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Effective Management of Asbestos Removal Projects

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Refurbishment or demolition projects that involve buildings built before 1985 inevitably contain significant levels of asbestos materials (although any building built prior to 1999 has the possibility). Identification and removal of asbestos materials can be complex and may escalate if not correctly managed.

Many of today’s asbestos removal activities involve re-cleans of poorly managed historical asbestos removal works. In many of these cases, numerous attempts were made to remove the asbestos material, but residues were left in pipework, walls and voids. As a result, remediation costs increase, building occupiers are inconvenienced, and the reputations of contractors are negatively impacted upon.

The key factors contributing to these problems, include:

i) directly appointing a removal contractor instead of using a skilled asbestos management consultant;

ii) allowing the removal contractor to appoint its own inspecting analyst;

iii) a lack of understanding of the project scope;

iv) poor planning, design and removal methodology;

v) using an asbestos survey as the sole scoping document to gain asbestos removal prices from contractors.

All or just one of the aforementioned root causes can be highly disruptive to an asbestos removal project and undermine client confidence.

Effective management of asbestos removal during any refurbishment or demolition project involves 3 key stages.

1. Planning & Design

This element of the project has the biggest impact on success and should typically include the following elements:

• Interpretation of survey data to ensure the level of scope meets the project needs.
• Development of a technical specification to ensure removal contractors price like-for-like and in- line with the project scope.
• Assessment of suitable contractors to identify technical ability and resource capability.
• Analysis of tender returns and validation.
• Review of associated methods and risk assessments prior to HSE notification.

2. Removal Works

This stage of the project is one of the most sensitive, especially in buildings that remain partially occupied by the client. A good level of project management should involve the following elements:

• Ongoing contractor management by the appointed asbestos consultant.
• Regular compliance air testing to provide peace of mind and confirm controls are adequate.
• Regular auditing and inspections of the removal process. 

3. Re-occupation Inspection

This final stage of the project is vital to preventing reoccurring issues due to incomplete removal of asbestos materials. The importance of the visual inspection process, carried out by a fully qualified consultant, should not be underestimated. Repeated visuals by separate analysts/consultants and where appropriate a collaborative approach should be used to ensure a final solution is achieved.

Appointing a competent asbestos management consultant with responsibility for your asbestos requirements from cradle to grave on your next project will deliver the following benefits:

• The consultant will work with the main contractor at the bidding stage to reduce risk of over or under estimating potential asbestos costs
• Cost-reduced management and overall value for money, which is achieved in two ways;

i) through the like-for-like tendering process provided by the technical specification, and; ii) avoidance of repeated removal issues and project delays.

• A consultancy rather than a sub- contractor based relationship ensures a greater understanding of the project requirements.
• The site team can focus on the construction element of the project rather than dealing with complex asbestos issues that your team may not have the specialist knowledge to manage.

If you would like to know more about protecting yourself and your organisation from asbestos related issues please don't hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation consultation.

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