How to Deal with Asbestos in Commercial Buildings?

16th February 2017

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos was used in commercial and industrial buildings due to its extreme durability and resistance to fire and most chemical reactions. Asbestos itself refers to a set of six naturally occurring minerals: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Asbestos is now strictly regulated due to its toxic properties and link to a number of respiratory conditions.

How to check for Asbestos?

It is never advisable to check for asbestos yourself, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Disturbing or breaking off a piece of asbestos containing material can cause dust and debris to spread. It’s advised that if you are undertaking work on your commercial premises to always get a qualified asbestos check of the building.

If asbestos is left undamaged or undisturbed, it’s considered safe.

How Hughes and Salvidge work with Asbestos

Hughes and Salvidge have a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing the investigation, removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials prior to demolition of commercial buildings.

With high standards of training and strategic project planning, Hughes and Salvidge ensures safe detection and removal of such materials.

Throughout the process, we contract independent UKAS approved analysts to undertake air sampling/fibre counting and bulk sampling in full compliance with EN450001 to ensure that all asbestos removal work is carried out in a safe manner.

We never commence demolition work before an Asbestos Survey has been carried out on the building. From the results of the survey we devise our strategy for removal of the asbestos containing materials.

All non-notifiable asbestos is removed by Hughes and Salvidge. All our employees receive Asbestos Awareness training, which is regularly updated in line with legislative requirements. They also receive regular medicals.

For the removal of licenced, notifiable asbestos we sub-contract this work to a pre-approved specialist sub-contractor. All of our sub-contractors are vetted in accordance with our BS EN ISO 9001 certification by completing our Sub-Contractor Questionnaire and providing supporting documentation. If successful, they are then placed on our Approved Subcontractors’ List.

Throughout a project, we always notify the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) of all works relating to asbestos removal.

How to remove Asbestos?

Both non-notifiable or notifiable asbestos can be removed manually or mechanically, and whether Hughes and Salvidge or a sub-contractor carry out the works, Risk Assessments and subsequent Method Statements are created to cover all activities involved in this process.

The Risk Assessments detail that each removal operation is subject to an individual method statement that takes into account the current HSE guidelines for working with asbestos containing materials.

We, or the licenced contractor, will only manually remove asbestos containing materials where it is not practical for a machine to carry out the work. In either scenario, the area of site where asbestos removal is taking place is cordoned off and only accessed by authorised, qualified and protected personnel.

With manual or mechanical removal, damping down of asbestos containing materials is carried out to keep fibre release to the lowest possible level. Operatives wear Type 5/6 disposable overalls, specialist gloves and P3 half face masks during all removal and handling operations.

All removal procedures, including the removal and decontamination of Personal Protective Equipment at the end of a shift, is completed in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Containers for asbestos containing materials are carefully selected and maintained to ensure that the contents are not exposed and are stored safely until the container is ready for removal from site.

The containers are sited on the project to minimise manual handling, in most cases in close proximity to the exit point of the building. Debris clearance is carried out on a daily basis in dampened conditions by hand picking/sweeping. Sheets are not broken up unnecessarily and debris is not bulldozed.

Periodic personal dose and background air monitoring is carried out by an independent analyst throughout the removal process.

How do you Dispose of Asbestos?

Our specialist sub-contractor disposes of all asbestos material containers at a licenced waste facility and only once the analysts have confirmed all asbestos has been removed can demolition of the building commence.

If, at any stage, our workers suspect, from their training, that further asbestos containing materials have been unearthed during the demolition of the building, management is informed immediately and work on that area of the project ceases. The process of specialist investigation, removal and disposal then takes place again before demolition work re-starts.

Asbestos waste must be placed in suitable packaging which prevents any fibres being released. This should be double wrapped and appropriately labelled. The containers used to store the asbestos ensure safe transit to the specialist licensed disposal site.

How much does it cost to remove Asbestos?

This all depends on the size of the premises as well as the contaminated area. Asbestos testing and removal will count as two separate costs (unless involved in a bigger demolition project).

Prices will vary depending on the size of the project, so it’s best always to speak to an expert.

See more information about our asbestos service or contact us.

Article By Nicola Wallace

Nikki has worked at Hughes and Salvidge since 2013, working on some of our biggest tenders and projects for major clients, including Ford, Ineos, Portsmouth City Council, and Shell UK.

More article by Nicola Wallace
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