Meet the team

Meet Sean Scholes, Global Environmental Asbestos Surveyor, who has shown himself to be up for a challenge when a more unusual surveying opportunity presents itself.

Sean joined Global Environmental as a trainee in July 2011. He completed his 6-month on-site training and passed his P402 exam shortly after that.  Since then he has become a reliable member of the Global surveying team and has shown himself to be up for a challenge when a more unusual surveying opportunity presents itself.


Can you describe a typical day?

Well, no two days are the same, which is one of the reasons why I enjoy doing this job. But I always make an early start to avoid the rush hour traffic (I live in Essex and often need to be in London or the surrounding areas by 8am). I might be scheduled to survey private or social housing or a school, an office block or even the Hammersmith Flyover. Some of the jobs are routine but others can be more of a challenge.  Once all the surveys are complete, I return home via Global’s offices where I drop off the samples so that they can be turned around, with reports back to the client, within 24 hours.

You say that some jobs are more challenging?

Two jobs have involved rope access. The first one was for Barts Health NHS Trust back in 2014 when we were asked to carry out extensive R & D asbestos surveys prior to demolition/refurbishment of some of the hospital’s buildings in the central London site in Smithfield.  Because I needed to survey the externals and there was no scaffolding in place, I took a five-day course in abseiling to obtain my IRARTA level 1 which qualified me to abseil to the areas to be surveyed.

abseilI managed to survey all the external elevations of the building over the course of two 2-day shifts which were supervised by Industrial Access Limited, an IRARTA-accredited contractor. These guys stayed on the roof but were there to rig up the ropes and keep a check on my safety.  I had the challenge of managing the safety equipment for abseiling and the safety equipment for taking asbestos surveys!  I managed to fit in the harness in full RPE and PPE with my surveying kit in a bag attached to a belt. Then off I went – and all I will say is that Barts was much higher than the training wall I learnt on!


Did you find it easy to make the inspection in this manner?

Yes, and no.  I needed to check the down pipes, guttering and soil pipes and from the first abseil I could see amosite asbestos present in the packing around the collars. However, once I had abseiled down, I needed to unhook, walk around the hospital and climb the stairs in all my kit to do it again.   I did this about eight times each day.

Have been able to use this expertise again?

Yes, last month I was working at a listed building in Piccadilly on an R & D survey as part of a major refurbishment of the building.  There’s a false ceiling above one of the rooms dating from the 1970s concealing an open glass roof.  I needed to walk around on a system of grids to take samples but without a solid floor underneath me I had to be attached by ropes to secure points around the building. The same guys from Industrial Access Limited were there and did some on-site training with me before I started.  Within 30 seconds of setting off I saw insulation boards and when cutting in to a wall found off-cuts of asbestos, left there when the void was closed over in the 70s. That job took two days.

So how do you relax after a day like that?

I enjoy socialising with friends at home and also watching national sports on TV.  I really enjoyed the Olympics and Paralympics last summer.