How much does asbestos air testing cost?

Asbestos air testing can be a crucial service for guarding against the risk asbestos can pose to human health. It involves a sample being taken of the air in a particular location, so that it can be determined whether the air contains asbestos fibres. Asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, arising from incidents of asbestos inhalation or ingestion, still cause around 5,000 deaths a year in the UK.

How much does asbestos air testing cost?

There are various circumstances in which you might conceivably seek out asbestos air testing. You might request it in the aftermath of accidental asbestos disturbance or asbestos removal work, in order to reassure yourself or others. Or you might arrange for it to happen during an activity where there could be an asbestos disturbance risk.

Asbestos air testing is also sometimes used to check whether the implemented control measures during asbestos work are safe for individuals nearby who are not directly involved in the work. Air testing can even be carried out on individual people, to monitor the air they are breathing in during an activity where asbestos may be involved.

Although there are various names applied to asbestos air testing – as we will list below – the method and approach is the same for all of them. However, it isn’t always obvious how much asbestos air testing is likely to cost. With that in mind, we have put together an in-depth guide to this topic.

What is asbestos air testing?

Whether it is referred to as “asbestos air testing” or “asbestos air monitoring”, it is a technical term that refers to the process of taking a sample of air in a chosen location. This allows it to be determined whether the air contains asbestos fibres that someone within that space could swallow or breathe in, with the associated potentially perilous health effects.

The broad process of asbestos air testing involves trained and certified analysts attending the given area and using specialist equipment to take samples of the air, followed by using a microscope to analyse the samples. It then becomes clear what the level of asbestos fibres is in the air at that location.

The types, or names, of asbestos air testing that you might have encountered include:

  • Asbestos background air testing, which is typically carried out during an activity where asbestos is present, or where there could be a risk of disturbance to asbestos
  • Asbestos reassurance air testing, which is meant to reassure people if there is reason to believe there could be dangerous airborne asbestos fibres in a given space
  • Asbestos personal air testing, which is carried out on a specific person. The monitoring of the personal air being breathed in during an activity potentially involving asbestos, can help ensure the control measures being used are adequate
  • Asbestos leak air testing, which is undertaken directly outside of an asbestos enclosure, to help ensure the safety of control measures for individuals who are not directly involved in the work
  • Asbestos clearance air testing, which forms part of the legally required four-stage clearance procedure for all licensed asbestos work within an enclosure. In cases where asbestos has been removed, it is a way of confirming that all targeted asbestos has actually been removed.

What factors affect the cost of asbestos air testing?

The prices that you can expect to pay for asbestos air testing can vary widely, and will depend on such factors as:

  • The type of test being conducted
  • The size and location of the property
  • The extent of the area to be tested
  • The urgency and timing of the test

Costs will almost certainly be higher if there is a need for after-hours service or expedited results.

The number of air tests carried out per day is a further factor that can impact on prices. This number is limited to the time allowed subject to the analyst. The Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) set out stringent criteria for this, as explained in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publication, Asbestos: The Analysts’ Guide, under the series code HSG248.

Each analyst is only permitted to conduct and analyse a maximum of 12 air tests per day. As a consequence of this, it is typical for air monitoring to be booked as a half day or a full day – so, up to six air tests for half a day, and up to 12 air tests if a full day is booked.

Personal air monitoring takes longer than other forms of asbestos air testing. This, combined with time constraints, means that when it comes to this type of air testing, a maximum of two tests is the norm for half a day, and four tests for a full day.

Putting aside the aforementioned difference between personal air testing and all other forms of asbestos testing, the specific type of air testing requested is not a great influence on the price. It is also not typical for the aforementioned maximum daily test numbers to be reached, as only the number required for a particular outcome is normally used.

The lead-in time for an asbestos air testing professional to be on-site is generally three to five days, although this timeframe can be reduced to as little as one day in emergencies. If, however, you request asbestos air testing on an emergency timescale, you can expect to have to pay more for this.

Asbestos air testing costs are generally lower, on a per-day or per-half-day basis, for larger-scale projects where multiple days and visits are required on the same site.

What is the average cost range for asbestos air testing in the UK?

