Asbestos Removal Cost Guide in the UK for 2023The ultimate guide to the cost of removing asbestos in the UK. What you can expect to pay and why the price is what it is.
This article will show you what to expect when you pay for the removal of asbestos. It will detail the real costs of removing asbestos and introduce you to all the different elements with associated with its removal that have an impact on its cost and how much you will pay.
Asbestos removal is a very complex undertaking. There are so many different types of asbestos that it is impossible to give an absolute detailed cost and price analysis of every type of removal situation which you may encounter. The idea behind this article is to answer the question that is always asked “why does it cost so much to remove asbestos, why does the price seem high?”
We are going to use a full and complete example of a real removal project. This will give you details of how the removal work was undertaken and what you can expect. It will show you what is involved in the whole removal process from quotation stage through to the actual removal and final disposal of the asbestos materials.
By looking at a particular project in this way you will be able to see where the costs to remove asbestos are coming from. You will then be able to understand what the costs include and why the price may be higher than you expected.
The asbestos removal project
This asbestos removal project was priced for, and the order received from the customer in early February 2021. This removal project was undertaken in March 2021. The project was completed the same month, and the customer was happy with the results.
Within this article is a breakdown of costs for the project. The cost breakdown for the removal of asbestos gives a percentage of what each item is against the cost. This will let you see how the costs are put together and why removal costs can be expensive. Before you get to the cost breakdown the following sections give you all the detail that makes up the cost for the project.
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What to Expect
The following information has been based around a specific project. However you can expect the same processes and actions on almost all removal projects that you may be planning. There may be some slight differences dependant upon the requirements of the project and the type of asbestos.
The price / cost was £12,880. What was the project?
The project was:
- 125 m2 Asbestos insulating board ceilings in various locations to be removed
- The site was a set of commercial offices based in London
- Oracle were asked to supply welfare facilities
- The customer was to supply power and water
The customer had an asbestos survey which detailed the asbestos and what needed to be included in the removal. This survey was sent to our removals cost department and a quotation was requested.
As the survey was very detailed and the customer provided lots of detail including photographs a site visit at this stage was not required.
The cost of the removal was sent the same day. The cost to remove asbestos was accepted two days later, and the project moved into the planning stage.
This is where the breakdown of the costs start to come together. The following sections details all the costs and how they make up the price of this removal project.
The planning stage
The asbestos removal was a licensed activity. This was due to the asbestos removal being insulating board which is a licensed asbestos material.
With licensed asbestos removal there is a requirement to undertake a site visit for the purposes of detailing the asbestos removal requirements and any other associated risks or challenges which need to be addressed before the asbestos removal is undertaken.
The asbestos removal must have a sufficient plan of works and method statement compiled to detail how the asbestos removal will be completed safely.
The asbestos removal must then be notified to the HSE. This is a legal requirement and is undertaken by completing the appropriate form. For licensed asbestos removal. This form is called an ASB5.
All equipment, materials, appropriate waste disposal and required clearance testing must be ordered and planned for the agreed times and dates.
All the above was undertaken by senior management.
Overview of what is included within the cost for asbestos removal planning:
- Site visit for gathering details on the asbestos removal – 4 hours (Including Travel)
- Preparation of asbestos removal plan of works – 2 hours (Including quality check)
- Preparation of site-specific risk assessments – 1.5 hours
- Notification using ASB5 – 0.5 hours
- Ordering and organising all equipment, materials, and testing – 2 hours
Total time of a senior manager to plan the asbestos removal = 10 hours
The sum allowed within the removal cost is under “Overheads” within the cost detail table.
The site set up stage
The date will have been booked and the relevant removal team will have been spoken to and will know what the project involves. The first day of the project the removal team will go to the Oracle office and warehouse to collect all the documentation, equipment, and materials. They will then make their way to site for the specified and agreed time.
Once on site, the removal team will introduce themselves to the site contact and discuss the project requirements. On this project, the removal team was a four-man team, with one being a high-level supervisor. The supervisor will always take charge and ensure the rest of the team know what is required and that they undertake the works in a suitably safe manner.
The following will happen when the removal team get to site:
- Sign into site where needed and ensure they know any relevant H&S procedures.
