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

(66 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."

aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 09:15:29

It says this about lead:

"The incoming water service is, in so far as we could establish during our inspection, located within a cupboard beside the kitchen sink, where there is a defective shut off valve. It is not known what material or in what size the incoming service is, but it looks like lead tubing which is obscured behind the kitchen cupboard. We recommend enquiries be made with the vendor and the water supply company to ascertain what is known of the age and type of mains supply pipe.

If it turns out to be lead, replacement is strongly advised and until it is replaced it is advisable to run the taps for a short time in the morning before filling kettles etc. to reduce exposure to and consumption of water in contact with lead. *This applies particularly where children live in the property.*"

tilder Wed 21-Nov-12 09:19:56

Depends on the price of the house. We were advised of possible asbestos and had samples taken, didn't cost a huge amount from memory. We then got quotes for removal and knocked that off the offer we made.

It is all fixable but depends on whether the house is worth it to you. Would you be able to move in as it is or would you need to rent or have a caravan while the work is done?

iseenodust Wed 21-Nov-12 09:24:42

No I wouldn't with asbestos. It can be very expensive to remove, sounds like it's in a few different parts of the house and you will owrry every time you want to put up shelves. Our current house had lead pipes and we replaced them fairly easily but it is probable the pipes bringing water to our boundary are lead. As this is very hard water area decided could live with that.

mummytime Wed 21-Nov-12 09:29:17

The Asbestos bit is a coverall, as lots of materials did contain Asbestos prior to about 1980s. You could get the chimney flue looked at, the rest is probably a standard bit of cut and pace for all property over about 10-20 years old. Almost all Artex ceilings for example contain Asbestos, this is fine as long as you don't sand them down. Even a smooth ceiling might have been Artex with a skim of plaster on top, so this phrase will appear in most reports. Another source of Asbestos is some concrete tiles or concrete 'board', this is fine unless you drill into it or otherwise break it.

The lead pipe is more of an issue, and I would talk to the water board and a plumber about the cost of replacing it.

Get some quotes for what work you feel would be necessary and see if you can argue the price down to cover/more than cover it.

stella1w Wed 21-Nov-12 09:30:27

No to asbestos. Who wd buy the house later on?

musicalendorphins Wed 21-Nov-12 09:32:27


aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 09:32:31

We're in a tricky situation as the surveyor basically buggered off after taking our money (I suspect he's having a personal crisis of some sort).

This survey was meant to arrive on October 2nd but only just came today (after threatening legal action!) Our vendors have been waiting all this time. The surveyor led us to believe no significant problems, and so the vendors are expecting us to sign right now I think.

This makes me nervous about haggling. I worry we may well lose it.

aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 09:34:55

We would have to remove it I think.

We're in such a bad position, suddenly. We let our sale go through just last week, under the impression there was nothing major int he report.

If I'd seen this report even a week ago, I might have let the sale go (the flat was really easy to sell) and rent for another year before trying to buy again. There's nothing else on the market I want, unless we move towns.

I'm so pissed off with the surveyor.

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 09:36:07

You can get an asbestos company in to take samples and they should be back to you within a week with a positive/negative and cost of removal if present. It can cost £1,000's to remove safely so you need to know where you stand on this before you sign anything unless you're sure you have the money for expensive removal. You don't want to be worrying about asbestos any time you do DIY.

aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 09:36:31

We're renting atm, so no worries about somewhere to actually live btw!

laptopcomputer Wed 21-Nov-12 09:36:35

I would be more inclined to get quotes for lead piping and negotiate based on that. Nearly every house built prior to mid 20 th C has asbestos. That's a standard paragraph.

lalalonglegs Wed 21-Nov-12 09:37:33

Yes, if the price was right. It's reasonably easy to remedy the pipes and the asbestos if you are going to be doing works anyway (and, from the sound of it, this house hasn't had a major refurb in a while). If you like the place just the way it is then it is going to be messy removing and replacing.

