How To Remove Asbestos Sheets Safely

If you suspect that your shed or garage is made with sheets that may contain asbestos and you are considering removing it, here is some advice to guide you:

  1. Identifying asbestos: Check if the roof of your shed or garage is made of grey corrugated material, as this is likely to contain asbestos. Other materials like reinforced plastic or corrugated iron do not contain asbestos. Exterior boarding panels exposed to the elements may also contain asbestos.
  2. Condition of the asbestos: If the asbestos cement is in good condition and has not been damaged, it is generally safe to leave it undisturbed. Asbestos cement is durable and can last for several decades. It only becomes dangerous when disturbed and releases dust and fibres into the air.
  3. Removal options: If the asbestos has been disturbed or is in bad condition, you can remove it yourself or hire a competent building contractor. You do not necessarily need a licensed specialist contractor if the person carrying out the removal is trained and competent.
  4. Preparation for removal: Before starting the removal process, plan how to dispose of the asbestos waste. Contact your local council or check their website for information on designated waste disposal sites. Gather the necessary tools such as ladders, adjustable spanner, large screwdriver, claw hammer, and hacksaw. Keep the asbestos cement wet during removal using a hosepipe or spray gun. Have plastic sheeting and heavy-duty plastic bags for wrapping and containing the asbestos.
  5. Personal protective equipment (PPE): Wear disposable clothing, preferably a paper overall or old clothing that you can throw away. Wearing a properly fitting fibre mask that covers your nose and mouth without gaps is essential. Ensure the mask meets EU standards EN149 (type FFP3) or EN1827 (type FMP3) for the highest level of protection. Additionally, follow guidelines on PPE provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  6. Safety precautions: Ensure the area is clear of children, animals, or individuals without protective clothing. Disconnect the electrical supply to the building and do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling asbestos. Avoid going onto the roof, as it can be dangerous and slippery. Keep the asbestos cement wet inside and out until it is packaged using low-pressure water.
  7. Safe removal process: Remove any silt debris from the gutters, dampen it, and place it in double-bagged, labelled heavy-duty asbestos bags. Remove screws or bolts from the asbestos-cement sheets using appropriate tools. If nails were used or the bolts could not be removed, push the asbestos panel up through the head of the fastener. Wrap each asbestos sheet in plastic sheeting as you remove them and label the bags. If any breakages occur, dampen the area, wrap the smaller pieces, and place them in heavy-duty bags.
  8. Cleaning and personal hygiene: Clear the area of any remaining asbestos debris, hose down the site, and wash yourself thoroughly after completing the removal. Clean any tools or equipment used during the process.
  9. Disposal: Use a trailer or the back of a commercial van to transport the asbestos waste, as it can be easily cleaned afterwards. Contact your local council to determine where you can safely dispose of the asbestos waste, as not all recycling sites accept it.

Remember always to prioritise safety and follow Health & Safety guidelines when dealing with asbestos. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult professionals, or seek advice from relevant authorities.