- Undertake a full review of all documentation and sign.
- Ensure the documentation is correct and in line with the agreed asbestos removal.
- Set up the welfare facilities. Welfare facilities are a legal requirement and must be adequate for the teams’ size and the length of the project.
- Set up the asbestos decontamination facilities. This will be an asbestos decontamination unit (DCU)
- Put up all required signage and barriers to ensure good access and egress from the work area.
- Ensure that the areas where asbestos removal is to take place has been emptied of all possible items, fixtures, and fittings.
The cost for the removal site set up stage within the removal quote falls under the removal team element cost and the equipment element cost.
The asbestos removal working area
Prior to constructing the enclosure, the removal team will where required undertake pre cleaning of the work area utilising asbestos “H” type vacuum cleaners and other dustless methods.
The following will happen during the working area construction:
- Where needed a timber framework will be constructed.
- 1000-gauge polythene will be used to form the floor, walls, and ceiling of the enclosure.
- The polythene of the enclosure will be held in place by utilising staples, cloth tape and spray tac.
- For entry and exit from the enclosure for the removal team a three-stage air lock system will be constructed.
- The air lock system will be constructed using metal framed cubes which will be sealed with polythene, tape and spray tac.
- In addition to the personnel three stage airlock there will be another three-stage airlock system which will be used to remove asbestos from the enclosure.
- Once the asbestos enclosure is constructed and the airlock systems have been attached the enclosure then needs air extraction equipment fitted.
- This specialist air extraction equipment produces a negative pressure within the removal area so that air is drawn into the area and asbestos dust is prevented from escaping.
- On completion of the main asbestos removal enclosure, air lock systems and air extraction equipment the whole set up is tested by releasing smoke within the area. The smoke acts as a test to see how airtight the removal area is and how well the air management system is operating.
- Once the enclosure, airlock systems and air management system has been successfully tested the removal work may begin.
For more information on asbestos removal enclosure construction see our asbestos insulation board removal article.
The cost for the working area stage within the removal quote falls under the removal teams element cost, the removal equipment element cost, and the materials element cost.
The removal of asbestos
The removal team will get changed from street clothes into disposable coveralls and appropriate full face positive pressure powered respirators. They will change within the asbestos decontamination unit and make their way to the asbestos removal enclosure. They will follow all procedures and enter the asbestos removal enclosure through the three-stage airlock. Once within the enclosure they can start to undertake the removal of the agreed asbestos.
The following will happen during the removal phase:
- The fixing points of the asbestos which will be either screws or nails will be located.
- Careful unscrewing or cutting near nails on the asbestos will take place.
- During all works asbestos “H” type asbestos vacuums will be used. In addition, careful spraying of asbestos fibre suppressant fluid is used to keep airborne asbestos dust to a minimum during the removal pf the asbestos.
- Asbestos boards are removed and carefully handled.
- As each section of asbestos is removed it is placed within asbestos waste bags or sealed within polythene sheeting.
- The above continues until all main areas of asbestos have been removed.
- The removed asbestos which is bagged or wrapped is carefully treated and double wrapped prior to removing from the enclosure through the waste air locks.
- All waste is taken by the outside asbestos removal operative or supervisor and placed within the special asbestos waste container ready for disposal.
The cost for the removal stage within the quote falls under the removal team element cost, the equipment element cost, and the materials element cost.
The final clean up
Once all the main sections of asbestos have been removed and they have been taken from the removal area ready for disposal the fine clean of the area must be undertaken.
The following will happen during the final clean of the area:
- The entire area is carefully cleaned section by section to remove any remaining asbestos dust or debris.
- The asbestos removal operatives will utilise dustless methods for the removal clean such as tac rags and “H” type asbestos vacuum cleaners.
- The operatives undertake this fine cleaning one small area at a time and work in a systematic way to ensure every single area of the removal work area is cleaned.
- On completion of this cleaning process the supervisor undertakes a visual inspection.
- The supervisor will also ensure all asbestos associated waste has been removed from the work area and has been stored adequately in the asbestos waste container.
- Once the supervisor is satisfied that all asbestos has been removed and all associated asbestos dust and debris has been removed the asbestos removal enclosure is ready for the final four stage clearance procedure.
