A Walthamstow Council has been criticised regarding asbestos in public buildings following revelations over the discovery of the toxic fibre in a school. The authority is already under investigation by the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over its handling of the problem in Waltham Forest Town Hall, and now details have now emerged of how a school relocation programme has been halted due to a similar find.
St Mary’s Church of England Primary in The Drive, Walthamstow, was due to move to the former Warwick School site in Brooke Road in September as part of a £3 million scheme to treble its intake to help ease the borough’s pupil places shortage. Ahead of the move, three classes and 18 staff relocated in September 2011 but the whole project was put on hold last month when asbestos was identified at the site.
A source has described the aborted relocation as a “shambles” and questions have been raised as to why Waltham Forest Council was not aware of the asbestos prior to the move. Local Councillor Coghill said the council had held a number of drop-in sessions with parents. She added: “Asbestos poses no health risk when it is undisturbed… however it is obviously imperative that safety is given the highest priority and the correct procedures are followed.”
The Council has also discovered that the amount of dangerous asbestos found at Waltham Forest Town Hall is even greater than previously thought. Community worker Nick Tiratsoo has been given the final version of a council-commissioned report into the issue which reveals the fibre was not just confined to the building’s basement, where thousands of important documents are stored, but is also present on various ground floor locations.
He said: “At first, we were told that asbestos contamination was confined to the Town Hall basement. Then the draft report showed that it was present in two locations on the ground floor. And now the final report adds a third location on the ground floor. What else will be revealed?” and “The council seems to be dripping out bad news bit by bit.” The council says it cannot comment on the town hall asbestos issue until the HSE investigation is completed.
All public and commercial buildings are required by law (Control of Asbestos Regulation 2012) to have a Management Survey completed and should any works be proposed, a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey implemented. These Surveys identify any asbestos containing materials and in the case of Management Survey, recommendations as to any removals or repairs required and how to manage the asbestos in the form of a legally required asbestos register. The Refurbishment and Demolition Survey would indicate as to the type of contractor required to remove the material.
Armco has over 15 years experience in the implementation of such surveys as well as asbestos removals. In addition, we offer consultancy and advice and various asbestos related training. Call the Armco office for further details and a competitive quote.
Published Oct 19, 2012