Cheap asbestos removal was a false economy

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court levied fines and costs for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 on two Worcestershire companies and a Hall Green builder after asbestos fibres were released during office refurbishment in Birmingham city centre.

Evanacre Colmore Row Ltd, and Marchment Consulting Ltd, both of Droitwich, were each fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs. Roland Morewood, of Hall Green, Birmingham, was fined £1,000 with £823 costs.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered a series of failings during the refurbishment of 114-116 Colmore Row, work that included upgrading a lift containing asbestos insulating board. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how building owners Evanacre Colmore Row Ltd and project managers Marchment Consulting hired builder Roland Morewood to carry out work over the weekend of 29 January 2010. Moreland was not licensed to do this work, but offered to do the job for a tenth of the cost. When lift engineers arrived, they found pieces of asbestos insulating board spread around the lift shaft area. Air tests taken on several floors revealed significantly high fibre levels, and also several contaminated vacuum cleaners. Asbestos insulating board was discovered in Roland Morewood’s van.

The prosecuting inspector stated: “Evanacre Colmore Row had a survey which clearly showed that asbestos was present. Marchment Consulting, which has expertise in building work, should have known how to deal with asbestos in refurbishment projects.”

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