The cost for the final clean stage within the quote falls under the removal team element cost, the removal equipment element cost, and the materials element cost.
The final clearance test
As part of the legal requirements with licensed asbestos removal the 4-stage clearance is a vital step. This must be undertaken by an independent, fully qualified and UKAS accredited analyst. The removal team must work hand in hand with the analyst to ensure that this stage of the asbestos removal work is undertaken without hindrance.
The 4-stage asbestos removal clearance procedure includes:
Stage 1: Preliminary check of site condition and job completeness
The analyst will establish the scope of work and ascertain whether it has been carried out accordingly. They will also check the site files to ensure all associated information is present and up to date.
Once complete they will then conduct a visual assessment of the site to check that the asbestos removal enclosure is intact, that the site decontamination unit is operational and the work area, transit and waste routes are free from unnecessary clutter and any obvious contamination that has arisen as a result of the work.
Once they are happy these conditions are met and that they can begin an inspection of the asbestos removal work enclosure they sign off and move onto stage two.
Stage 2: A thorough visual inspection inside the asbestos removal enclosure/work areas
Initially, the analyst will inspect the work area to check for any residual asbestos material or fallen debris, but all areas of the asbestos enclosure, including the airlocks and bag locks are inspected for debris and dust.
Microscopic asbestos contamination is easily spread within the removal enclosure during the removal process, so it is important to inspect all surfaces within the work area to ensure they have been suitably cleaned.
Once deemed clean to a suitable standard, the analyst can move onto stage three. If deemed not to a suitable cleanliness then the removal contractor will undertake further cleaning until the analyst is satisfied.
Stage 3: Air monitoring
Testing and analysis for asbestos fibres (including asbestiform fibres that fit the respirable criteria) is then carried out. The asbestos work enclosure is brushed at the start of the sample run to disturb any unseen fine settled dust that is likely to contain asbestos fibres. Such dust could give rise to high levels of exposure during the dismantling of the enclosure or subsequent cleaning/maintenance activities in the work area.
Samples are collected on filters which are removed from the enclosure and counted on-site using PCM (Phase Contrast Microscopy). Should the air tests be assessed as suitably clean, stage 3 can be signed of ready for the dismantling of the removal enclosure.
Stage 4: Final assessment post-enclosure/work area dismantling
This is a ‘backstop’ to check for any asbestos materials released as the removal enclosure is taken down. It’s possible they were trapped within the folds of the enclosure material for example.
The analyst will check the more general work for any residual problems, including a revisit of the transit and waste routes.
Minor issues can normally be cleaned easily before the fourth stage is completed, but in extreme (and very rare) cases, the enclosure may need to be reinstated and the work redone.
Once all four stages are complete, and only after the fourth stage is signed off, a certificate of reoccupation is issued.
The cost for the final clearance test removal stage within the quote falls under the removal team element cost and the asbestos testing element cost.
The disposal of the removed asbestos
During the asbestos removal processes, it is important that the asbestos waste arising form the works is treated correctly. This waste includes the asbestos, any cleaning materials, any disposable protective clothing and any asbestos filters from respirators and air moving equipment. In addition, all asbestos removal enclosure materials are disposed of as asbestos waste and must be removed from site. All asbestos waste must be adequately double sealed and placed within a sealed asbestos waste container.
The asbestos waste container is then removed from site and taken to an asbestos waste transfer station ready for final disposal at an asbestos landfill site.
The cost for the disposal asbestos removal stage within the asbestos removal quote falls under the asbestos removal team element cost and the asbestos waste element cost.
Finalising the removal project
Once the project is at an end and all of the asbestos has been removed, the four-stage clearance procedure had been successful and the asbestos removal enclosure has been taken away the site is ready for handover to the customer.
The site handover will be once the asbestos waste container has been removed or removal has been arranged. The supervisor will have left all areas clean and tidy and have removed all materials and equipment and will be ready to leave site.
The supervisor will hand over a reoccupation certificate to the customer and walk through the area where the asbestos has been removed. All asbestos operatives will then leave site ensuring no equipment or materials remain.
The customer will be sent a full and comprehensive report within a few days. This report should be retained by the customer for future reference.
The cost for the finalising asbestos removal stage within the quote falls under the removal team element cost and the overheads element cost.
