University of Westminster
A wide range of asbestos work including investigations, remedial works and removal continue to be undertaken by Independent for a portfolio of properties belonging to the University of Westminster.
Independent has worked with the University of Westminster since 2005 having undertaken a wide range of asbestos removal, abatement and survey operations across a portfolio of properties for the University that cover three sites in London. The University’s properties cover the main University in Marylebone and satellite premises in both New Cavendish Street and Regent Street, London, and two other facilities in Harrow and at Chiswick Sports Ground.
The University takes a proactive approach to asbestos removal that is also mindful of proposed future refurbishment and remodelling schemes, and Independent has become its preferred contractor to undertake work for its ongoing asbestos management programme. As Mr A Garcia (Facilities Manager) commented “I have found Independent to be well organised, flexible, reliable and very efficient. I have used various other asbestos removal firms in the past and in my opinion Independent are the best”
Various asbestos remedial projects and investigations have been carried out in the University’s satellite premises, however the bulk of the work has been required at the main campus that also houses student accommodation. The Independent team removed asbestos from ceiling tiles and wall panels from a ‘live’ ventilation plant room at the Marylebone campus – this project was completed in phases to allow continued operation of welfare systems supplying operations areas. The team also removed asbestos wall panels from one of the main stairwell areas at the same campus, which required work to be undertaken outside normal hours.
Type 3 Survey
To comply with new Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) which came into
force in May 2007, an intrusive Type 3 asbestos survey was conducted in the residential tower at the Marylebone site by Independent. The survey of the student accommodation was necessary to enable subsequent ‘soft’ demolition and refurbishment work to be undertaken as part of a multi-million pound package overseen by consulting engineers EC Harris.
To minimise disruption to campus activities and in recognition of the sensitive nature of asbestos management and remedial works in a student occupied environment, Independent regularly undertakes work outside student hours.
Working in partnership with clients
Gary Howchen of Independent summarised Independent’s philosophy by saying
“From the outset we aim to form a long term working relationship with our clients, which is based on mutual trust and a shared objective of managing asbestos risks effectively, whilst undertaking pro-active removal where economic and logistical constraints allow.”
He added “We believe that this has been achieved by working in close partnership with the University and we look forward to continuing this in future.”
King Solomon Academy
Type 3 survey & asbestos removal at a Grade II listed building Independent Asbestos Services undertook an asbestos surveying and removal project at a Grade II listed state school in north west London, as part of a multi-million pound project.
New school for Westminster
On behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and UK education charity, ARK Academies contracted Independent to undertake to survey the school’s property to determine whether any asbestos was present in the buildings before demolition and remodelling work could be undertaken. The buildings on the Penfold Street site, all of which have Grade II* listed building status, were previously used by North Westminster Community School. However, the school was closed in 2007 and is now being extensively refurbished and parts rebuilt as an all-through Academy. The £24 million construction project commenced in the summer of 2008, and the Academy will be ready for its first intake of Year 7s in September 2009. The new academy has been renamed King Solomon Academy, providing a non-selective, state-funded school for local children aged from 4 to 18 years, and will be the first school in Westminster to offer both primary and secondary education.
Once the students had been housed in purpose-built temporary accommodation on the Penfold Street site, the remodelling work on the main building block could commence. A classic example of 1950(60’s) architecture, the building is Grade II* listed and therefore required additional care during the remodelling and asbestos removal process.
In August 2007 Independent carried out a Type 3 survey, which involved intrusive investigation into the structure of the building, as well as external cladding and roofing materials and the lagging on ducts and service pipes, to determine the presence and/or risk of asbestos that could have been encountered during the refurbishment process.
The Type 3 survey at King Solomon highlighted the presence of asbestos in several areas, including in the underfloor service ducts and within debris in the basement boiler house.
Independent was then appointed to remove the asbestos from these two areas as a matter of priority between October and November 2007. The work in the underfloor ducts was classified as being in a confined space and was carried out by a specially trained team of operatives.
The next phase of the work involved removing any remaining asbestos that had been identified in the survey and which was liable to disturbance during the subsequent remodelling project. This consisted of asbestos board ceiling and wall panels, cement flue pipes, floor tiles and even rope gaskets between the glass and window frames in the gymnasia, which were subsequently to be demolished.
Finally, to complete the project, a Type 2 survey was undertaken by Independent to prepare a new risk assessment and register the location of the asbestos remaining in the rooftop tankroom and in the window casements of the main building, where removal had been deemed unnecessary at this stage. This provides an official risk assessment on the location, condition and recommended management of known asbestos areas, and was the final phase in the asbestos management programme for King Solomon Academy, to give the college a plan for the future.
