Integral role of asbestos testing

Recent news stories highlight integral role of asbestos testing

Asbestos surveys and testing

Food for thought on the various means by which asbestos can and should be managed has come from several recent news stories concerning the substance’s discovery that have prompted public concern.

With its services encompassing asbestos testing/sampling, management surveys, compliance checks, demolition surveys, refurbishment surveys and re-inspections, Trident Surveying is well-placed to ensure that any asbestos you do discover is managed in the most appropriate way.

One site where asbestos was recently found was an allotment site in Morpeth. The matter came to public notice at a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s property and asset management committee, which is in discussions about the possible transfer of the St Mary’s Field plots and other allotment sites to the authority.

Although the housing association that owns the affected site has decided that it is sufficient to leave the substance in situ with regular monitoring, council clerk Gillian Turner has confirmed that any plots that it takes on will have all discovered asbestos removed – even if only a small amount of the substance is present.

A spokesman for Isos Housing commented: “Having received a report from a specialist contractor, we are satisfied that the fencing boards containing asbestos around one of the plots at St Mary’s Field can remain in place, subject to continued monitoring.”

A more controversial story indicating the considerable importance of the most appropriate asbestos testing was the BBC report last month that more than 3,000 students in Wales stayed in bedrooms containing the substance.

Aberystwyth, Cardiff and the University of Wales have all confirmed that asbestos material was present in some of their rooms. They added that due to the low risk that the substance was considered to pose, they did not inform students that it had been found. This sparked widespread condemnation of university officials from other bodies.

The stance was described as “reckless” by the British Lung Foundation, while Beth Button, president of the National Union of Students in Wales, commented: “We strongly encourage institutions to take this issue seriously and put the safety of students first, whilst ensuring they remain completely transparent with students about the standards of their accommodation.”

Those are words that we can only agree with here at Trident Surveying. We are of the strong belief that given asbestos’ status as a silent killer, with symptoms of such deadly conditions as mesothelioma potentially only emerging many years after exposure, a moral obligation exists to inform those individuals who may have been exposed, even to ‘low-risk’ asbestos.

HSE reassures public on asbestos removal in Hounslow

HSE reassures public that asbestos was removed from Hounslow demolition site

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If there is one recent story that will surely remind organisations across the UK of the importance of having demolition surveys of doomed structures carried out prior to destruction work beginning, it has to be that concerning the Hounslow House site in the English capital’s London Road.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reassured residents living near the building – which is being demolished for Tesco in readiness for the construction of 267 homes – that asbestos had already been removed from the site before work began. Fears had been raised with the collapse of an office block on the site in July, householders expressing concerns that the highly toxic substance could be present in the dust covering their balconies and windowsills.

However, HSE told getwestlondon that “Asbestos present was removed under license prior to demolition commencing and was completed last year.”

The office block’s partial collapse last year had resulted in rubble crashing into the nearby Hounslow bus garage, and prompted HSE to momentarily halt destruction at the site. A few weeks ago, work was allowed to resume, following the implementation of more stringent safety measures by the company responsible. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation by HSE.

However, residents remain unconvinced by the new safety measures, with Aces Court resident Bernard Zieja claiming that the amount of dust made people reluctant to open their windows or use their balconies.

Describing the present dust protection measures as “inadequate”, the photographer added: “I think we should be separated from the demolition site by a tall scaffolding covered by protective curtains. I have seen this done in central London and I wonder why this is not being done here in Hounslow.”

An HSE spokeswoman said that dust complaints were a matter for Hounslow Council, which has previously warned the company carrying out the demolition work about undertaking noisy work outside permitted hours.

Contact Trident Surveying about professional demolition surveys. Formerly known as Type 3 surveys, these surveys are required before all or part of a building is demolished, and our company has extensive experience of carrying them out to the very highest standards.

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