Asbestos Knowledge Empire

Asbestos Knowledge Empire

By Neil Munro & Ian Stone

The Property Managers Lifeline to Asbestos Management. Join two of Acorn's Directors, best-selling authors and asbestos experts Ian Stone and Neil Munro as they educate, guide and take the complication out of asbestos management. Get the information you need to help manage your asbestos risk. "Remember asbestos first, not last" - Neil Munro and Ian Stone.


The Condition of School Buildings: A Hidden Crisis

In this episode, Neil and Ian summarise the findings presented in the recent National Audit Office report on the condition of school buildings. They explore the startling reality that many school buildings, particularly those beyond their estimated initial design life, contain asbestos. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in public health, education policy, and the ongoing challenge of asbestos management in the UK. Read the full report - Get help with asbestos -
17/07/2324m 18s

ATaC and NORAC - First Annual Data Analysis Report

In this episode, Neil and Ian discuss the findings presented in a recent report produced jointly by ATaC & NORAC two organisations representing the asbestos surveying sector. The report contains some startling statistics. Neil and Ian discuss the implications of this data, shining a light on the alarming quantity of damaged asbestos especially given that the Duty to Manage regulations aim to maintain asbestos in good condition.  To view the report:  Get help with asbestos:
10/07/2320m 4s

Interview Charles Pickles: Asbestos Campaigner and Asbestos Expert

In this episode, Neil and Ian speak to Charles Pickles who provides his in-depth opinion on the current asbestos management requirements and what should be changed. Charles Pickles is a renowned figure in the field of asbestos consultancy with a career dedicated to campaigning for pragmatic solutions to asbestos issues. He co-founded Lucion Environmental in 2002, which became the UK’s largest asbestos consultancy by the time of his exit in 2019. Since leaving Lucion he's been an active campaigner for improvements in asbestos management including: Airtight on asbestos campaign European Asbestos Forum Asbestonomy Written evidence to parliamentary committees  Charles Pickles - Get help with asbestos -
03/07/2338m 40s

Interview Robin Bennett: Damage Report

In this episode, Neil and Ian sit down with Robin Bennett. Robin is a renowned figure in the asbestos software industry. Today, Robin will share his insights on a groundbreaking report that analyzes a massive data set of 3 million asbestos samples. Gathered through their state-of-the-art software, Alpha Tracker, this is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind. Alpha Tracker- Damage Report: - people can order a printed copy of the report.  Get help with asbestos -
22/06/2327m 2s

Liz Darlison MBE: Neil and Ian interview the CEO of the UKs national Mesothelioma charity – Mesothelioma UK

In this episode, Neil and Ian are joined by Liz Darlison MBE who is the Chief Executive Officer of national charity Mesothelioma UK. Liz shares her unique insights and experiences in helping people deal with the negative health effects from asbestos exposure.   Liz has enjoyed over 37 years of clinical practice at the University Hospitals of Leicester, and it was from there she established Mesothelioma UK, a national charity for mesothelioma. Currently, she is a Consultant Nurse at University Hospitals Leicester and is also CEO at Mesothelioma UK.    Liz has Honorary university positions in both Leicester and Sheffield, is very research active, keenly promotes nursing as a career and engages in pre and post graduate education.   In the 2019 Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday honours list Liz was invited to become a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her services to patients and cancer research.   Get help with asbestos -
23/11/2251m 59s

BBC Radio Northampton Interview with Neil Munro – Global Asbestos Awareness Week

Join Neil Munro on the Helen Blaby BBC Radio Northampton show. Raising awareness of Gobal Asbestos Awareness Week and discussing the current asbestos problems faced today. Get help with asbestos -
14/06/218m 15s

Due diligence when purchasing a property

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of doing your asbestos due diligence before purchasing a property. Whether that is a domestic or commercial property, asbestos should always be looked at BEFORE exchanging money. Get help with asbestos -
07/06/2119m 40s

Can you have asbestos removal works carried out in an occupied office?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the topic can asbestos removal works be carried out in an occupied office? Get help with asbestos -
31/05/2110m 21s

What does asbestos mean to me?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the subject of “what does asbestos mean to me? Get help with asbestos -
24/05/2112m 42s

What equipment should an asbestos surveyor carry?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss all the various equipment an asbestos surveyor should have when undertaking an asbestos survey. Get help with asbestos -
17/05/2126m 43s

Managing asbestos left in place

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss how do you manage asbestos if it’s left in place. What should you do and what you need to consider when leaving asbestos in place. Get help with asbestos -
10/05/2114m 3s

Deciding if asbestos works are licensable?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss how to decide if asbestos works are licensable? What criteria determines if certain works require the use of a licensed asbestos contractor. Get help with asbestos -
03/05/2134m 10s

US Asbestos imports increase in 2020

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the worrying increase of asbestos imports into the US and what that could mean to the UK. Get help with asbestos -
26/04/218m 26s

Book your FREE asbestos review surgery

In this episode Neil and Ian launch Acorn Analytical Service free to use asbestos review surgery. If you're not sure or think there may be gaps in your asbestos management and compliance, then book your FREE asbestos review surgery with our asbestos expert Ian Stone. This is a free 30-minute video call where you get the opportunity to discuss and diagnose your current asbestos compliance status.
19/04/218m 2s

Returning to work, post covid

In this episode Neil and Ian highlight the importance of thinking about asbestos as we all look at returning to our places of work.
12/04/219m 55s

4 Questions to check the asbestos safety of you or your children!

In this episode Neil and Ian are providing you with the 4 essential questions you should use to check if your workplace, school or any non-domestic property is asbestos safe. The purpose of this is to help raise awareness of asbestos and effective asbestos management and to give non industry related people the knowledge to start raising this issue in their community.   The following should be in place in any non-domestic property. This could be a school where your children go, an office or warehouse where you work or even your place of worship. 1. Do you have an asbestos management plan and if so, please provide a copy? All non-domestic premises built before the year 2000 must have an asbestos management plan. 2. Has asbestos been identified at your site? Please provide up to date records. Asbestos that’s identified is usually detailed in an asbestos register. 3. Are all asbestos containing materials in a good condition? Please provide evidence. Asbestos in a good condition means that it is being managed properly. 4. Has the risk of people being exposed to asbestos been assessed? Please provide a copy of these assessments. This usually comes in the form of a priority risk assessment. These assessments look at the risk of people being exposed to asbestos and not just the asbestos material itself.
05/04/218m 28s

Pupil kicking a hole in a wall sparks school asbestos fear!

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the recent news of a pupil kicking a hole in a wall which was found to contain asbestos. In 2021 how can this be a sudden accident?
29/03/2117m 8s

Interview with Mavis Nye and Paul Cook: ActionMeso - Raising awareness and eradicating asbestos and asbestos-related disease

