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Architects Fined for Asbestos Failure

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 [1] came into force on 6 April 2012. These made some adjustments to the existing Regulations, in order to take account of the European Commission’s view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos. The changes introduced additional requirements with regard to non-licensed work as regards notification of work, medical surveillance and record keeping. In all other respects, the requirements when working with or managing asbestos remain the same.

In the majority of cases, work with asbestos needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor. Such work includes most asbestos removal, all work with sprayed asbestos coatings and asbestos lagging and most work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulating board (AIB).

A firm of architects was recently fined for failing to make sure that building workers were not exposed to AIB during construction work at Aberystwyth Rugby Club. Dilwyn Roberts Architects Ltd. had been appointed to design and oversee work at the clubhouse and to act as the Construction, Design and Management Co-ordinator for the project.

Although the club had commissioned an asbestos survey, which clearly identified the presence of AIB, and passed this on to the architects, the information it contained was not passed on to the building contractors. The situation only came to light during a routine inspection of the work by an inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £5,400 and ordered to pay £2,917 in costs.

HSE Inspector Phil Nicolle said, “Construction Design and Management Co-ordinators are required to identify and collect pre-construction information for projects. It should contain all information relevant to the health and safety of people engaged in, affected by the work or using the building as a future workplace.”

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