Cost of removing asbestos
The following table details the six main cost centres which make up the price to remove asbestos. Every project is very different. The aim of the guide is to allow you to view a price you are given and be able to determine how that cost is made up. It is also designed to enable you to understand why the cost to remove asbestos is what it is. For detailed information on each cost centre you can review each section in the below cost guide. There is naturally some overlap between cost centres. For example, the cost of asbestos waste disposal will include some materials such as asbestos waste bags.
Total Removal Project Cost: £12,880
|Cost Associated Item:||Cost For This Project:||Guide To % of Cost:|
|1) Cost: Overheads & Profit:||£3,485||27%|
|2) Cost: Removal Team / Labour:||£4,800||37%|
|3) Cost: Removal Materials:||£1,170||10%|
|4) Cost: Removal Equipment:||£1,480||11%|
|5) Cost: Removal Required Testing:||£495||4%|
|6) Cost: Removal of Asbestos Waste:||£1,450||11%|
Cost & Pricing Centres
Below are the six main cost centres when it comes to the removal of asbestos price. The cost centres have been based on the project that we have chosen as our example. The percentages against each cost and price centre will be very similar across most removal projects. This gives a good guide which can be used to assess removal quotes.
Overheads & profit – what’s included
The overheads of a company will vary dependent upon the size and complexity of the organisation. However, it is many of these costs that customers do not realise have an affect on cost of removing asbestos. The following are just some of the items which are needed in the background for a reputable and quality asbestos removal company to operate. A lot of overhead costs such as insurance, training and H&S are ongoing costs and require updating annually. They are not one-off costs. Asbestos insurance in particular for the correct level can cost in excess of £100,000 per year for an average sized asbestos removal company.
- Office, IT, and administration including running costs
- Quality and H&S departments (Including adhoc site visits during asbestos removal)
- Asbestos removal insurance
- Asbestos removal licenses and other associated certification
- Management and support staff
- Staff training and ongoing competency checks for asbestos removal (Ongoing & Annual)
- Staff training for First Aid, High Level Work, H&S & other as required (ongoing & Annual)
- Staff medicals, face fit testing and
- Vans, cars, fuel, and insurance
Based on all the overheads, we have looked at the average asbestos removal company size and have estimated an average percentage of overheads against an asbestos removal project.
The average percentage of overhead and profit for an asbestos removal project is 27% of the total removal cost.
Team / labour – what’s included
The cost of labour on any asbestos removal project is one of the main costs. The ongoing high level of training and medical surveillance is covered under the overheads section. Removal of asbestos is a hard and hazardous job. Due to this asbestos removal operatives and supervisors demand and are paid a premium.
In the UK right now the average daily rate for a member of an removal team is £160 per shift. This is an average across lower paid operatives and higher paid supervisors / site managers.
On a licensed asbestos removal project, it is a requirement to have a supervisor who is outside of the main work area to ensure everything is being undertaken correctly. This means that the supervisor is not actually hands on involved in the removal of the asbestos.
For the project we are looking at the team of operatives required to complete the asbestos removal is 4. You must then include the supervisor. That is a total team of 5. Then you must add in the national insurance and pension contributions.
This means that on this removal project and as an average for these types of projects, the percentage of cost towards labour is 37% of the total removal cost.
Materials – what’s included
When it comes to materials for the removal of asbestos, the cost is primarily due to the fact that all materials used will need to be disposed of as asbestos waste. There are many materials used in an asbestos project. These materials include construction materials, cleaning materials, waste bagging materials, filters for RPE and filters for air movement. There is far to many items to list. Here is a good example of single use materials which you are likely to find on a removal project. The cost includes for multiple items dependant on the size of the project.
- Heavy duty polythene
- Heavy duty asbestos waste sacks
- Corex sheeting
- Timber and wood sheeting
- Cloth tape
- Warning tape and barrier tape
- Disinfectant and bleach
- Spray tac and expanding foam
- PVA sealant
- Asbestos removal fibre suppressant
- Staples, screws, nails and other fixings
- RPE filters for half and full face
- Asbestos filters for air movement equipment
- Water and air filters for DCU
- Shower gel, nail brushes and disposable towels
- Disposable boxer shorts and socks (x6 per man per day)
- Disposable overalls (x6 per man per day)
- Cleaning clothes and surface cleaner
- H Type vacuum bags
For the removal project we have looked at and as an average for the removal of asbestos projects the percentage of cost towards materials is 10% of the total removal cost. This can increase dependent upon the type of asbestos and if encapsulation is required.
