Collapsed plaster ceiling in room of a flat

The Flat is built in UK London between 1900-1929.

The ceiling is smooth, and from the looks of it, the plaster ceiling is lath & plaster.

I was told by the structural engineer (who came to inspect the building stability after the plaster ceiling collapse) that this sort of ceiling do not contain asbestos.

Is it right for him to say that without lab testing?

Any risks of asbestos exposure living in the room, one floor above? (if there even is any asbestos in it)

  • just out of curiosity, what made it come down
    – Traveler
    Aug 17, 2022 at 2:31
  • @Ruskes - they just separate from the lathes after 100 years. Usually damp or a roof leak finally brings them down, but not always. I've known two different places that's happened. One a leak, the other just got tired. There's normally a tell-tale sag, a long time before it finally gives up. You have to bet on when to intervene.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 17, 2022 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


At that time and earlier the fibres added to the plaster was often horsehair.

A cheap filler that was readily available.

So yes he is most likely correct. BUT, you can find out for sure by sending a sample for testing.

You will likely be wearing dust masks during the cleanup anyway, if the test comes back positive then you will have to meet many other standards.

  • i once read, at this site, that horse hair could also present a health hazard ... some kind of bacteria that gets into lungs ... it was a couple of years back ... i forget which disease it causes ... possibly tuberculosis
    – jsotola
    Aug 17, 2022 at 15:52

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