When you are calculating how much you can expect to pay for asbestos air testing, the main factors will be whether you require this service on an emergency or out-of-hours basis.

If a professional of ours here at Oracle Solutions is already on your site to carry out other asbestos work for you, this could help drive down the cost of air testing. This could be the case if, for example, the surveyor already on your premises carrying out an asbestos survey is a qualified analyst with appropriate equipment.

With our service being a nationwide one, you can expect to pay the same price wherever you are on the UK mainland. However, in the event of us having analysts in your area at the time you request asbestos air testing from us, a discount will be applied.

As such, the costs in the below table set out the lowest or “from” prices, dependent upon analyst availability and whether the work is a large-scale project, given that multiple days on the same site will cost less on a per-day or per-half-day basis than our usual basic rate for a single visit.

Our emergency callout service is priced on the basis of one to three days’ site attendance. “Out of hours”, meanwhile, is defined as being outside our normal business hours of 09:00 and 17:30.

Asbestos air testing typeHalf day cost Full day cost
Non-emergency normal working hoursFrom £200 to £350From £400 to £450
Emergency normal working hoursFrom £250 to £400From £500 to £550
Non-emergency out of normal working hoursFrom £275 to £425From £550 to £750
Emergency out of normal working hoursFrom £350 to £475From £675 to £825

What services are included in the testing cost?

Our own fees for asbestos air testing are pretty much all-inclusive. They cover labour, travel, and incidentals, including analysis and document production. These elements cover 70% of the price, with materials and equipment accounting for the remaining 30%.

There is no laboratory involved in the analysis process for asbestos air testing; instead, the analyst simply reads the slides and produces the report detailing their findings.

Could you get financial assistance to cover the cost of asbestos air testing?

As we have previously written about here at Oracle Solutions, there is a general lack of grants available in the UK to cover the costs associated with asbestos work, such as testing and removal.

However, it could still be worth keeping an eye out for any local sources of financial assistance. Your local authority may make available grants or schemes. Government agencies or organisations may also offer health and safety grants, or you might be able to obtain a business grant or loan.

Consider, too, the role of tax relief. You might not have been aware that legislation passed in 2001 entitles a business to claim tax relief for asbestos removal or remediation work. 150% tax relief is available to businesses incurring expenditure on land remediation – in other words, the betterment of land from harmful contamination – and asbestos air testing can be included in this.

Click through to read more about this tax relief, and how to take advantage of it.

How do you choose an asbestos air testing provider?

Much of the advice we outlined in our guide to choosing an asbestos surveyor will also apply to the process of selecting an asbestos air testing specialist. Indeed, the best asbestos surveyor and asbestos air testing provider for your needs may turn out to be the same company, which might be prepared to offer you a discount on air testing if you request both services from them.

You should also check that the company you choose for asbestos air testing holds well-regarded accreditations and certifications, such as from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

In a field as specialised as asbestos – with the risks of harm to health being extremely high if you make the wrong choices – you should never prioritise low cost if this means compromising on the quality and accuracy of the given testing provider’s services.

After all, any failure to manage asbestos risks responsibly on your premises could also bring serious legal and financial consequences.

Conclusion: you should always prioritise quality and value over low cost

We hope this guide has helped enhance your understanding of the factors that can impact on the cost of asbestos air testing services – ranging from the size and location of the premises, right through to how urgent the request for testing is – as well as what prices you can expect for this service.

Asbestos testing will always play a critical role in ensuring a safe environment at sites where this dangerous substance may be present. Here at Oracle Solutions, we would always urge you to prioritise safety and compliance over immediate cost savings when you are comparing quotes for asbestos air testing providers.

To learn more about our own asbestos air testing services and to ask for a quote, please don’t hesitate to enquire to our team today.

Mark Carter

Written by Mark Carter

Mark Carter is a renowned expert in asbestos management, offering clients vital guidance on compliance and safety. His expertise is invaluable for navigating asbestos regulations, ensuring both safety and legal adherence. Mark's role is central in providing effective asbestos-related solutions, helping clients achieve their business objectives with an emphasis on regulatory compliance and safety in asbestos management.