Meet the team

Meet Scott Thomas who joined Global Environmental in August 2007 as a Lead Asbestos Surveyor and was promoted to Technical Manager in 2012. His current role requires him to oversee site audits and maintain Global’s surveying equipment, ensuring it is within test dates and in accordance with UKAS guidelines as well as carrying out asbestos surveys and fire risk assessments.

Can you describe a typical day?

My day cannot be described as typical which is why I enjoy the job. Each new appointment brings a new set of buildings, challenges and people. The only constant is my early start – I live in Wiltshire but most of my work is in London so usually I am up at 4am to be in London for 7.30.

Can you describe one of your bigger challenges?

A few years ago, Global was appointed by Barts Health NHS Trust to carry out an extensive R&D asbestos survey of buildings to be demolished/renovated at the site of the Central London Hospital. I was appointed Lead Surveyor for the job and was involved from the planning stage, meeting regularly with the NHS Trust Board to plan the strategy for what was a very complex project.

Discussions centred on the need to maintain infection control, areas which needed to remain operational, out-of-hours working and the use of building operatives from Skanska Facilities Services to provide specialist ‘opening-up’ of concealed or remote areas. These specifications meant that I needed to work between 8pm and 3am.  The 3am finish allowed time, should the need arise, for reinstatement works to a clinical level should any intrusive surveying be required.  Every morning, a formal handover process was used in which areas surveyed by Global Environmental overnight were signed-back to the Hospitals Facilities Team.

It made sense for me to live on-site and I was given a bed in staff quarters for the two months of surveying.  Over that period, I took over 2,000 samples.  We spent the following month preparing the reports and then I was back for meetings with the Trust one day a week for the next six months.

Apart from the size what else stands out from this project?

We spent two days accessing the externals using abseiling techniques.  We sent one of our surveyors on a 5-day rope access training course and used a specialist abseiling company to set up the rig and supervise the ‘drops’.  That saved the project the cost of extensive scaffolding and a good deal of time too.

How are you involved in the UKAS accreditation process?

UKAS accreditation is a rigorous and on-going assessment that determines our technical competence and integrity.  I have done some in-house training for the other surveyors to help them prepare for these inspections – when you really can be asked anything. One common question is ‘what is the age of the building?’ This is not always as straightforward as it sounds as refurbishment and redevelopment can easily disguise typical features.  It makes sense to ascertain its age if possible because that can immediately rule out certain asbestos scenarios.  For example, you are unlikely to find asbestos containing pipe insulation in a 1990s build.

And how do you unwind after a long working day?

I write books. I’ve self-published one on Amazon kindle and got two more that are almost ready to go, and when the weather is good you’ll either find me on the golf course or on my bike going at speed around the race tracks of Wiltshire!