An asbestos scare for a team of Croydon building contractors, Brick by Brick, who are owned by the council, has caused some concern for local residents.
The contractors have been accused of neglect and putting resident’s health in danger on a building site in Purley Oaks.
Brick by Brick were granted planning permission by Croydon Council to build a block of 34 flats.
On the land to be built upon, there were some existing garages which had corrugated roofing, believed to contain asbestos.
A planning report drawn up by the council officials before planning permission was granted to the builders did include details of some “loose asbestos” being on the site.
Despite this, when residents raised their concerns with the builders about the asbestos on site, the planning report was suddenly missing from the council’s website.
The building contractor began the demolition of the garages at Purley Oaks this week.
No safety measures were taken prior to the demolition with regards to the hazardous asbestos on site.
Residents observed sheets of corrugated sheeting (thought to contain asbestos) lying around the site.
They reported that the site workers weren’t wearing any protective clothing or respiratory protection.
Local residents are not happy at all about the situation and are convinced the garage roofs may contain asbestos.
One resident tweeted, “Nice start to the build for Montpelier Road and Kingsdown residents today by Brick by Brick.”
“Asbestos garage roofs just casually laying there broken up! Health and Safety breach at its absolute worst!”
Brick by Brick responded on Twitter saying, “We are finding out what is happening now.”
However, residents remained outraged at the lack of care shown by the company.
Ian Goodwin, a local resident, responded to their tweet saying, “That’s comforting. You just take your time to ‘find out’ then, while the poisonous substance you’ve left just sits there… If there isn’t a licensed contractor on site to remove this safely by this afternoon I will report it formally to the LA, ORR and HSE.”
Most of the residents demanded that the site be closed down until the asbestos was safely removed from site.
Brick by Brick finally responded after having said they would investigate the matter, declaring there was no evidence of asbestos being present on the site and building work could continue.
“We have now confirmed with Henry Construction they carried out an asbestos survey that include samples from the garages and there is no asbestos on site.”
However, this totally contradicts what the environmental study says that was part of the planning department’s original report, that clearly stated asbestos was present and had to be dealt with as part of the planning permission that was granted.
Later the same day, Brick by Brick followed up on their response to one of the ward councillors, Helen Redfern, saying, “The Construction Management Plan is very clear for this site. No asbestos is present in the material photographed from the garages or in this phase of the development.”
“When and if any asbestos is required to be managed from any future phases, the appropriate methodology will be used. BxB and the contractor will continue to keep residents informed as we progress via the Resident Liason Officer, meetings etc.”
Helen Redfern later visited the Purley Oaks site and all work on site ceased soon after.
A local resident reported, “The asbestos remains untouched and contained by only a tape barrier.”
“The matter has now been reported to HSE under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, due to breach of handling, disposal, safety and lack of appropriate risk assessment reports on site,” said Goodwin. Contractors found to be in breach of these building regulations can face criminal charges and possible imprisonment.”
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