In this episode, Neil and Ian are joined by Mavis Nye and Paul Cook representing ActionMeso. #ActionMeso is a campaign that brings together the diverse mesothelioma community with a single voice. It is the first time that so many patient support groups and charities have joined forces to raise awareness of mesothelioma. Their aim is also to get the rest of the mesothelioma community on board including patients, carers, healthcare & legal professionals together with the asbestos removal firms and the construction industry. Paul Cook - Bio "In 2017, I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. At that time I was running a business, was fairly active nut then got pneumonia and my lung collapsed. I was then informed that I had terminal cancer. During various treatments including chemotherapy, surgery to remove the lining of my lung and radiotherapy I decided that, if I made it through, I would start a charity dedicated to find raising funds for research into a cure or at least maintenance of this terrible illness. Since starting Erase Meso along with my wife, Jill and the other Trustees we have come into contact with some amazing people including mesowarriors, carers, supporters or people within the medical profession. We believe we can make a real difference as mesothelioma research is dreadfully underfunded. My best moment so far was cycling over 900 miles across the UK last year. The support was incredible and so many people helped me get there. In 2020, I am excited that we will be making our first grant which will be the start of many!" Mavis Nye - Bio “My journey with Mesothelioma began as so many Patients find with the day I couldn’t breathe. I was rushed to A&E and they had found a bed for me,where they drained 7ltrs of fluid. So my lung had collapsed, and my diaphragm had bent. They found Mesothelioma cells when testing the fluid. And I was given a 3 months Prodgnosis. After going to Guys hospital, where I had a pleurodesis, I came home with a drain. The Bi-op that had been carried out at the same time confirmed the Diagnosis. 4 Years of Chemotherapy then followed with shrinkage then regrowth 4 times within those years. I became too toxic and I was told there was no more treatment. I had already made it known I was interested in any trial and Immunotherapy was just being investigated. MSD had this trial at the Royal Marsden and I was referred there on my request as Dean Fennel thought it would suit me. Prof De Bono agreed, and I was one of 3 patients to start MK3475-28. I had complete response. It was only because I had Sepsis right at the end of the 2 year trial that I didn’t get that result included in the final figures in  time so I'm under the heading of ongoing. That was disappointing. I had 2 years freedom but then last March new growth showed. The old Meso was still in remission though. The new growth was bi-oped and it was found it was full of PDL1 whereas I only had 1% before. I became the first patients in the world to re-challenge the drug. Within 4 infusions it shrunk 14% and then stopped. It is growing again very slowly, not enough to bi-op yet. The Royal Marsden have matched my DNA to a drug that they can use to boost Pembro and maybe kick it in to work again. That is in the future. I keep busy raising awareness of Asbestos and the dangers to Health and Safety today as the tradesmen work where the asbestos is hiding and the awareness of how important it is to use the right mask and to have Face/Fit training. Also the Awareness of Mesothelioma and how we need to talk to each other. I run the Social Media as well as My Charity The Mavis Nye Foundation.” Get help with asbestos - 
22/03/2152m 33s

What should contractors do when attending site?

In this episode Neil and Ian deep dive into looking at what contractors should do when attending sites. They cover what should happen with planned works as well as reactive works. Contractors should be assessing all risks including asbestos. How can you help to prevent people from being exposed to asbestos when instructing contractors to carry out works on your site? Get help with asbestos -     
15/03/2122m 22s

Reviewing your asset register to include all possible asbestos locations.

In this episode, Neil and Ian highlight the importance of reviewing your entire asset register so it includes all possible locations which may contain asbestos. Your asbestos register should include all everyday use buildings but also all non-used buildings, structures and equipment. Get help with asbestos - 
08/03/2116m 37s

Fines for delaying asbestos removal works!

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss a recent case where a hotel owner was fined for delaying essential asbestos removal works. Get help with asbestos - 
01/03/2113m 42s

Why is UKAS accreditation so important for asbestos companies?

In the episode Neil and Ian are joined by fellow Acorn Director Paul Knights to discuss UKAS accreditation and its importance for asbestos companies?
22/02/2128m 37s

Asbestos victim sues Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Records

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the case of Bernard Jones against Richard Branson and Virgin records. Mr. Jones claims he was exposed to asbestos whilst working at the company's London stores in the 1970s.
15/02/2115m 12s

Presidential Pardon for asbestos violator

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the recent pardoning of David Rowland for violations of the Clean Air Act by removing asbestos without a valid license.
08/02/2119m 26s

The Asbestos Epidemic Documentary

In this episode Neil and Ian are excited to announce the release of The Asbestos Epidemic. A new 4-Part documentary series for people with asbestos problems. A must-see for every person who needs to master asbestos management which prevents exposure, prevents prosecution and keeps you and your building occupants safe. Here the trailer in this episode. To watch the full series, go here
28/12/202m 33s

Asbestos Continued Professional Development

Join Ian and Neil in this live recording of a CPD for architects and building consultants. In this CPD they cover: Asbestos products and uses Asbestos survey types and what to expect The survey process and annual requirements Surveyor & Contractor competence and how to check Survey report expectations Regulation main points Creating Asbestos Management Plans

Asbestos, boilers, plant and M & E

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss issues and points to consider with asbestos, boilers, plant and M & E.
14/12/2019m 12s

Asbestos Management in Schools – New Released Guidance

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about the recently released government guidance - Asbestos management in schools. Guidance for school leaders, governors, local authorities and academy trusts about managing asbestos in schools and colleges.
07/12/2025m 15s

Why is it time to get rid of your asbestos register signing in sheets?

In this episode Neil and Ian raise the point that it’s time to get rid of your paper signing in sheets for a more qualified asbestos register acknowledgement system.
30/11/2012m 37s

Asbestos and Covid – Are your premises secure?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of ensuring your premises is Covid secure.
23/11/209m 58s

What to do when high risk asbestos is discovered?

In this episode Neil and Ian highlight the issues when high risk asbestos materials are discovered and what actions you should consider immediately.
16/11/2019m 58s

Problems with using asbestos databases

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about the issues with using asbestos databases, the roll out of them and implementation of them.
09/11/2012m 57s

Asbestos Management Plan Audits

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of asbestos management audits. Why are these audits so vital for effective asbestos management?
02/11/2024m 18s

ResPublica release policy paper – Our views

In this episode Neil and Ian share their views on the recent ResPublica policy paper - Hazardous Homes To Let: Protecting Renters from Asbestos
26/10/2029m 47s

The hidden killer – Even more invisible than ever!

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the worrying and significate downturn in asbestos training which has occurred during the Covid 19 pandemic.
19/10/2019m 42s

10 Essential Features your Asbestos Database Should Include

In this episode, Neil and Ian highlight the 10 essential features your asbestos database should include. Zero cost 24/7 access to your data any time anywhere Live up to the minute data Store unlimited amount of data / reports User friendly reporting systems on your asbestos information Data exporting facilities Geolocations of sites across your portfolio Unlimited logins for all your contractors, customisable by you Client storage facilities for all your compliance needs Customisable dashboards & asbestos data reports
12/10/2012m 39s

The Acorn Asbestos Antidote©

In this episode, Neil and Ian introduce you to the UK’S only fully documented and systemised asbestos management process – The Acorn Asbestos Antidote ©
05/10/2034m 54s

Is your Asbestos Analyst truly independent?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of true independence when employing your asbestos analyst.
28/09/2012m 40s

Decontamination Units

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss decontamination units and what they should contain.
21/09/2016m 44s

Hazardous Materials Surveys

In this episode Neil and Ian talked through the types of hazardous which are identified during a hazardous materials survey. A hazardous material survey can include items such as: Asbestos Lead in paint Anthrax in plaster Water testing and analysis including Legionella, Total viable count, E.coli / coliforms, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mold testing and analysis including Thermophilic Aspergillus, Total General Mold Identification including enumeration and identification. Including the identification of common moulds, such as Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Ulocladium, Chaetomium and Stachybotrys. Testing for micro-organisms usually airborne sampling for total viable count (TVC) and general molds and Aspergillus. Locations of possible Zoonosis such as carcasses, guano, nests etc. Other items may be listed as hazardous also as part of the inspection e.g. drug use signs / needles as well as identification / highlighting items on site e.g. oils, containers, chemicals PCB’s, batteries etc.
14/09/2021m 36s

The location of your asbestos consultancy

In this episode Neil and Ian highlight the importance of utilising asbestos consultants that are local to you and your sites.
07/09/2013m 17s

Asbestos Samples – Should you be charged per sample for your asbestos survey?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the relevance of not being charged per sample during your asbestos survey.
31/08/2011m 27s

Asbestos Survey Reports – What needs to be in yours?

In this episode Neil and Ian go over through what should be included within every asbestos survey report.
24/08/2041m 3s


In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the hard-hitting facts surrounding Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which is mostly only associated to exposure to asbestos.
17/08/2022m 33s

£2bn government gold rush could be an asbestos mine field

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the UK government grants for energy saving home improvements and the asbestos risk associated with these types of works.
10/08/2020m 40s

Removing non asbestos over known asbestos materials – who can do this?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the issues surrounding removing non asbestos floor coverings. Are they asbestos works? Can they be removed without coming into contact with asbestos?
03/08/2028m 24s

Complacency, an asbestos surveyors biggest enemy

In this episode Neil and Ian describe one of the biggest dangers an asbestos surveyor will face during their career – Complacency!
27/07/2024m 38s

Asbestos: All that glitters isn’t gold!

