In a recent report, the BBC revealed that, in the past decade, councils in England have paid out in excess of £10m in compensation to people who developed illnesses because of asbestos in school buildings.
The Department For Education has pledged to tackle the problem by investing £23bn by 2021 to improve school buildings.
A complete ban on the use of the material was introduced in the UK in 1999 however most school buildings built before then will contain asbestos-based products in some form or another. The specific strategy for safe management of these products will depend upon the type of asbestos involved, the type of material involved, its location and condition. It generally only poses a danger when its condition is such that fibres become airborne and can be inhaled, or when alterations, repair and maintenance involve disturbance of the material and release of fibres.
Under regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, people in control of premises have a legal duty to find out whether their buildings contain asbestos based materials, discover the condition of such materials, prepare an assessment of the risk presented by such materials, and implement a plan to manage that risk.
As part of our property support services, we can assist schools with the preparation of a suitable asbestos management plan. Most schools will have an asbestos register and risk assessment in some form or another (usually prepared by, or on behalf of, the LA), however these may be insufficient for the new regulations, or may be out of date. Our helpdesk can advise on this. The management plan should include the register and risk assessment, which will identify those areas of asbestos based materials, which need to be removed (with timescale for removal), and those that can be safely managed in-situ.
For further information on our property support services including asbestos management, please contact our Facilities Team via email or call 01932 850100.