Danger Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal is the biggest area of the asbestos industry and has been around the longest. Standards have improved, overall, in recent years, but you can still fall foul of bad practice if certain factors are not considered or documented.

The most important factor is understanding and documenting the Scope of Works.

[* See our article ‘The Importance of a Scope of Works’ for more thoughts and advice]

Why do you need the works carrying out? Is it to maintain the condition of the materials or do they need to be removed prior to refurbishment? Either way try and think of the long-term impact and possible costs when designing your scope.

If an item keeps getting damaged then you should look at removing rather than paying over and over for a minor repair, the initial costs may not be that much more.

Consider extending the area of removal, this is especially important where materials may pass into adjoining spaces or rooms. The cost will be more, but you may save in the long term and allow the removal contractors to remove the materials back to a natural break ensuring no legacy.

We have seen instances where the floor tiles have been removed but the bitumen adhesive that contains asbestos has been left, why? ‘Too difficult to get off.’

Asbestos insulating board ceiling tiles have been removed from a room, but not the ones that fly across the dividing wall into the next room, why? ‘Only instructed to remove from this room.’

Asbestos ceiling tiles removed from half of the room, but not the other, why? ‘We were only asked to remove 10 tiles.’

Asbestos insulation residues to walls and pipes, removed in general, but encapsulated in certain areas, why? ‘Access too difficult to clean’.

Our personal favourite, removal of vinyl wall tiles to a staircase, but not removed from under the brackets of the handrail, instead carefully cut around, why? Who knows?

Well surely the analyst will make sure the works are carried out correctly. If a ‘Client’ scope of works has not been produced or issued, then they will be working to the contractor’s method which may not result in the same outcome. Or they may diligently record on their paperwork but allow the contractor to leave in situ.

If you give the opportunity for interpretation of a scope or for the contractors to write their own, then you could be left with a legacy.

Consider engaging with a consultant that understands your requirements and is prepared to ensure the works are completed to that standard through site audits. At the point of the audit you could also request the consultant to update the asbestos register to reflect the completed works. There may be more value in these works than paying for excessive air monitoring.

Be clear on what you want and the standard you expect the work to be done to. If the works are not completed to that standard, show them the scope of works they agreed to and push back.

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