Church buildings are open to the public and this means that under the ‘Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012’ you have a legal responsibility to identify and manage materials that may contain asbestos. These materials are not always obvious and in some cases can be hidden from view. Asbestos could be in Artex decorative coatings installed up to the mid 1980s, in the vinyl asbestos floor tiles common in the 1950s and 60s, even in some plastic WC cisterns and the bituminous damper pads under stainless steel sink tops!
In most of these cases the asbestos is encapsulated by the material in which it was used as a filler, this sort of material is usually seen as a low risk as long as it remains intact but it’s worth having it checked so as to be prepared in case of future alterations.
If your church has an organ it may well have asbestos sound proofing within the electric blower box like the one in the picture below. These materials present a greater risk as the asbestos fibres can be sucked into the blower and passed through the organ pipes into the rest of the building. If you haven’t had this checked already you should appoint a qualified surveyor to look into this for you.
We have further details within our briefing papers on the Responsibilities of managing asbestos in church building downloadable here.