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of checking who runs the asbestos company you employ.
20/07/2010m 51s

Asbestos Air Monitoring – Approved Code of Practice Requirements

In this episode Neil and Ian highlight the importance of asbestos air monitoring. The Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) state the following: 416 Air monitoring to reduce risks from spread of asbestos is required to: measure the background concentration of asbestos fibres in the work area during work, to check that the control measures are effective; measure background fibre levels outside the enclosure, particularly when the enclosure is in occupied premises. Check for fibre leaks around the perimeter of the enclosure and at the airlock and bag lock positions. Also conduct testing at the discharge location of the air extraction equipment, where it is sited internally; measure background fibre levels inside the enclosure when the asbestos work is complete, to ensure that it has been thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated before dismantling; carry out measurements for reassurance, eg after accidental release of asbestos fibres.
13/07/2016m 7s

The Problems With Asbestos Textured Coating Removal

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the issues and problems surrounding the removal of asbestos textured coatings.
06/07/2017m 3s

The Casual Approach to asbestos

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the ever so increasing casual approach to asbestos risk and asbestos management.
29/06/2016m 33s

Asbestos Management Training

In this episode Neil and Ian announce their FREE Asbestos Management Training available at This training is for anyone who works in and around asbestos at their sites and for anyone who has to manage asbestos.  The training includes information on: Desktop study Surveys Assess the risk Asbestos Management Plans Action Plan & Asbestos Works Asbestos Tender Process Education and Sharing of Info Asbestos Reviews and Reinspections How to achieve this Additional Learning Resources How to contact us if you feel you need help
22/06/206m 43s

What you need to look out for when reviewing your asbestos surveyors plan of works

In this episode Neil and Ian talk through some of the basic points that should be included in an asbestos surveyor's plan of works.
15/06/2021m 27s

Weird locations and uses of asbestos

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about some of the weird locations and uses of asbestos that they’ve encountered over the years.
08/06/2017m 51s

How do you plan an asbestos refurbishment survey?

In this episode Neil and Ian provide some tips on how you should be planning your next asbestos refurbishment survey.
01/06/2022m 15s

Asbestos surveying companies and asbestos removal companies that are under one roof, what the underlying worry?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the underlying issues which may be present with asbestos surveying companies and asbestos removal companies that are under one roof.
25/05/2012m 11s

Problems with asbestos floor covering removal

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the problems and issues surrounding the removal of asbestos floor coverings.   There are a number of different asbestos floor coverings some include: Vinyl, Thermoplastic, Paper backed linoleum, Screeds, Bitumen, Adhesives, Damp proofing on floors.  Some of the key issues include: Modern coverings over the top / layers and layers stuck on top of the asbestos floor covering The asbestos floor covering has been screeded over Asbestos containing bitumen adhesive used to adhere the asbestos floor covering down. Skirting board and walls, kitchen cupboards etc fitted over Asbestos floor covering pinging everywhere Mechanical equipment required to lift the asbestos floor covering.
18/05/2016m 38s

I don’t have the budget to sort my asbestos out

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss what do you do if you don’t have the budget to sort out your asbestos. Briefly you’ll need to Assess the risk first Can you isolate the asbestos are / lock off areas. Prevent people getting near to the asbestos Put procedure in place the control access and works. No go and permit to work areas. Put a plan in budget for next year Get an asbestos consultant on board early to help in managing this whole process Have air monitoring completed regularly to show the areas are safe and not being disturbed
11/05/209m 49s

Asbestos Inspections in Confined Spaces

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about asbestos inspections in confined spaces. A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen). Some examples of confined spaces include: Boiler rooms, Ducts, Under Croft’s, Silos, Basements / Cellars, Manholes, Tunnels. The most important thing you should do is to assess the risks. Example equipment you may need to enter confined spaces may include: Rescue lifting Tripod, Escape BA kit (one piece hooded), Gas detection monitor, Radios, Lighting, Barriers, Coveralls, 3 person working team
04/05/2014m 21s

3 Things That Highlight you’ve got the wrong Asbestos Consultants Onboard?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the 3 important things that highlight you may have the wrong asbestos consultant on board. You may have the wrong asbestos consultant if... You have to babysit them They’ve got their own interest at heart They don’t know you or your systems
27/04/209m 2s

What do you do if you don’t have the budget to sort out your asbestos problems?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss what do you do if you don’t have the budget to sort out your asbestos problems? If you haven’t got the budget, here's some points to consider: Assess the risk Can you lock off / isolate the areas Restrict all access and permit to work areas Plan removal / remedials in budget for next year Get an asbestos consultant on board early to help in managing ongoing Undertake air monitoring, completed regularly to show the areas are safe and not being disturbed
20/04/2010m 28s

3 Things That Highlight You’ve Hired the Wrong Asbestos Consultants!

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the 3 things you need to know that highlight you’ve hired the wrong asbestos consultants. You may have hired the wrong asbestos consultant if… You have to babysit them They’ve got their own interest at heart They don’t know your systems
13/04/208m 45s

Cassandra Fernandez: Neil & Ian interview Sydney, Australia based Senior Hazardous Materials Consultant.

In this episode, Neil and Ian interview Cassandra Fernandez who is a Senior Hazardous Materials Consultant based in Sydney Australia. Cassandra shares here views and experiences surrounding the asbestos industry in Australia.
06/04/2041m 29s

Non Asbestos Trades Entering Enclosures

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the requirements surrounding non asbestos trades entering asbestos enclosures. From time to time there may be a requirement for other trades to enter asbestos enclosures to complete works. This could be in an emergency to or to repair services to enable the asbestos works to be completed. These trades will be required to be satisfactory competency to complete this safely.  
30/03/2012m 39s

The Coronavirus Silver Lining

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss how you can take advantage of the potential slow down face by the corona virus.
23/03/209m 26s

Coronavirus & Asbestos???

In this week's episode, Neil and Ian answer the question... Can the protective equipment you use for asbestos works be used for Coronavirus? And the answer is no, but why to be use the equipment we use with asbestos. In summary they cover: Under the law, RPE is the last line of protection. HSG53 Respiratory protective equipment at work specifies Employers have a legal responsibility under all the Regulations to control substances hazardous to health in your workplace Work activities may result in harmful substances contaminating the air in the form of dust, mist, vapour, gas or fume   The two main types of RPE are respirators and breathing apparatus:  1. Respirators (filtering devices) use filters to remove contaminants from the air being breathed in. They can be either: a. Pon-powered respirators – relying on the wearer’s breathing to draw air through the filter; or  b. Powered respirators – using a motor to pass air through the filter to give a supply of clean air. 2. Breathing apparatus needs a supply of breathing-quality air from an independent source (eg air cylinder or air compressor   You should only select and use RPE:   Where an inhalation exposure risk remains after you have put in place other reasonable controls (residual risk); Under the law, RPE is the last line of protection Carrying out a fit test RPE with a tight-fitting facepiece, you should make sure that each wearer undergoes a fit test Half or full face powered respirator with a P3 filter Type 5 (BS EN ISO 13982-1+A1) coveralls
16/03/2013m 55s

Nick Garland: Neil & Ian Interview asbestos and health & safety expert Nick Garland

Nick Garland: Neil & Ian Interview asbestos and health & safety expert Nick Garland. With nearly thirty years’ experience under his belt, Nick provides health and safety management advice, asbestos audit, expert witness testimony, competence and compliance systems to the asbestos and construction industry. He holds a post graduate degree in health, safety and environmental management from Portsmouth University and has completed NEBOSH H&S qualifications as well as numerous professional project management courses.  In 2014 Nick systemised his innovative approach to H&S in the asbestos industry and launched Assure360. Twitter - @NickGarland360
09/03/2054m 3s

Asbestos and Due Diligence – What you need to know before buying a property

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of thinking about asbestos first before purchasing a property. Asbestos should be top of your due diligence list whenever considering the purchase of a property. This will not only help you consider if the property is fit for your use, but could also save you thousands if identified at the right stage of the process. Find out what you need to know in this episode.
02/03/209m 49s

