Taking the plunge

Surveyors from Global Environmental used abseiling techniques to gain access during an R&D survey at a prominent listed building on Piccadilly in Central London. The Grade II listed building was shut down for three weeks to allow for specialist surveying prior to a major two-year refurbishment programme.

The asbestos surveying team from Global Environmental worked alongside structural engineers to understand the full extent of asbestos contamination within the fabric of the heritage building, largely the result of refurbishment carried out during the 1970s.

Original features and more recent additions were tested, some of which required the controlled opening-up of areas within an enclosure to prevent any asbestos spreading as it was removed.  An analyst was on-site for the duration of this invasive phase to monitor air quality.   Additionally, the team was given on-site training to obtain access to the high ceiling voids.  Supervised by a rope access team, they used ropes and harnesses to work at the height necessary to remove samples for testing.

“Fire prevention and protection features were added to the building during the 1970s when asbestos was the product of choice,” says Paul Phillips, Operations Manager at Global Environmental.  “In addition, there are no plans showing where it was used; some was strategic, some ad hoc.  The huge benefit of these three weeks is that they gave us the opportunity and time to use fully invasive techniques to test for asbestos in a controlled environment, giving us enough information to facilitate the major refurbishment works in 2017.”

Global Environmental was appointed to carry out these works by Jackson Coles following a CPD seminar delivered at their Old Street offices in London. The training looked at ways of minimising the amount of money spent on managing asbestos without compromising the safety of those involved.

The asbestos information from the survey and opening-up works will be included in an updated risk report which was generated following a pilot study carried out in June to help Jackson Coles  quantify the costs of remediating asbestos prior to the refurbishment.

Jackson Coles LLP is an independent, comprehensive surveying practice which has delivered more than 30 years of excellent service to a range of clients across the UK.  They provide a full spectrum of construction consultancy services including Cost Consultancy, Project Management, Building Surveying and CDM Co-ordination from offices in London and Milton Keynes.

Click to download details of the seminar How to save a small fortune on asbestos management.