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New house has asbestos - would you buy?

(23 Posts)
JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 13:23:54

Just got the headline survey results for our new house. Quite a few issues including damp to sort out and apparently there are no lintels over the door or windows at the back meaning the brick is cracking... Anyway the main problem is asbestos soffit boards in the roof which have flaking paint on them. Surveyor said it would cost a lot to remove them and said we could over clad them but would still need a licensed contractor and then would need to inform anyone who did any work in the future that there is asbestos around. Ultimately I am not sure I like the idea of bringing children up in a house with asbestos... Makes me feel uncomfortable. They say it's safe if it isn't touched but what if it isn't? What if doing the over cladding or whatever releases all these toxic fibres. I have a 3 yo and a 4 mo.

What do you think? Would you buy the house?!

Hennifer Wed 24-Feb-16 13:26:33

Nope. And not just because of that, but because there doesn't seem to be anything good about it!!

Missing lintels? Why - did someone remove them? What else did they do?

TheNumberfaker Wed 24-Feb-16 13:26:43

No. Not unless the sale price reflects the cost of work involved to remedy it fully.

JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 13:33:14

Apparently it was relatively common in the 1970s to build without lintels. There are 2 windows and a door without lintels. That doesn't bother me so much - we can negotiate on the price and to be honest it's been like that for 40 years without too many problems.

The asbestos bothers me more because it's a carcinogen.

JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 13:34:33

The damp too is manageable. It is contained and should be relatively easy to fix. It isn't mouldy or anything on he inside.

Luckystar1 Wed 24-Feb-16 13:36:23

We have had asbestos safely removed, it wasn't as expensive as I'd thought but it is a pain. The missing lintels would, actually, worry me more. Especially if cracks are already appearing.

JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 13:39:00

We are thinking of redoing the Windows where the lintels are missing anyway as we want to move the kitchen to that part of the house. We can always get a quote for that and ask them to knock it off the price.

Lucky was it soffit boards that you got removed? How much was it, do you remember?

TremoloGreen Wed 24-Feb-16 13:51:12

If it was just manageable damp or just removable asbestos I would consider it if I loved the house and the price reflected the cost of remedying it. That means if this was an unforseen problem, dropping the price.

With both those issues and potential structural problems, I would walk away. Too much potential for it to become a money pit that you curse yourself for buying. It seems scary to walk away when you've invested money but you have to think about the cost, hassle and money you'll save in the long run. IME, vendors never want to drop by an amount that will actually cover the cost and hassle.

Twitterqueen Wed 24-Feb-16 13:53:06

No no no.
Lintels ARE an issue - and will not cheap to fix.
Asbestos - with children in the house? Definitely not
Damp - no - just Yuk

Absolute money pit that is a danger to your health. Walk away

TheFridgePickersKnickers Wed 24-Feb-16 13:54:38

We lived in a 70s house with no lintels. When it poured down rain came in through the upvc frame edges.
It was a rented property and they never resolved it not even with new windows. Several houses in the same street had similar issues.
Ironically it was a hideously damp house as well.
That before the asbestos would send me running to be honest.

BinaryFinary Wed 24-Feb-16 13:57:38

The kind of asbestos in soffits is no big deal. It's really not. A vast amount of houses and public buildings contain asbestos. As long as it's not degrading (unlikely in the sheet type commonly used which itself is a far lower risk than they type used eg for insulation on pipes) it's not really anything to worry about. The HSE advice is to manage in situ rather than remove - that means be aware of it and don't disturb it.

member Wed 24-Feb-16 14:06:03

For me, the lintels (or lack of) are actually the headline rather than the asbestos; the amount of stress on other parts of the structure trying to to the job of the lintels over the years is a big red flag to me.

One major problem like asbestos is surmountable (with cash), multiple problems and you'd be setting yourself up for heartache I think.

wonkylegs Wed 24-Feb-16 14:09:20

I wouldn't be too worried about the asbestos in the soffits - encapsulating with overcladding is a perfectly valid response and it's more common than you probably realise. It's an area of low risk of disturbance so it makes sense. I did a job last year that had it there and had it removed but only because we were doing major structural work to the roof so it was almost impossible to not damage it.
I would be concerned about lintels especially if there are UPVC windows. It is true that lintels may be missing in older properties but because they used windows with some structural strength (supporting timber etc) it wasn't a problem however they are often replaced with UPVC which is frankly flimsy in comparison. If you've got damp too, I'd be totting up some serious cash for repairs.

JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 14:17:48

Thanks all.

Oh dear. I don't LOVE the house. In fact it is far from perfect but it does tick a lot of boxes and was cheaper than similar properties in the same area. In fact there is nothing else locally on the market that we want / could afford. I know it's not a reason to buy it by any means but it does make it more attractive despite the problems. Sigh.

mrsmortis Wed 24-Feb-16 16:18:24

We are in a house from the 1930's with asbestos sheet holding up our porch and an old water tank, still in situ, that is asbestos. Neither of these are at all worrying as long as they are in tact. You need the fibres to be loose for it to be a carcinogen. We just inspect at regular intervals to make sure they are still in one piece and when we had the wiring done we told the electrician about the front porch and he reused the existing holes rather than drilling new ones.

Far more worrying was the asbestos in the artex on the ceiling that was falling down. Removing that cost us sixteen hundred pounds.

Dinglethdragon Wed 24-Feb-16 16:24:58

I just had some asbestos removed, get the seller to have a proper asbestos survey done with an estimate of what it will cost. If it's intact it will be a few hundred, if it's been broken or drilled it will be more. You can ask the seller to either get the work done with certificates or you get it done and deduct the cost from the price. It freaked me out but it ended up not being a major problem.

lalalonglegs Wed 24-Feb-16 16:38:16

If your children go to a school built before the 70s, there will probably be asbestos in situ. You have probably lived in flats and houses before that have some asbestos. It's not a big deal, especially in the loft where it is unlikely to be disturbed. As others have said, the absence of lintels would worry me a lot more.

Pagetta Wed 24-Feb-16 17:13:14

the absence of lintels and the cracks would worry me too - we had a survey done on a house which came back with something similiar and basically we looked into it and wouldn't be able to get buildings insurance on it without remedying that - so that's another aspect worth looking into - not just the cost of fixing these things but would you even get insurance?!

JT05 Wed 24-Feb-16 17:27:02

Our 1960s house had Asbestos soffits. The firm we used to replace them, gutters and down pipes, managed the whole problem with no issues.
It's quite common and replacement companies are used to it.
We have a large perimeter around the roof and the whole process was about £7000.

JoyofSpring Wed 24-Feb-16 22:06:01

Thank you!

I think we are going to ask them to have a survey and then at least we know what we are dealing with. I might also ask them to confirm the situation with the lintels. Apparently they need to drill in above the doors and confirm what the issue is. We are going to see the house again at the end of the week and then we can ask them...

Sigh! So stressful!!!

celeste83 Wed 24-Feb-16 22:10:05

Asbestos is only dangerous if it is disturbed. Realistically are you likely to have work done to the soffit?

Finallyonboard Wed 24-Feb-16 22:11:28

Not under any circumstances.

Qwebec Wed 24-Feb-16 23:48:51

Here almost all houses built/renovated between 1930 and 1970 have asbestos thanks to a generous governamental program. It's expensive to remove but leave it there and you won't have a problem.
A few lintels are missing, no big deal to replace we got a quote at 4000$ for 7 new ones plus some masonnery work.
Much less of a deal than the 10 000$ asbestos removal!

I baught a house with thoses issues and am quite happy with it.

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