The asbestos removal process

The Downwell Group provide asbestos removal as part of our environmental services through Inner City Environmental.

The asbestos removal process is strictly adhered to and Inner City have a 3 year HSE Licence.

Asbestos Removal Process

The asbestos removal process  is as follows:

Asbestos enclosures

Asbestos fibre release is controlled during the removal process by the construction of sealed enclosures.

The enclosures are constructed usually by a timber framework. 1000g polyethene is applied to the frame with joints and seams sealed with special spray tac adhesive and tape.

The entry point is in three stages and allows the asbestos operative to decontaminate before leaving to go into a mobile decontamination facility.

Waste materials also go a three-stage lock where double bagging of waste occurs before it leaves an enclosure.

Negative pressure is placed on the enclosures. This enables the air to be changed a minimum of eight times in an hour.

Negative pressure measures are used to reduce fibres within the enclosure. Additionally, it acts as a special control measure should the sheeting split during removal works accidentally. Fibres are drawn inwards instead of escaping outside. 

Smoke tests confirm the integrity of the enclosure before removal works commence. 

Operatives decontamination process

Disposable clothing is worn during live works in an enclosure. Colour coding is used to differentiate where it should be worn:

  • Red  – worn in “LIVE” enclosures 
  • Blue  – transiting to and from the enclosure. Transporting double-bagged materials from the enclosure to a waste bin fitted with a lockable lid.
  • White – general usage

Mobile units are used for the decontamination of asbestos operatives. 

Self-contained decontamination units have built-in showers, water filtration systems for wastewater and negative pressure units.

Sealed lockable waste skip are safely store double bagged waste materials before transporting to landfill sites where all the waste is buried under license.

Removal Methods

Wetting techniques are used using injection through needles or spraying. Encapsulation is another method using a sealant which is applied using a brush or roller. When the sealant dries, it forms a protective rubber coating.

During removal, asbestos is sprayed with dust suppressant liquids before removal. The liquid reduces and ensures airborne fibre release is below the protection limits of the operative’s breathing respirator during the asbestos removal process.

All resultant waste materials are single bagged in red asbestos waste bags before being wiped down and double bagged in the bag lock. The waste bags are clear.


After the encapsulation or removal of the asbestos material, the surfaces within the enclosure are cleaned environmentally to remove any debris or residue deposits. The area within an enclosure is vacuumed and cleaned. The supervisor then inspects the enclosure visually before passing it over to a UKAS accredited lab who will issue the certificate of reoccupation process.

The Certificate of Reoccupation

There are four stages involved which are

  • 1: All paperwork and documentation is checked
  • 2: Unless encapsulated the enclosure a visual check of the enclosure is carried out to ensure no asbestos is present and the level of cleanliness required has been achieved
  • 3: Air test quality testing is carried out to check the air quality within the enclosure is below the clearance level
  • 4: Plant and equipment are removed, and the enclosure sheeting is dismantled. 

For more information on Environmental and Asbestos removal services
Tel: 01322 273517 or visit

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A guide to the asbestos removal process

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement - Wednesday 25th March

The Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening signalled the introduction of more stringent restrictions on us all and has specifically indicated that members of the public should only leave their home for very limited purposes. The message indicates that we should travel to and from work, only where this is absolutely necessary.

The management of the Downwell Group of companies which includes: Downwell Demolition, Inner City Environmental and Inner City Scaffolding has very carefully considered both the meaning and the spirit of the Prime Minister’s statement and whilst there has been some clarification from government subsequently that building sites could continue to operate, we came to the very clear decision yesterday that it was necessary for us, as a responsible contractor, to safely and securely close down our operational sites as soon as reasonably possible. Doing so will assist in maintaining the wellbeing of our customers, employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and the wider communities within which we build.

All sites have been closed down in a safe and secure manner and will remain closed until further notice.

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the key workers on the frontline who are continiung working for the good of us all.