Would you buy a house with asbestos and lead piping?!

(55 Posts)
aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 09:13:56

Just got the survey back (finally, but that's a different story!)

The surveyor had led me to believe there were no major problems. There does seem to be a long list of things which require action however.

It says this about asbestos:

"The property is thought likely to contain several asbestos containing materials used in it’s construction, including the external chimney flue terminal, panel boarding to the conservatory, textured ceiling coatings and others.
There is no way to know from visual inspection alone whether certain materials in this property do or do not contain potentially hazardous asbestos fibres.

However, so long as the suspected materials remain undisturbed and encapsulated by painting over or similar there is minimal risk to health. Asbestos is only harmful when fibres become airborne and there is the risk of inhalation which may then cause asbestosis and related respiratory problems. You should therefore ensure that any workers at the property are aware of the risks associated with disturbing suspected asbestos materials either by drilling, sanding, cutting, breaking or removing etc. and are adequately protected with appropriate respiratory masks during the works.

Controlled sampling and laboratory testing is the only way to determine whether certain materials such as the conservatory panels and textured ceiling coatings in the property pose a risk to health and it is therefore strongly recommended that you arrange for sampling in various locations and lab testing using polarised light microscopy by accredited specialists prior to any potentially disruptive work being carried out that disturbs these materials. Although a serious matter it is a relatively easy and inexpensive process and is the only way to correctly identify whether there is a risk or not. Further professional advice may be sought once the lab test results are known. Alternatively you may of course simply assume that the materials do contain asbestos from the start and treat them accordingly."

MissMysticFalls Mon 16-Jun-14 10:41:00

Thanks everyone for your information, that's so helpful. We're probably going to get the tests done before we complete so we can get any work needed/wanted done before we move in (we rent so can stay here until the place is ready).

lljkk Netherlands Mon 16-Jun-14 10:34:06

Lead pipes are usually only a risk if you live in a soft water area. Calcium in the water in hard water areas prevents lead from leaching into the water. I would happily live, at least for a spell, with lead pipes in a hard water area.

Asbestos I think you need more info about this specific house.

We had lead pipes & lead gloss paint & asbestos to deal with in previous house (well, garage for the asbestos) & all were manageable. Good luck with your decisions.

Trazzletoes Bosnia-Herzegovina Mon 16-Jun-14 10:14:40

We bought our house with artex on various ceilings and also possible asbestos in the chimney . The chimney is bricked up so that doesn't bother us. I've spoken to numerous people and companies about the artex on the ceilings. No one is even slightly bothered about it. We are thinking of having it skimmed but other than the fact that it's hideous, it's not a big deal for us at all.

peggyundercrackers Mon 16-Jun-14 10:11:44

company who done it was www.aspectcontracts.co.uk/

p.s. sorry for all the small updates.

peggyundercrackers Mon 16-Jun-14 10:11:07

just seen a question about the quote for testing, we were £85 + VAT for our test.

peggyundercrackers Mon 16-Jun-14 10:10:33

we bought a house with asbestos in it and wanted it removed. a company came and took a sample and told us what kind of asbestos it was - some asbestos is more dangerous than others. The type we had didnt need to be removed by a specialist company as it wasn't the dangerous type - they said if they removed we would be £180 but a joiner who was working at the house done it for us. the local council came and took it away for us for free - turns out they dump it and bury it underground.

we used a company called aspect for the testing and results came back the same day. man came and took a very small sample in the morning and called by 5pm at night to tell us what it was and we had a written report sent to us within 2 days.

MissMysticFalls Mon 16-Jun-14 07:18:59

Would love an update from OP and anyone else who was thinking of getting asbestos tests and quotes. Our survey just came back recommending an asbestos survey. I assumed this was something all houses built pre 2000 would need but have no idea about costs of ceiling removal/skimming - lots of artex on walls and ceilings.

We're also asking the vendor via solicitors if they had any asbestos testing done prior to their purchase in late 90s.

pootros Sun 16-Feb-14 02:27:43

Aufaniae- what came of your survey?
Did you buy? Am in same situation - about to find a hse quote. Gutted.... Thought we'd found the house...

sleeplessinsuburbia Mon 26-Nov-12 09:43:21

No my husband just repeated its asbestos and the guy twigged that my DH knew his shit so he just said , oh right but most houses have it. It was actually the house we were renting and he was putting it on the market and asked if we were interested. It sold for a lot too!

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 08:11:40

"An agent tried to tell my DH that an entirely asbestos house was plasterboard"

That's appalling shock he was literally putting your lives at risk to make himself a few quid comission. Supposing you'd believed him, bought the house and started putting up shelves all over the place?! That makes me angry on your behalf!

Did you complain about him?

aufaniae Mon 26-Nov-12 08:09:20

Oh I need to know! I want to get rid of that ceiling for aesthetic reasons anyway! Whether it's asbestos or not makes a difference to how we treat it in the short term. But mmportantly level of asbestos in the house has will have a financial impact in the work we want to do. If we do need to try to renegotiate, I imagine it will help to have facts to back us up.

