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Architects failed to warn builders of asbestos

14th February 2013

In August 2011, work on a rugby clubhouse was tendered. The firm provided pre-construction information from an asbestos survey to building contractors. Details showed that asbestos had been found in the building’s soffits, but neglected to mention that it was also present in insulation boards.

By January 2012, work was undertaken in the clubhouse, and although care was taken when working with the soffits, builders were unaware of the risks presented by the insulation board, and unfortunately did not recognise them as being an asbestos-containing material.

As well as putting the builders at risk of contracting an asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, the architect’s practice also broke the law because, unlike asbestos cement products, asbestos-containing insulation requires removal by specially licensed companies only.

The firm was fined £5,400 for breaking Health and Safety at Work regulations, and ordered to pay court costs of £2,917.

Hopefully the builders who worked on the clubhouse construction project will all avoid contracting a serious industrial disease.

However, thankfully, if they are diagnosed with health problems relating to this exposure to dangerous fibres in the future, remuneration from the architect’s practice could help them pay medical bills, allow them to recoup lost earnings, and generally improve the quality of their lives.

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