Asbestos can delay your refurbishment plans

Whatever the reasons, finding unexpected asbestos material is a nightmare scenario for the project manager (PM) of your school’s refurbishment programme. Initially there are the additional costs of remediating it to contend with. A typical scenario, removal of let’s say 50 square metres of asbestos-containing ceiling panels found above a solid plaster ceiling removed during strip-out will probably set you back £10k. The safe decontamination of 100 sq metres of asbestos-lagged pipework located behind panelling could cost in the region of £25k.

However, these fees are likely to be dwarfed by the costs incurred by the delay caused to the project’s programme. The disruption caused by even a modest amount of additional removal can have an inordinate impact on the project as a whole. Let me take you through a typical scenario:


Day 1 – Strip-out operatives discover debris behind panelling which they suspect may contain asbestos. The PM is notified and a consultant is booked to visit site the next day to assess.

Day 2 – Asbestos consultant visits site, and samples the material which is sent to laboratory for analysis.

Day 4 – Report received confirms that the material contains (type – COL asbestos) and the recommendation is to remove under fully controlled conditions. PM contacts his licensed removal contractor and invites them to site to assess and quote for the work

Day 6 – Asbestos Contracts Manager visits site, assesses the work and produces a quote.

Day 7 – Contract Administrator seeks authority for the overspend.

Day 8 – Authority given, PM places order for the works.

Day 9 – Asbestos Contractor prepares and submits Plan of Works and ASB5 to notify HSE and schedule the removal works for 14 days’ time.

Day 23 – Contractors sets-up site (i.e. locates decon unit, enclosure etc).

Day 24-26 – Removal works is carried out.

Day 27 – Analyst is booked to carry out 4-stage clearance and issue Cert of Reoccupation.

You can see that the delay to programme caused by finding unexpected asbestos can easily stretch to 4 weeks - and this is the best case scenario assuming consultants and contractors are already procured and available at short notice.

To avoid this situation, make sure you appoint a reliable, competent organisation to carry out the R&D asbestos survey. Although it is not mandatory, UKAS accreditation against International Standard ISO 17020 is a good benchmark to sort out the wheat from the chaff in the asbestos consultancy market.

Global Environmental has the skills and resources to help schools discharge their duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations and the Construction, Design and Management Regulations. They will arrange a survey of your school to identify any asbestos containing material, assess the condition and risk and recommend a course of action.

To make an appointment call 01279 213600

Paul Phillips, Operations Manager, Global Environmental

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