Working with Asbestos in hot conditions, what’s the problem?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the issues surrounding asbestos works which involve working in hot environments. Hot working Examples: Boiler rooms, ducts and confined spaces, Attics in summer, Working outside in summer e.g. polyethene enclosures next to glazing, Issues around enclosures failing (falling down) Additional hot risks within:  steam pipes, heating pipes which also bring a risk of serious burns from first degree where only the outer layer of the skin is affected up to fourth degree burns where burns go through the layers of the skin and affect the deeper tissue affecting the muscle and bone  Issues around operatives working temperatures What’s too hot and how do you work around this? Normal body temperature is between 36.1°C to 37.2°C. If it rises above 38°C, something serious is going wrong.   What are the effects of heat stress? Heat stress can affect individuals in different ways, and some people are more susceptible to it than others. Typical symptoms are: an inability to concentrate muscle cramps heat rash severe thirst - a late symptom of heat stress fainting heat exhaustion - fatigue, giddiness, nausea, headache, moist skin heat stroke - hot dry skin, confusion, convulsions and eventual loss of consciousness. This is the most severe disorder and can result in death if not detected at an early stage   Heat stroke – a body temperature above 40°C -is fatal without urgent attention The body can cool itself even if the outside temperature is hotter than body temperature.  Further complicated if you’re active or wearing clothing    What can you do? Firstly, can you eliminate the risk from the heat? Turn boilers off, postpone the works until winter?   How can you reduce? Introduce greater air flow into the enclosure with additional negative pressure. Introduce air coolers or conditioning units to lower the temperature Reduce working times and introduce regular breaks. Prevent dehydration by supplying cool water and encourage workers to drink frequently.   Personnel requirements Ensure the operatives are adequately trained. Advise on the risks of heat stress, What the symptoms to look out for Safe working practices Emergency procedures.
24/02/2017m 23s

50th Episode – Look back at The Key Points

To mark the 50th episode, Neil and Ian look at some of the key points from the last 50 episodes. Covering all the key elements of asbestos management. Highlight episodes include: Asbestos Emergencies - What to do Specifications for asbestos removal works, what’s the point? How do you get the right asbestos contractor? How do you get the right asbestos surveyor? Asbestos Management Surveys Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys Asbestos Material Risk Assessments & Priority Risk Assessments 20 Year Anniversary and Latest Statistics
17/02/2024m 11s

PVA as an encapsulant for asbestos – yay or nay?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss is PVA a suitable material to use as an encapsulant? What is PVA? Polyvinyl Acetate - best known as wood glue, white glue, carpenter's glue, school glue. A number of microorganisms can degrade polyvinyl acetate. Most commonly, damage is caused by filamentous fungi—however algae, yeasts, lichens, and bacteria can also degrade polyvinyl acetate. Find out the reasons why they don’t recommend it’s use as an encapsulant.
10/02/209m 53s

Issues around asbestos removal works in lofts and attics

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss points surrounding the risks and highlight points to consider when undertaking asbestos removal works within lofts. Points to consider: Occupants below Decanting during the works or for longer periods, issues the client faces for rehousing office workers Risks carrying out the work Working tethers Fall arrest systems Restrictions in gaining access e.g. if the tether is to the main beam how can they reach the sides of the apex Working platforms and boarding out the lofts Gaining access to the pitch in the loft space – towers in the loft Fall arrest requirements below I netting?  Can be negated by use of tethers to tools and equipment Issues around if there is a breach how can this be contained, and the rooms cleaned? Will the area be asbestos free at the end of the works? Depends on voids – can they be fully cleaned Can all surfaces be cleaned or will they need encapsulating? How any asbestos remaining may affect the future works e.g. fixing into the ceiling?
03/02/2024m 39s

Asbestos survey information required between Surveyor and the Client

In this episode Neil and Ian talk through the information required between the asbestos surveyor and Client. Covering: Information the surveyor needs from the client Details of buildings or parts of buildings to be surveyed and survey type(s). Details of building(s) use, processes, hazards, priority areas. Plans, documents, reports and surveys on design, structure and construction. Safety and security information: fire alarm testing, special clothing areas (eg food production). Access arrangements and permits. Contacts for operational or health and safety issues. Information the client/dutyholder should expect from the surveyor Surveyor(s) identity, qualifications, accreditation or certification status, quality control procedures. References from previous work. Insurance (professional indemnity cover). Proposed scope of work. Plan of work, including plans for sampling or asbestos disturbance. Details of caveats. Report, including areas not accessed/not surveyed.
27/01/2026m 49s

Asbestos Management Journey

In today's episode Neil and Ian talk through the asbestos management journey. If you’re a Property Manager or Duty Holder who needs to get a grip of your asbestos, this is the episode for you. The principles of the asbestos management journey covered: Desktop Surveys Assess Risk Management Plan Actions Inspect & Review This episode has been filmed and is available on Youtube.
20/01/2033m 23s

Rant Episode: Brexit

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the current issue surrounding Brexit related to the asbestos industry. With the slowdown in the economy they’ve identified that some clients are holding off sending money on sorting out their asbestos problems.
13/01/2013m 13s

Asbestos insulating boards and problems with its removal

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about asbestos insulating board and problems that can be encountered during its removal.
06/01/2018m 55s

Asbestos spray coatings and problems with its removal

In this episode Neil and Ian talk about asbestos sprayed coatings and problems that can be encountered during its removal.
30/12/1923m 4s

20 Year Anniversary and Latest Statistics

In this episode Neil and Ian mark the 20th year anniversary of the final asbestos ban in the UK and review the latest statistics surrounding asbestos related diseases.
23/12/1919m 23s

Interview John Crockett: What’s the outlook with Health and Safety?

Today’s podcast is from a slightly different angle.  Neil and Ian are talking all about Health and Safety with an interview of John Crockett (IMaPS, SIIRSM RSP, ACIOB) who is the health and safety manager at Acorn.  They discuss about how Johns career has developed and the changes he’s seen over his long time in the industry.  John gives advice on what he’s seeing on a daily basis and how to combat these issues, plus the no1 thing that clients need to know about health and safety.  Plus a whole host of other chat in and around health and safety and asbestos.
16/12/1921m 46s

Robin Bennett: Neil and Ian interview founding Director of one of the leading asbestos software providers - Start Software

In this episode Neil and Ian interview Robin Bennett founding Director of Start Software. Robin provides a real insight to how asbestos software has advanced over the last 20 years and where it’s going. Robin Bennett is the founding director at Start Software and has been creating asbestos systems for 20 years.  The designer of SAM, Tracker and the market-leading Alpha Tracker systems, he has worked with most of the leading asbestos consultancies in the UK, Australia & New Zealand.  Start Software’s offices in Adelaide (South Australia) and Telford (West Midlands, UK) enable them to support and sell Alpha Tracker around the world to all sizes and types of organisation with an interest in asbestos. Links to your website and social media sites UK: Aus/NZ:  blog:  Twitter: @startsoftware @alpha_tracker
09/12/1945m 33s

Do you need to label asbestos?

In this episode Neil and Ian discussed the requirements of asbestos labelling. Is it a requirement? What type of labels do you need to use?
02/12/199m 45s

Pointers for asbestos projects

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss what you need to look out for as a dutyholder / asbestos Project Manager / Asbestos Consultant on your asbestos removal projects.
25/11/1924m 20s

Asbestos and Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss asbestos in grade 1 and grade 2 listed buildings. You need to get the right surveyor with the right experience and knowledge of these buildings. Where was asbestos used in these buildings, when was it added and why?
18/11/1914m 53s

What does asbestos have to be encapsulated with?

