Asbestos For Construction

Asbestos is a general name for several varieties of fibrous minerals which are available in nature. As a fireproofing material, it was applied on steel beams and columns during construction of multistory buildings. Because of its strength, asbestos was added to concrete, asphalt, vinyl materials in roof shingles, pipes, siding, wall board, floor tiles, joint compounds and adhesives. 

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation, binder, and as a fire-retardant. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistant properties, asbestos has been used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, caulking, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. 

Its heat-resistant qualities made asbestos the perfect thermal insulation. The material was also used in acoustical plaster and as a component of a mixture sprayed on ceilings and walls. In short, it was the miracle material of the building industry.

Properties of Asbestos
1. It is flexible, soft and non-porous.
2. It is fireproof and acid proof material.
3. It is a good insulator of heat and electricity.
4. When it is mixed with cement and water, it retains shape firmly.
5. Its colour is brown or grey.
6. It can be cut into pieces or can be drilled.
7. It possesses high tensile strength in the direction of its fibres.
8. Its specific gravity is 3.10.

Uses of Asbestos
1. Asbestos cement sheets are the cheapest roofing materials.
2. Asbestos cement pipes are used as down take pipes of rain water from the roof.
3. With bitumen it forms good damp proof layer.
4. It is used for preparing fire proof ropes and clothes.
5. It is used as covering material for fuse and electric switch boxes.
6. It is useful for insulating boilers, furnaces etc.

However, asbestos becomes a hazard when it is damaged, crumbles, or is in a state of disrepair. It then poses a health risk to building occupants, repairmen, and maintenance workers because asbestos fibers may be released into the air. The risk is even greater if the building is demolished, renovated, or remodeled.

Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. It is in many of the common materials used in the building trade that you may come across during your work.

Inside Industrial

  1. Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls, beams and columns
  2. Asbestos cement water tank
  3. Loose fill insulation
  4. Lagging on boilers and pipes
  5. AIB ceiling tiles
  6. Toilet seat and cistern
  7. AIB partition walls
  8. AIB panels in fire doors
  9. Asbestos rope seals, gaskets and paper
  10. Vinyl floor tiles
  11. AIB around boilers
  12. Textiles eg fire blankets
  13. Textured decorating coatings on walls and ceilings eg artex Outside
  14. Asbestos cement roof
  15. Asbestos cement panels
  16. Asbestos cement gutters and downpipes
  17. Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement
  18. Asbestos cement flue
AIB = Asbestos Insulating Board

Inside Residential Building
A. Asbestos cement Water tank
B. Pipe lagging
C. Loose fill insulation
D. Textured decorative coating eg artex
E. AIB ceiling tiles
F. AIB bath panel
G. Toilet seat and cistern
H. AIB behind fuse box
I. AIB airing cupboard and/or sprayed insulation coating boiler
J. AIB partition wall
K. AIB interior window panel
L. AIB around boiler
M. Vinyl floor tiles
N. AIB behind fire Outside
O. Gutters andAsbestos cement downpipes
P. Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement
Q. AIB exterior window panel
R. Asbestos cement roof
S. Asbestos cement panels
T. Roofing felt

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