to weatherproof vulnerable bolt-heads and sheets laps and protect the sheet from future physical and biological degradation.
Unlike over-cladding, which involves handling and drilling of sheets risking the release of asbestos fibres, encapsulating the asbestos with a durable, flexible waterproofing involves no drilling, making it safer, better for the environment and more convenient and cost-effective for the building owner/occupier. However, the process does necessitate thorough cleaning of the asbestos substrate prior to application and safe removal of any loose asbestos fibres that may result from that process. We supply special asbestos equipment that can effectively remove moss, lichen and other contamination whilst minimising damage to the surface of the sheet. These systems collect and filter the resultant contaminated water allowing for controlled disposal in line with HSE guidelines.
We can then begin installation of the waterproof membrane using first a primer, and then the waterproofing resin to areas most susceptible to water ingress, such as penetrations. This is applied straight from the container with no mixing. Its ‘open working time’ makes it ideal for use on fragile asbestos roofs with restricted access. Once the most vulnerable areas of waterproofing are complete, we then apply The waterproofing system to the entire roof. Besides encapsulating and protecting the asbestos cement and sealing in the harmful fibres, it eliminate future algae growth and a attractive ‘like new’ finish.
In this way, we can provide long-term protection against any future wear and tear to the roof with a tough, flexible finish with a guarantee of 20 year and a life expectancy of 100 years.
Asbestos is a word that many building owners, occupiers, developers and contractors dread…..but it needn’t be so!
Contact Us today for a free, no-obligation roof survey and specification report!