Asbestos cement was a commonly used construction product usually in the form of corrugated sheets for shed, garage and agricultural building roofs. Most asbestos cement contained between 10-15% asbestos which was used to reinforce the cement and maintain rigidity. In addition to the corrugated sheets often found on roofs and sometimes used as wall cladding, drainpipes, flues, water tanks and other products were also made from the same material. The most common type of asbestos found in cement is Chrysotile, but Amosite and Crocidolite can also be found in older materials.
Asbestos cement is among the lowest in terms of danger associated from friability. The product is very strong and the low percentage of asbestos, coupled with the amount of fibres released when working with the material mean it is relatively safe to handle.
Asbestos cement products do not have to be removed as long as they are in good condition. Commercial building owners have a duty of care by law to manage any asbestos containing materials. In the case of cement, it only needs to be removed if it is in very poor condition and breaking up or needs uneconomical repair. Domestic properties are not obliged to follow the same duties, but are required to follow safe procedures for any removal works.
Although asbestos cement does not require a licensed contractor to be removed as long as it is in good condition and not crumbling, particular care should be taken when dealing with any kind of asbestos containing material to avoid any fibre release. Although relatively low risk, the dangers should be carefully considered given the irreversible effects of any exposure to asbestos fibres. If you are in any doubt, contact the experts who can give you the correct advice.