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the types of asbestos encapsulation. The commonly available encapsulation methods are: Mechanical Encapsulation High Build Elastomeric Coating Penetrating Encapsulants Water Based Epoxy Resins Transcript   Ian:      Welcome to the Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    I’m Neil Munro. So today we are going to talk about asbestos and encapsulating asbestos materials, so we had a bit of a situation where one of our clients and they are looking to encapsulate some external asbestos. So asbestos insulating board soffits and the question they kind of raised was what do they have to encapsulate those materials with. So in their minds they’ve heard about the different materials and different products that run the market for encapsulating materials, so they adamantly know it have to be ET150 which is and will explain going to a bit more detail of exactly what it is. But it is a product that is common in they are used to encapsulate asbestos materials within the asbestos industry. So the external asbestos insulating boards soffits, fixated in their minds that it had to be two coats of ET150. That’s an okay material to use but it sorts of boil into question, how long would that actually last on the external of the property because it is actually not an external product, and it would face will it be on the outside, below the roof and there is gutters that’s sort of the soffits so that is going to be weathered and susceptible to a lot of rain and wind etcetera on the outside of the building. And they’ve already previously done called a lot of these encapsulating works throughout this property. Ian:      What do they do? Neil:    There is evidence that the ET150 that they have previously used has weathered, has starting to peel, starting to bubble. Ian:      Which that doesn’t surprise me. Neil:    Yeah. Ian:      Because like you say like the ET150 is elastomeric sealing. It dries with like a rubberize finish so that’s kind of our go to as an industry. Neil:    It is a perfect product for… Ian:      Stuff inside. Neil:    Yes, stuff inside, so Ian:      Or in walls. Neil:    Yeah, walls, asbestos insulating boards, ceiling, walls, paneling fabrics. Ian:      But like you say it is not an external paint. It is not an exterior paint. Neil:    No. It is perfect inside because it doesn’t get any weathering, doesn’t get any rain on it, gives it some impact protection. Doesn’t peel when it is dry. It can take a bit of vapor so in boiler rooms where there’s a bit of steam. It is okay for that. But when we are talking about wind, rain, hail, snow, temperatures constantly going up and down like freezing. Ian:      Yeah. But in their mind they just heard that’s ET150 is the asbestos paint. Neil:    It’s got to be that because that’s what you use for asbestos, and it’s all brought about big question is. Ian:      What can you actually use? Neil:    What can you actually use and do you have to use that? Ian:      Okay. We got a few that we’re going to run through of different ones that you can use and can be use, and it is kind of horses for courses. It is different products are better for different things. Neil:    We actually scan [unclear – 03:27] and even asbestos contractors guide as well. There is no specification. Ian:      No. The only that kind of mentioned was in essentials where it talks about a non. Neil:    Yeah, asbestos essential. There is a task sheet for encapsulating asbestos cement and it just said a low solvent. Ian:      That’s it, low solvent, which that is kind of a standard practice anyway because... Neil:    Yeah, that is a non-descript.   Ian:      That’s coming at it from the health and safety point of view of high solvent paints so give more dangerous to your health, more risk of being more flammable, etcetera. So yeah, there are different thing that you can use. You can use normal house paints. Start kind of the lower end of the scale. Neil:    More emulsion.         Ian:      Yeah, bit of emulsion. Slap it on there. It will cover it. It will seal it at exactly the same way. The thing with kind of standard paints is you’ll get a better finish that than you would… That’s the only thing with. Neil:    Pick the color you want. Ian:      Yeah pick the color you want. Get ET150 it comes in white, grey. Neil:    Dark grey.    Ian:      Dark grey, yeah. And you’re in the realms of like took in other colors into mix with it which it is never ideal. Neil:    Yeah, we’ve removed emulsion obviously it is quite thin so particularly if you are encapsulating a friable material wouldn’t it take quite a few coats so and say to actually get a decent seal on it. Ian:      Even if you’re spraying it, it would. Whether you are spraying it or painting it with like brushes or rollers it definitely. Neil:    You need a good few coats probably just to actually seal it in particular like AIB where you have actually got fibers sticking out of the material. Ian:      You think of like when you are doing any decorating in your house like when you paint it. I mean it is brilliant one coat, makes me laugh every time. One coat, well, always needs two coats doesn’t it. Have you ever used the pink stuff? You paint it pink and it goes white. I’ve used that. Again, you still need more and you still miss a bit. That might be just me because I’m crap at decorating. Neil:    DIY specialist. Ian:      Yes, so you can use those. Now, the downside of using emulsion, like I said the upside is you get a better finish and you get the color you want. The downside is that there is no kind of impact protection there. Neil:    No. Ian:      That’s the problem, and that’s why when you ratchet it upon the next one on the scale is the ET150. Neil:    And particularly I suppose it depends on what kind of emulsion so like standard emulsion, you can wipe that off with a cloth quite easily so it is not really going to give you any protection over than it might just stick the fibers down to the material a bit, that’s been unsealed. Obviously if you have got like clean ones or something that’s a bit more. Ian:      Like the satin finish or whatever. Again, that gives you a little bit more… Neil:    A little bit stronger, sort of a stronger finish. Ian:      Yeah, but when you compare that like I say to the next one on the list which is ET150 that is where it comes into its own and that is why as an industry we use it a lot. It is a thick paint, it dries. Neil:    Compared to emulsion, yeah. If you’re looking at that emulsion that’s of ET15. ET150 looks more like paste, doesn’t it? It is real thick sort of paint. Ian:      It is fantastic and it does the job great. Like I said earlier you can encapsulate boiler room walls, ceilings, paint big panels of asbestos insulating boards, paint pipe work with it, whatever, and it goes on nice and thick. It covers really well. Once it is dry it does give a little bit of impact protection because it’s got that kind of rubberized finish. Neil:    Yeah, another thing I would say you’re not going to get a decorative finish. Ian:      That’s exactly where I was going with that. The finish is never meant. Neil:    Yeah, It is sealed. Ian:      Exactly, yeah. And there is a different job between painting like for aesthetics and painting for sealing the asbestos. And even if you got a painter and decorator in was asbestos trained to do that you still not going to get the finish that you would with normal stuff. Neil:    How many contractors you had say, no decorate mate. Ian:      Every single one. That’s a classic line. Yes, so that’s the only problem or the only downside but I mean most of the time when it is boiler rooms, back of house, all the rest of it, as long as it looks half decent and it is sealing the area. I mean don’t get me wrong you can get a good finish. It doesn’t always have to look like a dog’s dinner. Neil:    I was going to say like with big areas where contractors and sprayer applied it which involves watering the material down so it can be sprayable but they have to do a few more coats. You know, two coats is usually not enough so they end up doing three or four coats to get that protection layer but it is a smoother finish. It is a smoother finish whereas if you hand brushing it on you get extra on so you end up with a thicker layer but it does look a little bit rough. So it is important to bear in mind that if you’re encapsulating asbestos materials when somewhere where you want to look pretty. Ian:      Yeah, if you think about like on the entrance to a building or reception are or something. Neil:    Potentially not going to have a nice finish on that. Ian:      No. Not if they can’t spray it at least. But that said like I said that is the standard go to within our industry for those reasons but like we said it doesn’t necessarily have to be that. So the next one down on the list is like a penetrating encapsulant. See this kind of, again, they soak in to the material more. They give an even more protection because they kind of soak up into it and therefore that protection factor. Neil:    That comes a layer part of the layer on. Ian:      Yeah, becomes like a layer on the outside itself, and it is good for more friable asbestos types really. There is a few on the market. Neil:    But again that’s all on the application process where not being applied correctly and having the correct amount of layers building upon the material. Ian:      And the experience because when you’re working with these materials, I mean, like we say anybody can paint a wall, right. So yeah, fine, using emulsion, that’s fine. Using an ET150 that’s fine. When you start using the penetrating encapsulants you need to know how much of a layer you are putting on. How long that you are leaving it, how many coats you are giving it, the gaps and times in between because that can all affect because the last thing you want to do is encapsulate the substrate and then that causes damage to the actual asbestos. Neil:    Yeah. And there is obviously a cost difference between those and the ET150 as well. So that’ something to bear in mind and if you are encapsulating a lot of asbestos materials that’s going to increase, you know, it’s going to have a multiple… Ian:      And there is another one as well which is water base epoxy resins. Now they are available kind of either as a resin finish itself, so whereas kind of like the penetrating encapsulant, it will finish over the material and usually give like a cloudy or a clear finish. But also you can get them where you use like a chopped strand mat that goes into the mix as well. And again, that gives you a real high impact and high protection that’s kind of it becomes easier to use, easier to manage, it is cleanable. Neil:    Yeah, it kinds of give you a cleanable surface afterwards. Ian:      But again that even more so than the penetrating ones. That’s an even more difficult material to use and to get the right finish on.      Neil:    Yeah, paint wise, yeah. So that’s kind of covering the actual encapsulating material but if you want to go to the next level and that sort of add into mechanical encapsulations in the HSE. You can actually build something around the materials and that could be anything. Ian:      Exactly that. I mean, it doesn’t have to be painted to be encapsulated. It could be a… Neil:    Box in with plaster board or anything. Yeah, aluminum casings or…  Ian:      Seen the results over the years like boarding directly applied on like Supalax, stuff like that. What you said… Neil:    Yeah, put board and AIB, asbestos insulating board. Ian:      Plyboard in the boxing out, plaster board in and around it, metal sheeting put directly over it like panels put straight over it. Yeah, tin going around pipes, even wrapping with kind of fiber glass and [unclear – 10:53] wrapping them up. Again, this is all form of encapsulation. Neil:    Yeah. Again, going back to what I was talking about in the beginning, the asbestos insulating board soffits are more permanent solution for that. It could have been over clamming it with PVC and that probably would last for years, 20 years probably, you know in case material itself so encapsulation, few examples but if you want some real sort of protection is go to mechanical protection really. Ian:      Yeah, definitely. Neil:    Longevity for materials. Ian:      Like I said earlier it horse for courses so it depends on what you’re doing and what area it’s in and what you need it to do. Neil:    How long you want it to last and how much you want to spend.          Ian:      Yeah, exactly that. Neil:    You know, if it is a building that you know in the future is going to be refurbed or might be demolished etcetera probably not going to want to spend loads protecting material. You just got to sort of weigh up those. Ian:      No. Just kind of the risk versus the need versus what’s actually the lifetime of that. Neil:    Exactly. And with that example it will be asbestos insulating boards soffits on the external, up high level. You don’t really need any impact protection. Ian:      And also with that, I mean, like you said they are really hang up on the idea of it’s got to be ET150. Well, it doesn’t. I mean there’s plenty of external. Neil:    Yeah, external masonry paint would could have been a better solution. You could even go, you know, a layer of coating of ET150 to give it that impact protection and asbestos protection and then maybe overcoating it with external masonry just to give it that weather proofing. Ian:      And that’s the key there like the point is like you said like it bubbled because it getting water damage and the rest it all  ET150 is not going to stop that. The only thing that’s going to stop that from happening is weather protecting it. Neil:    And sometimes it is so you’ve got to look at is there another reason for that, and it might have been that water can ingress from, and there’s some small crack somewhere or could have been the fixtures that were actually letting water through so water is getting in behind the soffits against through, yeah, soaking through the soffit, so it is actually coming from on top as opposed to from underneath. Ian:      Well, in my house, recently I had a leak and it came in from, I don’t even know, it just came in. It has found its way in and that’s the problem of where it does. Neil:    Yeah, it will find its course don’t it. Ian:      Yeah, part of the least resistance. Neil:    That’s it definitely. Ian:      Have you found that one interesting. You’ve learned a bit about encapsulation and the fact that yes ET150 is the common industry standard go to but it is not necessarily the required one. You should just choose the best encapsulation for the job and what’s going to be better in the long run. Neil:    I see. I think the important thing is to make sure that whatever you do use is adequate for what you need it to. Ian:      It’s got to be fit for purpose. Neil:    Fit for purpose, and putting cost because you might have to end spending more in line. Ian:      Yup, so that’s just for now and remember asbestos first not last.      
11/11/1914m 11s

Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges (RICE) - Explained

In this episode Neil and Ian explain the Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges (RICE). The scheme assesses the proficiency of laboratories counting asbestos fibres in air. UK laboratories are required to be accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025 to undertake this particular analysis as part of assessing clearance under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR). Transcript   Ian:      Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    I’m Neil Munro. Ian:      So today we are talking about RICE. Neil:    Not the stuff you eat. Ian:      We are talking about the Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges. That rolls a few time easy, it is not lame. So a few podcast ago we spoke about the AIMS which is the bulk analysis, the actual physical asbestos sampling analysis whereas RICE it is kind of a similar scheme but it is to check off our air analyst, our air management analyst. Again, it is an external scheme and it is run by HSE testing and monitoring again, and every so often, it’s like once a quarter I think they send out a number of actual slides. Neil:    Yup. Again, these are real live ones sometimes but more often they are made up. And really it goes kind of against the day to day sort of air monitoring slides that the analyst see.   Ian:      A lot of the time, yeah. Neil:    So it goes against, so you got heavily saturated fibers on some of the slides and sometimes it would be chrysotile fibers which are really sort of like fine and thin and hard to see, and they are on the borderline countable. Sometimes it would be sort of amphibole needle like fibers which are heavily stack in the actual slide itself which high counters. And then sometimes it would be very, very low counters where there is barely any fibers on the slides. And then sometimes I spot just a little tiny bit which is heavily populated. Ian:      In one area. Neil:    One area and they are the ones which fry all the counters out because when you’ve got 10 counters on and it is very subjective so the way that you count a slide it’s random sort of graticules that you’re counting, so it is kind of a bull’s eye. Ian:      If you imagine a bull’s eye or a target or like on a rifle the optical that a shooter would look through, that kind of target. Neil:    Yup, well those on the microscope and you move it around the slide and you just count within that target area. Ian:      And it is moved around the slide in a random, not in a systematic, not the same and we’re counting 200 graticules on the slide. Neil:    So you can imagine if counters, they all count differently, so you’re going to hit that random area. Ian:      Some will, some won’t. Neil:    Some won’t. And that sort of kind of the counter out. So they really have, once this sort of like quantify sometimes. Ian:      Again, this is kind of the air management analyst kind of getting raw slides in. Neil:    Yeah, because there are bogus. Ian:      There ae bogus. But again they keep you on your toes, they test you. They make sure that you are doing everything properly so when you are counting an air management slide you need to zoom all the way down through all the plains on the actual slides. What I mean by that is you zoom all the way down through the sample back all the way up through the sample because the different fibers can sit at different levels within that filter and you need to make sure that… Neil:    You’re counting the whole slides. Ian:      Yeah, you are counting the whole slide. You are spotting all of those fibers that are on that actual filter. Yeah, and it is quite easy on some of them if you had just a quick scan over. On first impression you go, “Nah, there’s nothing on this one.” But then when you start zooming in and out of the filter you find the plain where the asbestos fiber are sitting whereas at first glance you’re going, “There is nothing on it.” And like you said the chrysotile ones are, they bsolutely bogus because they are so fine. Neil:    You’ve got to find focus on those slides to make sure that you do see all the fibers. To calibrate the microscope, you know, we use some calibration, imperial test slides they are called, and you have to see a certain band of on that test slide to make sure that you are in line you are seeing all the fibers that are countable. Ian:      And the band that we are talking about it is not like, it’s difficult to explain. It is like once you set the microscope up you look at the bands and band one is easy, band two is alright, three is alright, four gets a bit more a little difficult, five… It is like you can just see it and that’s on the microscope that’s set up 100%. It is so fine and that is why you have to follow the procedures to set the microscope up correctly because if you don’t you won’t get to see the fifth band. If you can’t see the fifth band, when you then count normal slides or RICE slides you are not going to see those fine minute fibers. And that’s why it is so important and so key. So with the RICE exchanges, every UK accredited laboratory counts them it goes back to HSE then basically analyze the results of everything. Neil:    And then the lab. Our lab… Ian:      You are categorized. Neil:    You are categorized and you have to fit in within certain bounds. And we have to maintain that for our accreditation. Ian:      Yes, we do. Neil:    So far, suddenly there are fiber counters stopped being able to count properly we lose our accreditation. Ian:      Yeah, we can’t then trade and do air managing. Neil:    Yeah, simple as that. Ian:      So it is great kind of quality control system for clients, again, through what we do. It gives you the confidence in the fact that we can do what we say we can do. Neil:    Again, complacency sits in all fields of work and this is just a way of ensuring and it is externally verified that our counters are still maintaining the standard required. In the addition to that, you know, the counters we have our own internal QC systems. Ian:      Yeah, we have our own set of slides don’t we. Neil:    That RICE is quarterly, and QCs are, they are monthly, so the counters will have to count library slides and working slides. Ian:      Yeah, and what do we mean by working slides, so the quality department, so they pull people slides from actual working sites and take the labels of, relabel them as the working slide for everybody else to count that month, and everybody’s slide gets pulled. So basically what you’ve recorded on site for your slides, your slides get taken out of the storage box, re-issued to everybody and then everybody else counts what you’ve counted. Neil:    Yeah, it is to double check. One, checking if everyone is still counting right, and two, it is to check off that individual counted that slide correctly on that occasion. Ian:      Yeah, it is kind of double check on that one.    Neil:    Yes. There’s lots that goes into obviously maintaining the quality within a UK accredited laboratory and that’s just one of those. Ian:      Well, those hoops that we have to jump through that the analyst love doing.       Neil:    But it is good. We work with asbestos, it is a hazardous material, and it does kill people and we can’t afford to let standard slip. Ian:      No, definitely, no. Neil:    So we’re really big on making sure that a department is on top of all of our necessary checks and quality controls. Ian:      Yeah, and the thing is we take it serious to the point of we just don’t do the band minimum. We do more. We go above and beyond for those reasons. I mean, we want to be able to sleep at night to make sure that our guys are out there doing what they should be doing. And the only way to do it is to test and measure, and these kind of QCs system and the RICE system, the AIMS system, that’s what they do. They test and measure our staff and staff performance. Neil:    It is definitely particularly important for the fiber counters because essentially as part of the of course those clearance of asbestos removal works before the enclosure or the area could be handed back to the occupants we have to follow those clearance and part of that is the air monitoring which includes the fiber counting. So before that area come down we need to be satisfied that the area is satisfactory and if their counter is not counting right then potentially they are going to pass off an area that’s maybe not fit for re-occupation. Ian:      And that’s it, because asbestos is so minute that’s why we use microscopes. You might have an area that looks alright however there could be millions of fibers in the air. And that is what this check is doing. This is what its capturing. It is capturing the snapshot of air at that time and then the analyst is counting that actual sample to make sure and say, “Yes, I’m happy for the children to re-enter this classroom”, “Yes, I am happy for the office workers to come back in to this area and sit within this environment all day every day.” And that’s why it is so vital and so important, and that’s why the QC needs to be up there. Neil:    Yeah, and rises just the next level of the quality control, and again, it is the external verification. These results are published as part of the ongoing rising. Ian:      Hope you enjoyed that one. Thanks for listening. Remember, asbestos first not last.
04/11/199m 6s