Equipment – what’s included
When it comes to equipment, the cost is primarily due to the life of the equipment being used. Generally, a cost will be allocated per day against each job dependent upon the expected lifespan of the piece of equipment. For specialist equipment then there will be hire charges which need to be allocated. There are many items of equipment used in a removal project. Although the type and number of equipment items used during removal of the asbestos will vary, here is a good example of standard pieces of equipment that you will see on a project of this size and type.
- Decontamination unit with generator & gas
- H type vacuums (usually 1 per operative), with hoses and attachments
- Wet vacuums with hoses and attachments
- Negative pressure units / air movement
- Vision panels and signage
- Airless sprayers / mechanical
- Smoke machine with smoke canisters
- Reciprocating saws
- Battery drills
- CCTV kits – for monitoring works (this is a requirement)
- Two-way radios, horns, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, spill kits
- Metal airlock systems
- Hand tools including large surface scraper
- Scaffold towers and access equipment
The list is far larger for other minor items. For the removal project we have looked at and as an average for the removal of asbestos projects, the percentage of cost towards equipment is 11% of the total removal cost. This can increase dependent upon the type of asbestos and if encapsulation is required.
Asbestos required testing – what’s included
For a licensed asbestos removal project, the minimum testing requirement is for a four-stage clearance to be undertaken by an independent UKAS accredited consultant. If there are multiple areas, then multiple tests may be required.
Additional air monitoring is sometimes required, and this again increases the overall cost of testing. On the project, we have looked at and as an average with removal projects ,the percentage of cost towards testing is 4% of the total removal cost. This can increase dependent upon the type of asbestos and size of project.
Asbestos waste – what’s included
For asbestos removal projects over a certain size it is essential to have an asbestos waste container on site. Smaller projects mean that waste can be taken away in specialist compartments within the work van. However, these are very small projects with very few asbestos waste bags.
With an asbestos waste container, the cost is made up of:
- Hire of the container
- Delivery and haulage of the container
- The cost of disposal which includes landfill tax
- Waste consignment note
Asbestos waste is very expensive and is highly taxed. It is the weight of the waste that determines the cost.
On the removal project, we have looked at and as an average with asbestos removal projects, the percentage of cost towards asbestos waste disposal is 11% of the total removal cost. This can increase dependent upon the type of asbestos and size of project.
For a fast & free asbestos quote call
0844 800 0801 or request your quote online.
Providing a Nationwide Service From Our Strategically Placed Offices Throughout the UK
Additional Resources About Asbestos Costs
For more information about asbestos removal, the types of removals, and costs see our growing resource of removal related information.
- Asbestos Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Artex Removal (Textured Coating) Cost Guide
- Asbestos Bitumen Glue Adhesive Removal Cost
- Asbestos Boiler & Flue Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Ceilings & Ceiling Tile Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Cement Roof Sheeting & Wall Cladding Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Cement Water Tank Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Floor Tile Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Garage Roof Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Insulating Board Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Pipe Insulation & Lagging Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Roof Tile Removal Cost Guide
- Asbestos Soffits & Fascia’s Removal Cost Guide
- How much does an asbestos survey cost?
If you're looking for general asbestos removal information, then take a look at our asbestos removal service page.
Disclaimer: Any prices outlined within these cost guides may vary from time to time dependant upon market fluctuations or project complexities. Always seek a specific price and quotation for your particular requirements. These costs are for guidance purposes only.
Written by Jess Scott
Jess Scott has been an all-round asbestos consultant since 1996. That’s nearly 3 decades of asbestos knowledge. He spends his time sharing that knowledge with the team at Oracle and with their clients. Jess's goal is, and always has been, to use my expertise in helping people to comply with the law. This legal compliance ultimately helps to protect everyone from the harmful effects of asbestos. Jess has acted as an asbestos expert witness in legal cases and is involved in many asbestos educational activities throughout the UK.