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Management of Asbestos Containing Materials

The use of asbestos and ‘asbestos-containing materials’ (ACMs) was widespread in building work from the 1930s to 1999.  Since 1999 the European Union and the UK have banned all import and use of asbestos in building work. Asbestos products are still used in some applications (e.g. heat proof mats). 

The presence of asbestos within a building does not necessarily present a risk; it is only when asbestos is physically disturbed, or is in poor condition, that harm can be caused. It is therefore important that the requirements detailed on this page are followed to ensure ACMs are not present or impacted by any work being carried out.


Asbestos in University buildings is managed by the Asbestos and Fire Information Team (AFIT) in the Facilities Directorate. Part of the work carried out by AFIT is to assess the risk from any asbestos present in our buildings and remove any asbestos presenting a risk. 

It is essential for everyone to take steps to ensure asbestos is not disturbed.  Asbestos may be found in textured wall coverings (e.g. Artex), pipe lagging, fire-resistant boarding/blankets, lift shaft linings, partition walls, panels below/to the side of windows, soffits, ceiling tiles and guttering (however please note this is not an exhaustive list). 

Discovery or disturbance of asbestos

  • If asbestos is discovered unexpectedly or disturbed, any material should be left in situ and the emergency procedure followed.
  • Asbestos is most likely to be disturbed when work interferes with the fabric of the building e.g. drilling or cutting into walls or larger scale refurbishment and demolition.  All work carried out by Estates Services (including by contractors) includes an assessment of the risk to any asbestos.
  • Any work involving interference with the fabric of the building which is arranged by other Services or Faculties/Schools must be approved through the Minor Works Approval Process. 
  • It is important that walls, window frames and ceiling panels are not damaged through the use of Blu Tac, drawing pins, nails etc. to hang up pictures, posters or decorations because of the risk of disturbing asbestos. 

Frequently asked questions

There could be asbestos in my building – am I at risk?

Asbestos which is intact is unlikely to be a risk. Asbestos in University properties is managed by the AFIT team and any found in poor condition is removed or made safe. 

Do I need training for recognising and avoiding the risks from asbestos?

A matrix of training requirements accompanies this protocol. If you believe you are in a role which requires training in asbestos awareness, please speak to your line manager. 

I may have found asbestos in some equipment, what should I do?

Contact the AFIT Team in the Facilities Directoriate who will be able to assist you: 0113 343 5994 or

How do I arrange minor works e.g to drill an item to a wall?

Complete Appendix 1 of the Contractor Safety Protocol (Application for approval of works of a minor nature). Submit this form to the Facilities Directorate Helpdesk You will then be informed of the application outcome.

I believe contractors have disturbed asbestos – what should I do?

Contractor work is planned to remove risks of disturbing asbestos. However, if you are concerned, please contact AFIT on 0113 343 5994 or

Asbestos removal is happening in my building – am I safe?

Asbestos removal work is carried out by licenced contractors who follow a strict safe working procedure. If any action is required by building occupants it will be communicated directly. 


Asbestos resources and forms

Downloadable document library