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How Does Asbestos Sampling & Testing Work?

On this page we will explain how asbestos sampling and testing works. We will also cover what happens next if you have a positive test for asbestos.


Asbestos Sampling as the name suggests is when you give a sample of what you consider to be asbestos containing material and it is tested at a lab. The purpose of the test is to identify the quantity and the type of asbestos.

This can help you get a better idea of the project and also the immediate actions that need to be taken.

Can You Provide A Sample For Testing Yourself?

Technically, there is no law against taking a sample yourself and you will not require an asbestos license. However, we recommend that due to the health risks associated with asbestos that you get a professional team to take the sample for you.

Here at Asbestos Northampton, we are able to get a quick turnaround on any material that is believed to contain asbestos and get you a result within 24, 48 or 72 hours.

The other reason to get a professional to take the sample for you is because the suspected asbestos containing material will need to be analysed at a laboratory, we are able to provide this complete service and it will make it far easier for you.

What Is The Method Used To Detect Asbestos From A Sample?

When the sample is sent to the laboratory, they will identify using several different methods. Some of these methods include phase contrast polarised light microscopy (PLM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Other techniques include x-ray diffraction (XRD) and even infrared spectroscopy (IRS).

Will You Need A Big Sample For Asbestos Sampling & Testing?

No, in most cases even a sample size of a small coin will be enough to give you a representation of the asbestos containing material that surrounds it.

Obviously if the presence of asbestos is detected then the surrounding area will be treated.

How Do You Detect Asbestos Fibres?

This is carried out at the laboratory using some of the methods above and will require direct microscopic examination.

What Are Common Scenarios When You Would Need Asbestos Sampling?

Building inspections: This is the most common reason for asbestos sampling. To double check the status of a building structure - you can also have re-inspections if needed.

Renovation or demolition projects: This is needed for demolition and refurbs. It is important to make sure that there is no asbestos before carrying out these tasks.

Verification of asbestos removal: As taking a sample is quicker - this can be a time and money saver. It can also give you peace of mind as you will know there is no trace of asbestos. This is normally called an Asbestos Re-inspection.

Litigation: To gather evidence in asbestos-related lawsuits.

Occupational health and safety: To monitor asbestos exposure levels for workers in high-risk industries, such as construction and demolition.

What Happens If the Asbestos Sampling and Testing Comes Back Positive?

If you have the presence of asbestos, then the next course of action will depend on the condition of the asbestos. This may include management but is more likely to be removed.

Obviously, when you go to have asbestos removed you will want to make sure that you get a reputable company to carry out the job.

How Much Does Asbestos Sampling Cost?

To collect a sample to test for asbestos will vary.

It depends on how quick you will need the result from the lab sent back to you.

It will also depend on the size, age and type of property as well as how difficult it is to obtain a sample.

What To Do Next?

If you need asbestos sampling and testing contact us today and we will be able to give you a free quote. We also offer very fast turnaround times to be able to get the results back to you. You will be able to choose from 24-, 48- or 72-hour result times.

Got more questions about Asbestos Sampling?

Click here to contact us and we will be pleased to help at Asbestos Northampton…

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