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Buying a house with asbestos

(28 Posts)
happyfam4 Tue 21-Feb-17 19:21:59


We are looking to buy a 1940's house with Asbestos ceiling (not Artex) either Abestos clement or Insulation board (AIB).

I understand Asbestos is safe unless disturbed but we need to rewire the house, install smoke and fire alarm.

The ceiling batons are coming off, nail pin head showing and looks very worn out.

The electrician said if AIB he wouldn't be able to rewire the house so to bite the bullet and get it removed.

The plaster said he can't skim the ceiling as it the ceiling has wallpaper so he won't be happy to scrap it off.

We are having a asbestos survey done this Thursday so finger cross its negative but if its not, do we pull out? I think i am more concerned if its AIB rather than clement.

This is the only house we can afford in the area and the vendor has reduced it 20k, it was on the market for 6 months.

There is also raising damp, again waiting for the survey too.

My buyer mortgage expires on the 24th March so working on a tight deadline too.

Your advice is much appreciated as i am lost and confused.

Thank you

1ris Tue 21-Feb-17 19:55:58

Calm down. If you are going to buy a house that has asbestos in it, you need to remove it. Same as anyone else. It's lethal.

The house needs to be priced to accomodate that.

Anyone buying the house would need to spend the same amount of money.

If there is rising damp, that is another concern.

Owning a house isn't the be all and end all you know. Renting isn't "dead money" when house prices are falling. Renting = no maintenance issues.

Good luck with whatever you choose. It is a minefield.

wowfudge Tue 21-Feb-17 19:58:11

Get a ball park estimate of the work you will need to without considering the asbestos, but including new ceilings, etc.

Rising damp is very rare so it's likely to be something else causing the damp - leaking pipe, dodgy pointing, etc so you probably won't need a chemical damp proof course.

Then get quotes for specialist removal of the asbestos once you have your survey.

Add the cost to the cost of the other works and if the total is more than £20k ask for a further reduction in the sale price.

RubyRedRuby Tue 21-Feb-17 21:48:16

Well I'm going to contradict that and say you do not HAVE to remove it. We had an asbestos survey on our old house and found that some rooms had ceiling tiles (cement board) with low grade asbestos in them. The asbestos surveyor suggested it would be more sensible to leave them in situ and plaster board and plaster over them. In terms of electrics, there are ways to deal with asbestos being there e.g. Putting a special gel where you are drilling. Drill the hole, wipe away the gel (which has contained any asbestos gel) and securely bag and dispose of it. The asbestos is perfectly safe once 'sealed' within the plaster. The dangerous dust is only a risk if you break the board and in fact asbestos is an excellent fire guard (which is why they used to put it everywhere). The biggest danger for electricians etc is when they don't know it is there and drill into it. There are ways to work safely with it. It's not 'lethal' just because it is in your house. In fact most pre 1960/1970 houses will have asbestos somewhere in it - in loft/soffits/artex ceilings etc.
See what the survey says first. There are different types of asbestos and they carry a different level of risk. Good luck!

RubyRedRuby Tue 21-Feb-17 21:49:03

Asbestos dust is contained in the gel I mean...

happyfam4 Tue 21-Feb-17 21:56:17

The plaster said they can't skim because there is wallpaper over the ceilings

GreyBird84 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:25:17

We did. Cost 7K to remove.
Ceilings & floors in a 900 Sqft bungalow then electric box, sofit boards & even in the shed. That was a couple of years ago in NI.

Not a big deal although it looked like something out of CSI. Have certificates etc now of air being tested etc. Can't put a price on piece of mind.

JT05 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:57:56

Our 3 storey holiday house had that type of boarding as walls and ceiling. The owners were of the opinion that it was harmless and wouldn't budge on the price. We did buy it but had an asbestos removal firm take it all out!
It is a huge job and ultimately resulted in complete rewiring and plumbing, as everything has to be stripped to allow the dust to be vacuumed out.
We were lucky and found a company in the N.E of England who would travel to Scotland and do the job.
Personally if you can't afford the strip out I'd walk away from the purchase.
Many trades will ask about the presence of asbestos before undertaking any work in a house.

happyfam4 Wed 22-Feb-17 07:08:00

Thank you for everyone's perspective, very helpful.

