Asbestos in houses and flats before the 1960s

Mass use of asbestos predates the 1960s as can be seen with millions of asbestos garages roofs and industrial and farm buildings of asbestos construction throughout Britain going back close to 100 years.  Asbestos constructed prefabs and bungalows such as those lining the Thames in Shepperton are constructed of asbestos cement sheeting and more likely to be from the 1940s and 1950s. Public sector and council housing in the 1950s would often harbour asbestos materials and many 1940s and 50s Chessington houses have asbestos cement ceilings throughout the house.

Asbestos in 60’s and 70’s properties

Asbestos Survey, Surveyor, West Molesey

Asbestos insulation board lining to boiler door cupboard

There was extensive use in the 1950s but the 1960s and 70s are the biggest time for use of asbestos containing materials and sees an increase in use of higher risk materials such as asbestos insulations board. Not only properties built in these decades but also ones refurbished at this time are at risk of having asbestos present. We have seen numerous Georgian and Victorian mansion blocks and flats in Knightsbridge and Kensington with pipes lagged with asbestos running through the building installed in the in the 1960s and 70s.

We have carried out asbestos surveys and asbestos removal repeatedly in those areas where asbestos has been used extensively such as in Ham near Richmond, in West Molesey, Hersham and in some parts of Teddington. Many houses in these areas and others built in this era will have been built with asbestos used in multiple locations as a fire retardant, a bonding agent and to add tensile strength. We visit houses where little has been updated in the last 50 years and the asbestos is all still there to others where most of the asbestos materials have been removed as part of various refurbishment works. Part of our role is to identify what remains in situ and what asbestos has been removed and a to look at whether the offending material needs to go or can remain safely in the house or flat.

Do I need an Asbestos Survey of a 1960s or 70s House?

In properties of this era, almost inevitably any sale of a flat or house from a flat in Sutton to a detached house in a  private estate in Walton or Weybridge or Cobham will require an Asbestos Survey or sample of suspected asbestos carried out. Solicitors and Surveyors have become more proactive in picking this up over the last few years and understandably house buyers don’t want to buy a house where they are at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Unless fully refurbished in the past and all asbestos removed there is also likely to be a need to remove some of the asbestos where it represents a current or future risk.

Refurbishment of 1960s and 70s houses with possible asbestos present

It is essential that you carry out an asbestos refurbishment survey prior to works.  If you undertake works without this you are at risk of disturbing asbestos containing materials with a high risk of releasing asbestos fibres. Aside from the legal requirement to carry an asbestos refurbishment and demolition survey the risk to the health of the owners or tenants of the house, the builders or any other third party is too great if you do not know where asbestos is present. The primary reason for the survey is protect the health of any parties who may be exposed to asbestos. The survey will also allow you to factor any asbestos remedial works into your programme and into your budget and will avoid the need to stop works as the builders discover asbestos.

It is legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 that an asbestos survey is carried out in advance of refurbishment works. This is the case for properties built before 2000 when use of asbestos was prohibited.

Should I buy a 1960s or 1970s house or flat if there is asbestos present?

The costs of work to carry out remedial works where asbestos is present in a house may run in some cases to a few thousand pounds but are unlikely to make a massive dent in the budget given houses and flats across Surrey, Berkshire and London command such relatively high prices. More importantly for your safety it is important to take the necessary precautions and be fully aware where asbestos is present, what the risks are and what actions are required to ensure the property is safe. This is what we do and the reason for carrying out an asbestos survey before buying a property.

So get in contact with us today by calling  020 8288 4460 or email us on and move on with making the house or flat your own.