Better safe than sorry

An existing client with premises in Central London recently consulted Global Environmental regarding some bank vaults in the basement of the property which required an asbestos survey.

bank-vault-door (1)The vaults house a series of safes, no longer in use, that are behind steel doors.  Typically the doors and the arches around them will be fire proofed as will the lining of the safe. Sometimes the fire proofing material will contain asbestos.

As the safes in question were locked and inaccessible it was not possible for the surveyor to take a sample of the internal lining.  “I consulted with the client at length,” says Global Environmental’s Operations Manager, Paul Phillips, “As we were unable to access the inside of the safes we had to make a presumption in the report that there were asbestos containing materials (ACMs) present in the lining.  It is our only option in this kind of situation as we cannot allow the dismantling to go ahead without the correct safety measures in place.  It is part of the ‘suitable and sufficient assessment’ our surveyors have to make by law.”

If surveyors are unable to access a location without causing significant damage that would leave the premises unfit for occupation/re-occupation they are duty bound to identify these locations as inaccessible and exclude them from their report.

Clients can avoid some of the additional, unforeseen costs of re-visits, by instructing their Facilities or Site Manager to facilitate as much access as possible for the survey. Ideally they should escort the surveyor around the building or provide a full set of keys. In circumstances where ducting, closed risers or obstacles are preventing full access ask them to organise specialist labour to provide “opening-up works” on-the-spot. This might sound expensive but this will have to be done at some point before the works start – you might as well get this done in one visit.

Global Environmental has extensive experience of conducting asbestos surveys in challenging situations such as this. For more information please call Paul Phillips on 020 7300 7288 or email [email protected]