We've got the asbestos survey booked, should get the results in a couple of days,

sleeplessinsuburbia Mon 26-Nov-12 06:46:39

Well as others have said, asbestos is probably in most houses. If it has no damage you can live in it safely before you renovate. Ring an asbestos removal company ASAP and ask for ball park figures to remove a wall/ ceiling etc. the replacement cost may not be the issue if you're renovating as you'd need new walls anyway. I wouldn't even get it tested, if it gets to that stage I'm sure the removers would be experienced enough to know if its asbestos or not.
An agent tried to tell my DH that an entirely asbestos house was plasterboard so there may be less than you think. Or more...

aufaniae Sun 25-Nov-12 09:27:57

sleepless we do want to renovate so I think the only way we can afford it is if the seller will renegotiate. And I have no idea if they will or not. It's pretty nerve-wracking!

If this house falls through, it means DS won't be able to go to the lovely school I want him to. sad The one where we live now is OK. And it's not worth risking our lives over of course! But the pressure is on!!

sleeplessinsuburbia Sun 25-Nov-12 07:40:53

My DH works with it and wouldn't even consider a house with it unless it was cheap enough to compensate having it replaced. When we rented a house with asbestos he wouldn't even put a nail in the wall as he refused to ever expose our dcs to it. If you don't want to do any renos or it has no damage (at all) should be ok but it will come up again when you go to sell.
I know nothing about lead.

ExhaustTed Sun 25-Nov-12 06:59:35

(Of course I wouldn't recommend diy asbestos removal unless you are totally equipped and skilled to do so)

ExhaustTed Sat 24-Nov-12 22:17:04

the husband did the asbestos removal with the advice of others. Fully kitted out in breathing gear and disposable outfits etc. it was also before the council started charging for disposal too. Sorry, that's not much help but a disposal company should be able to give you a quote

Pendeen Sat 24-Nov-12 17:55:11


Ah, if you are planning alterations then that's a different matter entirely and I can understand your reluctance to buy.

LoveGigi Sat 24-Nov-12 07:32:23

I'm no expert, but Thames Water told me that there are millions of miles of lead piping in our water system and mostly they are all furred up with lime scale therefore causing limited exposure to lead.

I would however change the pipe work internally to copper, but this shouldn't be too tricky, if the pipe is lead up to the kitchen sink then copper thereafter then it's only the run from the entry point to the home to the kitchen that will be replaced. Thames Water would charge in the region of £500-£600 to replace the street side connection, which, after my conversation with the lady at TW I didn't feel too worried about.

I would still buy that property based on what you've said. IMO, neither issue is a deal breaker, if you otherwise have your heart set on it.

However I wouldn't buy it if you are just settling for this property as there is nothing else available.

Are you able to get some quotes re the plumbing lined up for next week?

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 23:28:54

ExhausTed, do you mind if I ask how much the asbestos removal cost you?

ExhaustTed Fri 23-Nov-12 23:10:51

We did buy a house with asbestos and lead pipes, but have removed both as part of a refurb before moving in. We lived for a short while thinking that our mains supply pipe was lead while we waited for the water company to do free deleading and I always drank and cooked with bottled water (when the water company removed the lead in the road it turned out to be not lead after all).
We were advised re lead that the amount of time the water sits in the pipe makes a difference, ie a single person using not much water would be at greater risk than a family constantly using the washing machine over and over and over again, as the water is being pulled through quickly and the pollutants don't have time to leach in, or something like that.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 22:52:39

Thanks tricot. The timing is terrible actually. We need to be in a house by Jan 15th to put DS's school choices down. We started the process of putting our own place up for sale in January. I never thought we'd be worrying about missing the deadline!

It's nothing do do with selling either - our place was really easy to sell as it's in inner London. We were let down by the tenant - a supposed old "friend" of DP's who refused to move. And then the surveyor disappeared after taking our money without giving us a survey for 8 weeks. Between the two of them they've cost us nearly 4 months. I'm so angry

tricot39 Fri 23-Nov-12 22:30:39

you should get the quotes for removal if you want to do work. See the hse for more info. Some of the boarding and insulation can be nasty. The flues etc less so but a future liability. At the moment you are not obliged to remove it but the law could change.
Lead pipes can be sorted in due course and mitigated by running the taps.
Good luck and sorry that the timing is terrible

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 20:04:16

"Even if you have smooth ceilings the last owner may have already plastered over it and you or your surveyor wouldn't know it was there."

That's quite scary. Something to consider if you're ever doing work with ceilings I guess.

aufaniae Fri 23-Nov-12 20:03:11

The thing is, this house appealed to us particularly for its potential to extend (replacing the conservatory, which may have asbestos), up into the roof (bringing down a ceiling, which may have asbestos) and knocking two small rooms together (disturbing their ceilings, which is the last place the survey said might have asbestos!)

So it's not a case of just plastering over and making do. It's a very different house to us if we can't do work on it.

Pendeen Fri 23-Nov-12 17:29:50


The "one particle can kill" scare was discredited many years ago and, as I have said above, asbestos is still to befound in millions of buildings including houses, schools, hospitals, shops, pubs and so on. It will be there probably for as long as the building exists so it's rather unreasonable to expect to avoid all contact with buildings containing asbestos (not contact with asbestos - two different things entirely and should not happen at all).

Having said that if it's your home then of course you are entitled to not buy a house containing asbestos although I can quite understand the seller's refusal to drop the price by £7,000 for unnecessary work.

Properties built after 2000 are asbestos free.

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