Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) were commonly used in construction until the mid-1980s. Any building built before 2000, including houses, offices, schools and hospitals, can potentially contain asbestos. So, many of the University buildings have ACMs present in their fabric.

ACMs in good condition are safe. Estates Services manage and control work where ACMs are present. We ensure every effort is made to minimise the risk to staff, students, visitors and contractors. 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the collective term used to describe several types of naturally occurring mineral rock. It is not an artificial substance.

The three principal types of asbestos are:

  • crocidolite (blue)
  • amosite (brown)
  • chrysotile (white)

All ACMs have the potential to cause harmful effects if their fibres are inhaled. However, when asbestos are properly managed, there is very little chance of fibres being released. Where ACM’s remain undisturbed they do not present a risk to health. 

Why do buildings contain asbestos?

Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s. It was used for a variety of purposes and was ideal for fireproofing and insulation. 

Within the University, asbestos can be found in:

  • thermal insulation - on pipes and boilers
  • insulation boards - for fire protection, or as thermal and acoustic insulation on walls, ceilings and structural steelwork
  • sprayed coatings - for fire protection on structural steelwork
  • ropes and yarns - as a sealing material or for filling gaps
  • asbestos cement - in wall claddings, partitions, roofing, or guttering

Asbestos may also be present in:

  • laboratories
  • inside old equipment such as ovens
  • furnaces
  • autoclaves
  • heat resistant mats

Visit the Health and Safety Executive's Asbestos Image Gallery for useful photographs. 

Contact us if you have any questions.