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 09:38:29

Phone your council now and get a recommendation for an asbestos company in your area to make sure it's done properly. You should be able to get someone in ASAP for about £250 roughly with VAT and that will include taking and number of samples too. The samples get sent off to a lab and then they can let you know with a phone all followed by a proper report.

wonkylegs Wed 21-Nov-12 09:39:31

As someone else says any property built prior to the 80's has the possibility of asbestos. It was very common and most people don't even realise that it was in anything from kitchen floor tiles to ceilings and wall panels.
Asbestos was used in all sorts of materials prior to then, it is not always expensive to remove (depends on type) and you can quite happily and safely coexist if undisturbed. Also often building professionals are ultra careful and highlight any possibility of asbestos as we are required to - this doesn't means it's necessarily there just that it possibly is and care should be taken - especially highlighted at the moment as the HSE is running an asbestos aware course at the moment.
I would get a quote to see how expensive it would be to test and ultimately remove from these areas as necessary and use this to negotiate.
Lead piping - again warrants a bit of further investigation & a quote for replacement.

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 09:40:23

The OP needs to make sure they have enough money for asbestos removal as its an expensive business to do properly and safely. If it needs to be done in several rooms too, it gets more costly as each room has to be closed off while its being done.

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 09:44:07

OP would need Asbestos refurbishment/demolition survey report done. They go over the whole house and take 5 samples or so (more if needed) and then the OP can have peace of mind. There are different levels of asbestos, some of it can be nasty stuff. I imagine it would be about £250 for asbestos refurbishment/demolition report approx with about 5 samples. Extra samples on top will cost more per sample. Between £20 and £25.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Wed 21-Nov-12 09:50:08

On the asbestos: it's a cover-all. Many of the people saying "No, I wouldn't" are probably sitting in a house which has some, unless it's brand new.

However, there are some materials containing asbestos that are very obvious and potentially disruptive to works (someone else mentioned artex) and you probably need to follow up with the surveyor to find out if they specifically spotted any - though it doesn't sound like it. If they can't cite anything in particular, then it's hard to know what to have tested. Maybe worth asking asbestos removal companies if they have a battery of standard tests they do on likely places/materials?

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 10:03:14

mulled I don't agree it's a cover-all. If they see something and they suspect it, they will write it in their report.

The 'standard battery of tests' with taking sample across a whole house is called an Asbestos Refurbishment/Demolition Survey report. This will let the OP know exactly where they stand, especially if they will be doing work on the property.

If the OP wants someone to come in from an asbestos company to simply see if they too suspect it, that will cost less, probably around £50 to call someone out.

aufaniae Wed 21-Nov-12 10:05:59

The lead piping freaks me out less than the asbestos, as I know where it is and we can simply get it replaced.

The asbestos freaks me out. My impulse is to remove it, but that's risky to do.

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 10:25:52

I would have it removed, I wouldn't want to live in a property knowing there is asbestos present. After its been removed, you can have air quality tests done, but apparently it isn't needed if it is some of the low percentage asbestos containing material if that makes sense. An asbestos removal company would be able to advise you.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Wed 21-Nov-12 10:26:45

Sorry, by saying "it's a cover-all" I didn't mean to imply you should assume there probably isn't any; just the opposite. I would always assume an older house had non-compliant older materials in it, whether or not the survey said so. I'm just saying that if they had noticed a particular area of concern they would probably have specified it (as they did with the lead pipe), so any tests you do will need to be general ones.

Moredofbumsnet Wed 21-Nov-12 13:16:40

We had artex ceilings plastered over in our house for about £200 max per room. We had asbestos board removed in another property we owned and it cost about £500 for a piece the height and depth of a kitchen work surface. We didn't get either tested as the artex was ugly and the asbestos board was really obviously asbestos. You can get a free quote for removal without paying to get it tested and a quote for plastering the ceilings. Removing artex ceilings rather than just plastering over is really costly.

hanahsaunt Wed 21-Nov-12 13:37:44

How old is the property? We had a house surveyed and it came back with a note of the asbestos lagging the central heating system (which was ancient and needed replaced) and lead piping. Advised that the property would be uninhabitable whilst the asbestos works were being carried out and that we would be looking in the region of £50k just for that before we even started on the lead (and the subsiding sewage pipes in the garden and the rotten roof and, and, and ...). House was valued at £0 - land deemed worthless given level of potential contamination (and the dead bodies in the garden which would need relocated). We pulled out ...

poppyboo Wed 21-Nov-12 14:09:23

Dead bodies?! shock

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