Although it’s likely you’ve heard the name, you might not know what asbestos is or how it is used. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. It is a fibrous material that has been used in a variety of applications for over 4,000 years due to its qualities – it is strong, fire-resistant, sound-dampening, and heat-insulating. These properties made it a popular addition to many building materials used in the UK.
Until asbestos was banned in 1999, it was still present as a component in some materials. These range from spray-on fire coatings to insulation, floor tiles to wall panels. It is estimated that more than three-quarters of all UK schools have buildings with some type of asbestos (Department for Education, 2013). Asbestos was used in some modular building construction, too. The use of system buildings, such as CLASP, SCOLA, MACE, ONWARD, Method, SEAC, and others, allowed for quick construction of durable buildings. Many of these, as well as contractor systems, used asbestos containing materials in their construction.