Asbestos Project Case Study

In this episode Neil and Ian talk through a recent asbestos project. They talk through how the client was help, what the project was, and lessons learnt. Transcript Ian:      Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    And I’m Neil Munro. So today we are going to talk about a bit of a case study review over how we’ve helped an individual client. We are going to sort of not mention the actual client names just for confidentiality reasons but we thought it would be a good case study to sort of give you information and what’s possible when it comes to helping clients manage their asbestos risk. Ian:      I’ll set the scene there was a massive refurbishment project being undertaken at this site and… Neil:    Multi million pounds. Ian:      Yeah it was. It was like a few hundred million pounds overall. Neil:    Yeah, and it was essentially sort of included demolishing most of the site. However, maintaining and retaining the actual structure in one section of this building. Ian:      Yeah, they were kind of iconic pieces, iconic sections that needed to be kept for asbestos purposes. Ian:      Yeah, it is part of the project over the years a certain amount of asbestos knowledge and information are being gathered. I mean, when we first went in… Neil:    There’s different surveys as well. Wasn’t it? Lots. Ian:      Yeah, different companies, different surveys. Different findings even.  Neil:    That was a big highlighting factor at the beginning wasn’t it? It was kind of like the client had multiple, multiple surveys, Type 2 surveys, management surveys. Ian:      Type 1s even.  Neil:    Yeah, refurb after refurb after refurb, and when we actually sat down and look all the information, every single report had something different in it. Ian:      Yeah, it did. It really did. And that’s where we started. It was like we’ve got this project coming up, alright certain bits are going to be knocked down,  certain bits are going to be retained so, and that was the first port of call for us of sit down, we’ll do desktop study, so we got all the information, electronic, paper copies, everything. We kind of just laid it all out. Lock ourselves in a room for a few days and just read, literally read everything and make notes as we went of… I don’t know. Neil:    Cross reference the sections. Ian:      Yeah, any discrepancies of stuff that appeared with in our minds, stuff that didn’t make sense of I don’t know. But like within reports, so there were stuffs that said certain things have been removed yet the following year that area has been surveyed and the findings was it was still there. It was all just a mismatch really. So yeah, that’s what we did originally to kind of sit down and get our heads around it all before proceeding with anything. And then only when we kind of had that information had did we then kind of proceed and the next step was to do a new refurb and demo survey in line with what the client actually wanted this time around. So we didn’t discard the old information. We took that forwards. Our surveyors took it on board, they took that forwards and appreciated what the issues where on site that were known and also the stuff where there was question marks above. So what we did, we completed that survey. Again, when you compare the final survey report back to the previous stuff, some of the stuff we agreed with, of yes it had been removed and it had been removed well, other areas there was asbestos that should have been removed but it hadn’t been removed in its entirety and there was still debris and residue and stuff like that there. And then, there was also even additional findings that nobody had found before. Neil:    Yeah, I think if I just interject in there. This is where we sort of lesson learned on. Now this is a massive client, it is a massive site but essentially they didn’t really have hold of the asbestos management. There were no key individual on that site managing the asbestos. Ian:      There have been people over the years that had tickled it… Neil:    Project teams. Ian:      …that dabbled it. Yeah, there was not one particular person who was like. Neil:    Overriding, controlling the asbestos register. A person who was commissioned, a one person who is commissioned in the surveys so they have to grip on, okay that project over there is doing something, I’m in charge of the refurb survey. That project over there is doing it, I’ve got a grip on what they are doing on the surveys they are having, and then feeding back in to that one place. So really, no one really had a grip on. Ian:      They weren’t responsible. There wasn’t a responsible person. Neil:    Yeah, and like you said that project would have some removed. They have a project didn’t get that removed but that information didn’t collide and didn’t come back into a central point so the actual asbestos register could be updated. And that’s kind of where it went wrong. Ian:      It did. Neil:    And that’s where it kind of if you don’t get this thing right you leave yourself open. Ian:      Yeah, and that’s it. There were lots of information there which is great but it was been of a shit shaped. Neil:    It was a case of I think they kind of knew yeah we are going to have asbestos survey. We are doing some asbestos survey. And that kind of the method that they have followed and thought they were complying. Yeah, we run a survey, and it was kind of survey after survey after survey after survey. Ian:      Which was right but it wasn’t in line with the overall management. Neil:    No. Ian:      There wasn’t like the forethought of it was blink is on of this little project that’s all I’m getting sought for. Neil:    That’s all I’m doing. Yeah, I’m might care for this project. I’m not thinking about the management. Ian:      No. Neil:    And that’s kind of where that went wrong. Ian:      It did and that’s kind of when we are brought in and that was what we took charge of for that of there are elements of the project that were happening in other areas and stuff but it all got brought in under our kind of watch if you like. Neil:    And definitely those projects they weren’t thinking about management ongoing. They just sort of blinking in those projects so they are paying out maybe for encapsulation and removal works within a project but that didn’t really fit with the ongoing management of the location, the area, the site as a whole. Ian:      Yeah, the bigger picture.    Neil:    And they have probably spent thousands and thousands of pounds. Ian:      All over the years. Neil:    Unnecessarily doing surveys, unnecessarily doing remedials. Ian:      I’d go as far as say millions over the years on… Neil:    Doubling up on staff.    Ian:      Yeah. Neil:    Not getting it right. Doing it once, twice, three, four, five, probably you know… Ian:      Once, twice, three times. Yes, so when we completed that we had the asbestos information. We knew exactly where the client was at. We knew what issues that we are going to face with what the plans where and all the rest of it, so sat down with the project team, discussed everything and kind of forged the way forwards with regards to what needed to be done to get the project completed but also the forethought in mind of what the sight is going to be looking like once it is all completed, and how the management on the site is going to work afterwards. So we help the client with the specification for the removal and the repair of the asbestos that was needed and that was very very key because, again, they were looking at it from the point of X equals Y. And it is like, yes it does on the basic level but without the bigger forethought of, well, if I do this yeah that makes it safe or whatever but then it is like well that is part of your project. And then you go to the next person in the project and they sit and go, “Yeah, you made it safe but now I need to drill through that or that’s when the cable roof was going, or, or, or. And it was like, just having us all in that room just discussing the end project as it like one rather than each individual. That was really good from our point of view and the client’s because that helped us sort out the correct specification. Neil:    Yeah, that emphasizes my point again of you do need somebody who has taken hold of, take in charge of your asbestos because you need that person fighting the corner for the nest management of the building because most importantly when you’ve got multiple project teams within a site and an organization. You know, the project managers, all they worried about is their project. And you need that individual who’s holding the flag for, “No that is not right for the management of the building. We need to do X, Y, Z.” Ian:      Yeah, definitely. So once the spec was kind of all bottomed out, we help the client tender, the contractors. This was massive. This was a few million worth of asbestos removal. We are on site for two and a half years I think in the end. It wasn’t kind of a small project by any shape. And for that so once it was tendered the contractor kind of proved themselves, put the right package together, the right kind of program, we discussed the project with them essentially in with the clients and make sure that they understood what we understood and the outcome of what they were thinking was going to be the same outcome as what as the client had set our goal out to be.   