I own a plot of land on which stand three garages, There is approximately 10m2 of asbestos cement corrugated roof on these garages (built in the late 1960s). Two of the panels are intact, but one has broken in half.

I would like to be a responsible landowner and make sure that I am fulfilling my legal duties but I am unsure where I stand. The garages are unoccupied, fenced off and on (my) private land, but no longer linked to or integral to a residence. There is also an access path which is required for me to enable access for two households to reach the rear of their gardens. The garages are approximately 2m away from this path.

Do the garages still count as a private dwelling, or does the duty to manage apply?

Any advice would be gratefully received. I have looked at the HSE website and because the garages are no longer linked to private residence I’m unclear as to where I stand.

  • Adam

    Hi Kati,

    I’m not really able to help you with the legal position re this roof nor the ramifications of any decisions/actions you do or do not take. What I can help with is some general advice on Asbestos.

    As a material it can be incredibly harmful but only when disturbed. In it’s corrugated sheet form it poses a low risk as it has only a small asbestos content and it is located outdoors. The real danger from asbestos comes from its prevalent use as an indoor building material throughout the 20th century. If it is drilled, sanded or otherwise dispersed in an enclosed environment then the exposure to and inhalation the fibres can pose serious health risks.

    It is a perfectly safe and acceptable material to continue to use as your garage roof. You are not endangering anyone but if the situation is bothering you then you could take action to replace the roof and put your mind at ease.

    It is possible for you to safely remove this asbestos yourself and dispose of it at your local council run refuse site (though I suggest you call them to double check) You will require a class P2 or P3 mask with filters to prevent exposure to the asbestos fibres as you break up the corrugated sheeting into double bagged, heavy duty polythene sacks (these are not bin bags or plastic bags. They must be very thick, heavy duty polythene often sold as rubble sacks in builders merchants) Tape them up with strong duck tape.

    Take the sheets down on a windy day and stay upwind of the sheets as you break them to fit into the bags. Because of the relatively low levels of asbestos bonded within cement corrugated boards you should be ok if you take these precautions. Ensure nobody else is in the vicinity as you carry out this work.

    This way you could dispose of the roof sheeting for the cost of some bags and a good mask. About £30-50 in total depending on your mask choice. Try screwfix for some good examples and the rubble sacks/tape.

    The other option is to have the roof removed by a licenced waste carrier although this can be expensive. If you opt for this do not allow yourself to be misled as to the danger posed by the corrugated sheets. It is the lowest risk of any asbestos product and its removal cost should reflect this. Obviously this route will require a new roof to be installed but corrugated sheeting can be purchased at competitive prices from a sheeting supplies business near you. Get the handyman of the family to get stuck in for the cost of a few beers and a good feed!

  • Kati Carter

    Many thanks for your considered answer Adam, much appreciated.

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