I can't agree more "Can't put a price on peace of mind"

Bellatrixandstrange Wed 22-Feb-17 12:53:19

The asbestos company who did our survey gave us a quote for removal which was pleasantly surprising. We had all the asbestos removed before a full rewire. We're still living in a building site but that's not the fault of the asbestos! If the house usage right house and priced to reflect the many thousands that needs spending on it (and you don't mind living in a chaotic building site) then go for it!

happyfam4 Wed 22-Feb-17 14:15:42

Bellatrixandstrange, what asbestos was it?

Bellatrixandstrange Wed 22-Feb-17 21:56:45

I can't remember, it was in the kitchen ceiling tiles, the porch and for some reason lining a pipe!

PuraVida Wed 22-Feb-17 22:13:25

We've got asbestos panelled ceilings. It doesn't worry me but if you need to get through them for whatever reason then obviously that's a problem

At least you know. Most other houses in our street have just had them plaster boarded over, as had been done in a couple of our rooms, but it's still there underneath. They or future owners could be merrily boring into it without a clue

happyfam4 Thu 23-Feb-17 10:26:30

We need to rewire the house.

I think the concern if its AIB, if clement, i will just overboard and forget about it

test at 2pm today so fingers cross

Bellatrixandstrange Thu 23-Feb-17 11:03:42

Good luck!

jenks81 Thu 23-Feb-17 11:25:51

We have a really similar issue. We are hoping to buy a 1950s property and we had the survey back yesterday which has mentioned possible asbestos in the kitchen ceiling tiles and on the garage roof. I realise it's not too much of a problem if you're not going to disturb it but we really want to remove the ceiling tiles (they don't look great) and change the lighting to spots in there. The surveyor has also mentioned that the roof on the garage is starting to laminate and looks damaged in one corner so should be replaced. Not sure whether to have an asbestos survey (at additional cost to us) and if it is a problem whether to try and negotiate some money off the purchase price to pay to have it removed. Don't want to delay things too much or to offend or irritate the vendor so they change their minds about selling to us!

Frillyhorseyknickers Thu 23-Feb-17 11:27:46

* If you are going to buy a house that has asbestos in it, you need to remove it. Same as anyone else. It's lethal.*

Please ignore the above advice as it is not factually accurate whatsoever.

Asbestos is AIB is white asbestos and the least dangerous type. If you remove it in whole sections by a competent contractor it will cause you relatively little disruption.

I would wait for the outcome of the survey, get a licenced contractor in to quote for its removal and go from there. It really isn't a deal breaker and I manage hundreds of properties with asbestos present.

happyfam4 Thu 23-Feb-17 18:32:35

Hello all,

The vendors didnt allow the sampling to go ahead because they was worried it will be disturbed even though the surveyor said its already disturbed as pieces were breaking off so he didn't need to drill, just break it off.

Its definitely asbestos clement, he believes it may contain amosite but without testing we don't know.

trying to persuade the vendors now sad

GreyBird84 Fri 24-Feb-17 13:37:55

If vendors are being awkward sounds like they already know its a problem.

The property we purchased was left to them so I don't think they did know or at least the full extent. We sent them 3 quotes via estate agents and they took the £ off the sale no problem.

If they hadn't we would have pulled out.

happyfam4 Fri 24-Feb-17 14:18:28

GreyBird84 - did you get the asbestos tested before the removal cost?

Afreshstartplease Fri 24-Feb-17 14:43:02

Watching as facing similar

JT05 Fri 24-Feb-17 14:47:12

We had our asbestos tested before purchase. The vendors were very iffy about it, but in the end it was that or no purchase.
The Asbestos company were very good and took some from inside a cupboard. ( it was in all wall coverings and ceilings)
Even so the vendors wanted the 2 cm hole filling in!

wowfudge Fri 24-Feb-17 14:49:29

I think it's time to issue an ultimatum then - if they won't let the testing go ahead, then it's an unknown quantity and would you be happy to go ahead? The alternative is you get a quote for replacing everything and deduct those costs from the purchase price - a worst case scenario.

happyfam4 Fri 24-Feb-17 15:20:21

For me it's definitely important to know what's in the cement and %.

Haven't heard from the agent or vendor.

Suppose to be exchanging on the 24th March

GreyBird84 Fri 24-Feb-17 15:37:03

Hi yes it did - we paid £75 for a very basic survey as we knew we wold be stripping it back to a new build.

Then our asbestos survey & testing was £330.

This was all done before purchase.

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