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When Was Asbestos Used In Buildings UK

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  • Admin
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  • Asbestos, Tiles, Homes, Properties, Insulation
  • Posted date:
  • 29-11-2022
When Was Asbestos Used In Buildings UK

When was asbestos used in buildings in the UK? Find out more about why asbestos was used to build homes and why asbestos was banned in UK construction?

When was asbestos banned in the UK?

Surprisingly, asbestos was not actually completely banned in the UK until the year 1999. Initially, back in 1985, the original asbestos prohibition laws were brought in, and the UK started to ban the import and use of blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos. After this, it took more than a decade before the UK government decided to finally ban the use and import of white chrysotile asbestos. This was done in 1999.

Asbestos was widely used in properties, especially houses, before the UK banned the use of it in 1999. In fact, experts have estimated that as many as fifty percent of homes that were built before 1999 might still contain asbestos. Some older homes can still contain Artex, which was still being produced with white asbestos right up until the middle of the 1980s.

Asbestos floor and ceiling tiles were also incredibly widespread and popular through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. So it is highly likely that any older properties that have not had any large-scale renovations will still have these materials contained within the property's floors or ceilings.

However, any new build homes that were constructed after 1999 should not have any asbestos materials contained within them at all, as by this time, the UK had completely banned the use of all asbestos.

Is Asbestos Awareness A Legal Requirement?

Why was asbestos used to build homes?

Asbestos has been used in a huge range of different building types, but it was especially popular for being implemented into the house construction process. Asbestos use was at its highest between the 1950s and the 1970s.

When Was Asbestos Used In Buildings UK?

At the time, asbestos was often spoken about as being a wonder product, and builders would often regularly go to their suppliers to acquire asbestos for all kinds of projects. 

This includes homes, schools, office buildings, and hospitals. Almost every type of building. If a property was built before 1980, then there is a good chance that asbestos was used within the building structure.

During this time, there was a good reason for the heavy use of asbestos. The material has so many different unique properties that made it absolutely perfect for being used in construction. Firstly, asbestos was great for insulation. 

Asbestos is fantastic for keeping the heat trapped in due to the air between the asbestos fibres slowing down the transfer of warmth. In addition to this, asbestos is also completely fire-resistant. 

This means that asbestos is ideal for fire safety doors and other areas within a property where you would particularly want to prevent the spread of a fire. Asbestos is also resistant to water, as well as various other chemicals. The material is highly cheap to produce too.

Why was asbestos banned in the UK?

Although the dangers of asbestos to our health may seem very clear and obvious these days, it took decades for the material to be finally banned here in the UK.

Why was asbestos banned in the UK?

The early cases of asbestos-related diseases were noted in the 1900s, and the first official case of asbestosis was noted in the 1920s. Even early scientific studies show that there is a clear correlation between being exposed to asbestos and the development of an asbestos-related disease. 

But even with these findings, asbestos continued to be used for several decades. Any warnings from scientists about the dangers of asbestos were ignored by the UK government.

If you can believe it, by the time the 1960s came around, and all through the 1970s, the UK was importing around 170,000 tonnes worth of asbestos. All while ignoring the clear evidence that showed this substance was dangerous to health. 

As the 1970s went on, it became more and more clear that cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases were only rising more and more across the UK. It was becoming common for people to get ill and die as a result of being exposed to asbestos during years previous.

It was at this point that the UK government could not ignore the evidence anymore and realised that action needed to be taken. The use of asbestos needed to be controlled, and asbestos might even need to be banned completely. It was also decided that hospitals needed to provide treatment for people affected by exposure to asbestos.

However, it took until 1999 for the UK government to finally ban the importation and use of all forms of asbestos.

Do people's homes still contain asbestos?

Do people's homes still contain asbestos?

Homes in the UK that were constructed before the UK asbestos ban that took place in November of 1999 could very likely still have asbestos within the property. 

This is especially true for homes that date back to before 1985. This is because asbestos was used very widely up until this point, when a partial asbestos ban was put into place.

In 1985, the use of amosite (also known as brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos) was banned. 

Unfortunately, it was not until 1999 that the use of chrysotile (white asbestos) was also banned in the UK. This meant a complete and total ban on all importing, manufacturing, and usage of asbestos in the UK.

Chrysotile was by far the most popular and commonly used type of asbestos in the UK construction field, and this is why older buildings that were constructed before the year 1999 are most likely to contain the dangerous and hazardous material in some way.

Where might I find asbestos in my home?

Are you wondering whether your home that was built before 1999 contains asbestos? Are you curious as to where in your home the asbestos might be located>

Well, there are plenty of spaces in a property where asbestos may have been used, so it is always worth the effort of conducting a visual inspection. Under no circumstances should you physically handle or touch any material that you suspect may be asbestos or contain asbestos.

Below are some common asbestos-containing materials that can commonly be found in older properties:


 Insulating Boards

 Textured or Sprayed Coatings (such as Artex)

 Loose Insulation

 Ceiling Tiles

 Floor Tiles

 Roof Tiles

 Asbestos Cement (walls, outbuildings)

 Sink Pads

 Pipe Lagging


 Rainwater Goods

 Soffits and Fascias

 Toilet Seats


 Window Cills

 Electrical Panels

If you want to know whether there is asbestos in your home or you have found a material that you suspect might contain asbestos and want to know for certain, then we would recommend getting in touch with a professional asbestos consultant or surveyor. 

They can take a look at your property and conduct an inspection. They can any material that is suspected of containing asbestos.

 Are you looking for asbestos training in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire? For any extra information regarding asbestos training, you can follow the links below to find out more: