Asbestos is the common name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals used in construction products, such as acoustic and thermal insulation, up until 1999.
Asbestos and asbestos containing materials may mostly be found in buildings built or refurbished before blue and brown asbestos was banned in 1985. However, some asbestos containing materials such as asbestos cement, which contains white asbestos, were used up until 1999.
Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of many small fibres and may pose a risk if the dust containing these fibres is released into the air and inhaled by individuals. In order for this to occur the material must be disturbed or damaged. For this reason, in certain cases it is sometimes a safer option, to leave the asbestos in-situ than to disturb the material. Some damaged asbestos can be made safe by repair and maintenance, which could involve either sealing or enclosing it to prevent further damage.
Where asbestos cannot be easily repaired and protected it should be removed by someone who is trained and competent to carry out the task.
The State Claims Agency has developed an information booklet on asbestos for accommodation officers in State authorities.