In May 2008 Independent signed over the site to the demolition and remodelling team, with all asbestos either removed or left in a safe condition. The new buildings and refurbishment are planned to be fully complete by 2010, with parts of the Academy opening from September 2009.
The Central boiler house at the University of Essex was decommissioned following decentralisation of the system in 1992. The space was too expensive to refurbish and had become an ad hoc store for many large items from the main university campus buildings.
During a Type 3 asbestos survey, undertaken by the University’s consultant, asbestos contamination was found to the walls and floor of the boiler house and to an adjoining large service tunnel.
The University’s Estate Management Section produced a schedule of works and sought competitive tenders from a number of licensed asbestos removal contractors, following which Independent was appointed.
The contents of the boiler house were assessed and logged by the Independent team. Testing for the presence of asbestos on the items was undertaken by the University’s independent consultant. The team from Independent created an inventory of contaminated items, removing and disposing of all unwanted items, while the retained items were cleaned and temporarily re-located to a secure store.
200 bicycles distributed to charities
Around 200 abandoned bicycles stored in the boiler house were cleaned and removed to an agreed location for eventual distribution by the University to a charity which repairs the bikes and ships them to disadvantaged communities overseas.
Following clearance of the contents Independent then carried out a full ‘top to bottom’ environmental clean of the boiler house, including the removal of contaminated slurry from the floor ducts and entailing some confined space working within the former oil tank room.
Work on high level areas of the boiler house was carried out from powered access platforms and scissor lifts by operatives appropriately trained in their use.
Additional work incorporated
During the course of the project it became apparent that some additional asbestos debris had not been identified in the original survey, due to access limitations.
The University management and Independent moved quickly to assess this work and incorporate it into the site programme with a minimum of disruption so that overall completion was not significantly delayed.
The project commenced in March 2008 and was complete within three months. As Roy Rodd, the University of Essex Estate Management Section’s Safety Advisor said
“We were delighted at Independent’s approach throughout, particularly when the discovery of further asbestos added to the project - Independent were quick to deal with the situation. They were proactive throughout the project and conscious of the sensitivities entailed in the work”.
Southwark Council Culture Libraries
Asbestos removal and decontamination programme completion deadline maintained despite major unexpected obstacles and additional works.
When Independent were tasked with an asbestos removal and decontamination project at Southwark Council’s Camberwell Leisure Centre in 2009, they were met with a host of unexpected obstacles including the need to dismantle an entire floor structure resulting in the removal of 200 tonnes of hazardous waste. Despite these issues, the project was completed to deadline to enable the main works contractor to safely proceed with the second phase of the refurbishment.
During the project, Independent successfully:
• Met a strict deadline despite additional, unexpected works
• Worked through the night to avoid operational disturbance
• Gathered additional operatives and resources at short notice to meet
• Maintained a seven day working week to accommodate additional works
and protect the deadline
• Displayed considerable flexibility and adaptation throughout the project to
meet the client’s goal
Having successfully completed asbestos removal works at two leisure centre sites under the jurisdiction of Southwark Council, Independent was commissioned to undertake works at a third leisure centre in Camberwell, Surrey.
Works: Asbestos removal and decontamination works were required to clear a network of pipe service undercrofts beneath the dry side and wet side areas at Camberwell Leisure Centre to enable major refurbishment works to safely commence.
Deadline: A strict deadline was set for completion so that the main works contractor’s commencement date, and therefore the final completion date for the entire project, would not be jeopardised and the overall schedule could be maintained.
Timings: Part of the brief involved maintaining full operational continuity within the leisure centre during day time hours and so works were planned to run through the night.
Unexpected Discoveries: During environmental cleaning of the under floor areas, it became apparent that there were structural weaknesses in the steel beam supports. This resulted in the entire floor structure having to be dismantled and removed under controlled conditions within the asbestos working environment.
This in turn necessitated the disposal of approximately 200 tonnes of rubble as Hazardous Waste to a registered site.
In order to maintain momentum and avoid jeopardising the completion deadline, a seven day working week was employed and around 16 additional operatives were brought in at short notice together with a full time site manager to ensure full efficiency and adherence to crucial timescales.
Additional Works: Various additional demolition works were later agreed and added to the asbestos removal process, all of which again had to be incorporated into the programme in such a way that the project timings were not prolonged. This was again successfully achieved by calling upon additional operatives and resources and maintaining a consistent working timetable.
Both the original project and the additional works were completed on deadline with the second phase of the refurbishment programme allowed to start on time as planned, thus avoiding time delays and financial losses.
Considerable flexibility, adaptation to unexpected obstacles and the ability to draw on additional resources meant that the project was completed to deadline and that the client’s desire to maintain a service to the public throughout the works was adhered to.