Asbestos in Schools

Asbestos in schools – When the ‘A’ word is muttered around schools nowadays, there seems to be a serious case of hysteria with an assumption that you only need to look at it and you will suddenly die some horrible death!

Asbestos wasn’t banned in UK construction until 1986 and most buildings built before then will probably contain to some degree asbestos. As long as you know where it is and it’s managed correctly then it will cause you no problem whatsoever. So no need to panic!

BE AWARE

All commercial premises, including schools, must have by law an asbestos register indicating where asbestos will be located in the building. This should be updated every time works are carried out even if no asbestos is come across. This can save the school money in the long run as additional testing may not be required if records show that no asbestos is in the area.

If you are unsure what your responsibilities are then go to the HSE website section on education to find out more:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/asbestos-faqs.htm

 

MANAGING ASBESTOS

If you have an up to date register, as a contractor we would ask to see a copy of it before any works are carried out where there is a potential risk of coming across asbestos. If the register does not have enough information on the area we are working in, depending on the type of works, we may have to carry out intrusive testing (ie cutting holes in ceilings and walls) so we are 100{5649ae563538d4e4143b9a1c2946af7df32b9f4b4d437e9732645a466ec43c51} sure what we are going to disturb. If asbestos is found then as long as it is managed correctly it will cause no risk to the school whatsoever.

There are different types of asbestos, some notifiable and others non-notifiable. Some types we can deal with ourselves and others require licensed asbestos firms to come in. We have experience in all areas and can advise you on what course of action to take with the most economical solution. What we do is manage the problem for you to ensure not only are the works carried out safely and no-one is put at risk but legally you do not do something that is considered negligent.

All our workforce are Asbestos Aware and been on specific training courses. They are trained to identify asbestos and follow a correct course of action.

Over the past few months we have carried out works in numerous schools in Kent assisting them with asbestos related projects. These, along with others, can be found on our website www.wallerservices.com

 

CASE STUDIES

Client: Maidstone Girls Grammar School

Description of Works: Removal of asbestos sheet cladding to school building during summer holidays

Contract Value: £20,000.00

This project had notifiable asbestos so we had to employ a licensed contractor to remove the sheeting. All management, preparation, remedial works and making good was carried out by us.

A month prior to commencement we arranged a site meeting with the asbestos removal company, scaffolders, cladders and the client to confirm the extent of the works and how to encapsulate the whole area. All parties were in agreement with our proposed programme and fully aware of what the sequence of works was going to be.

The school chose us to manage this project as we were able to co-ordinate all parties concerned and keep them informed of the method of working, health and safety issues and progress on site.

Client: Sittingbourne Community College

Description of Works: Fire precaution and upgrading works to communal stairwell areas

Contract Value: £3,500.00

On carrying out fire barrier works to a staircase, panelling was removed and damaged asbestos boarding was uncovered. This was not on the asbestos register but fortunately, as our operatives are trained in spotting asbestos, works ceased before disturbing it and tests were carried out.

The area was closed off and a legal notification period of 2 weeks was given. Asbestos was then removed and the fire barrier work continued with no potential health risks to the school and with minimal disturbance.

We carried out all associated works as well as managing the asbestos removal.

Client: Meopham School

Description of Works: Improvement works to existing classrooms

Contract Value: £10,000.00

Whilst carrying out the initial stripping out of the classrooms, we came across an existing worktop that had a sheet of asbestos screwed to it. We cut through the worktop either side of the asbestos and it was then double wrapped in polythene. We arranged with an asbestos removal firm to collect and dispose of it in the correct manner.

We provided the school with documentation which could be attached to the relevant page of the asbestos register to show that that piece of asbestos has now been removed from the school.

Due to our operatives being trained in asbestos awareness, the asbestos sheeting was recognised and disposed of correctly ensuring no long term risk to the school.

Client: St. John’s Church of England Primary School

Description of Works: Windows and infill panel replacement works

Contract Value: £57,000.00

Before being awarded this contract, we were aware that the existing infill panels below the windows contained asbestos. Initially, the school were going to employ an asbestos company prior to our commencement but there were issues with keeping the building secure. There would have also been additional costs by separating the contract as temporary panels would have to be made and installed.

We were therefore asked to manage the entire project and by working in conjunction with the asbestos company we were able to keep the school completely secure as well as reduce the overall cost to the school. We had our asbestos company perform additional tests and the result concluded that due to the makeup of the panels we could work alongside the asbestos removal team. Temporary panels were therefore not required and we installed replacement insulated panels immediately after the old ones were removed. As an added precaution, air tests were also carried out to ensure no asbestos particles had been let loose into the atmosphere.

All certificates from the asbestos company were sent to the school so they could update their register.

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