Neil:    And that is the biggest point to highlight isn’t it. It’s when you go out to contractors and ask them for quotes for asbestos removal, generally speaking they’ll give you the price that they want to give and the project and the removal works that they want to give and they think is best for, not necessarily you, but more to them, how the job is properly done. Ian:      And then went in to work. Neil:    And then went in to work whereas where you start the frontend is we always go into and the way that we project manage asbestos removal works is with the client’s end result at the forefront. Ian:      Yes, what is the endgame, what is the end result look like? What does that actually mean at the end? Neil:    And then work back from there rather than go, I need that remove in and then we’ll make it fit to the management which is the wrong way. Ian:      Definitely. So we started on site. Like so we were on site for two and a half years or so and again just from other projects in the past we’ve learned lessons. And again, we’ve put all it the kind of this of we put a dedicated team in place for it, so there was a dedicated contracts manager dealing with the client and make sure the site guys were kind of on point. There were senior staffs on site leading the project. Again, who were doing the same making sure everything was all good. And then we kept consistency with the analyst and the project managers that run that project. I mean, two and a half years of being on site, sometimes 24/7, is difficult to do. You can’t put somebody to work 24/7. And we would never want to because people get burnt out and people kind of fall out of favor with the industry, and the job especially on big projects. Neil:    Yeah, definitely. I’m not a fan of… Ian:      We talked about this the other day. Neil:    I’m really not a fan of 24/7 work in any industry but particular with asbestos. And it is led by contractors. Contractors go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.” They’ll do whatever. And we find ourselves pushing back a little bit because I’ve done so many 12-hour shifts to any 4 hour work in and we don’t get the quality work for 24/7. Ian:      It is not cost effective. Neil:    No. Ian:      On paper it looks cost effective because you get two 12-hours shifts a day, literally around the clock working and therefore the project hits brought in quicker. However, in reality that is badass. Neil:    The night shifts do half the work the day shifts do and then you get the battle between the two. Ian:      Even like the day shift, like it is a 12-hour day, you get 8 hours work for 12 in the day, and then for the night time you probably get 6 hours work for your 12 hours. Neil:    It burns the guys out as well. Ian:      Not only the analyst and the project manager, also the supervisors and the operatives. Especially on large big projects because people get kind of snow blind with it. Large scale removal is one thing but kind of when you talk about like environmental cleans when you’re picking up minor dust and debris in huge areas, huge spaces, it can be kind of a little bit of soul destroying because you are not removing anything as such. It is not like right, there is a ceiling, now the ceiling is gone or there is a wall, now the wall is gone. It is like the whole clean through. Yes, it looks better than when you started but there is no kind of, I don’t know, real big line in the sand of what you’ve completed. Neil:    Yeah, and that’s when you start getting the full length out between the day shifts and the night shifts. It is like the next shift comes in and go, “What have we done today?” I just think it is really counterproductive. If any think, if you need to do some, if you did two shifts just normal hours at most but generally speaking if you just do a project one shift a day it always works better. Ian:      It does. And also with that it’s like you then get the consistency. Neil:    Yeah, the same people are coming in day in and day out. There is no double shifts and you are responsible for that area and you get it done. Ian:      Yeah. The same people are in charge. The same people carry that responsibility, that weight. There is no kind of jerk and they say, “Well, I didn’t do that bit” or whatever. It is like, well, it is your project so it’s you. Five days a week, everybody gets a break at the weekend. And do you know that is a big thing with the asbestos industry. I get it. Clients do need stuff sometimes out of hours, 7 days a week, all the rest of it. However, if projects are properly planned. I mean, take the construction industry as a whole. They work Monday to Friday and that’s it. Generally speaking that’s what happens with refurbishments, buildings. Neil:    Yeah, even building a new house. They don’t work the weekends unless they are running behind sometimes or whatever but as a rule… Ian:      They still get a break in the week. It is not like 7 days and that goes on in the asbestos industry. I’ve known projects sort of happen where the analyst on site for like 60 days straight without a break, and the supervisor on the site 60 days straight without a break. It is like, in fact, nobody can work that. Neil:    It is ridiculous and you can say, well you can mix it up or anything but then if you start mixing it up with different people you then lose the consistency. So for instance, you know, if you’ve got a big long clearance or you’re on a project, the contractor will come to the analyst and they are asking questions of, “What do you think about X, Y and Z?” The analyst will give you an answer. You take that analyst of and you get a new one they might have a different opinion. And that’s when you get conflict, he said, she said. Ian:      Throwing that off against each other. Neil:    Yeah, exactly and you just lose that consistency. So, yeah, it just works so much better, normal shifts, normal hours Ian:      When you’ve got a dedicated team. Neil:    Dedicated people on there, having breaks, having regular breaks. It just works so much better. Ian:      It does. Neil:    When you double up you don’t get double. Ian:      No you don’t. So projects were completed. There’s all sorts of kind of issues and things along the way. It is you’d expect on something that’s like a few. It is not going to be an easy ride. But we all work together, and again, that was key of the client was on board with us from the beginning. The contract it was on board with us from the beginning and we all worked as a team. There was nobody kind of pushing for hidden agenda or for extras or anything like, it is not right. Look, we all understand where we’re at. This is the end goal. This is what we are going to do. Neil:    Yup. How can we work together to make sure that this project works smoothly. Ian:      So after we did that everything was all in place, everything was all good, and then essentially that building was handed back before it was the point of being recommissioned. Neil:    Just wanted to talk what sort of materials were are we talking on this project. Ian:      Everything. Neil:    Yeah. Ian:      Literally everything. Neil:    What predominantly. Ian:      There was insulation residue, there was insulation to pipes, there was... Neil:    Spray coatings around with that. Ian:      Yes, spray coating. Again, spray coating sections, spray coating residues, spray coating on the ceiling, spray coating on the walls, spray coating on the floor. Neil:    You know, this was, if you are talking about asbestos removal it don’t get much more complicated than spray. Ian:      It was probably the largest, most complicated project that’s happened in the asbestos industry for the last 10 years I’d say. It was huge and it was very complex. Neil:    And from an analytical point of view it really you do have to be on the [unclear – 15:33] as well because a bridge or an enclosure when you’re removing and dealing with spray coatings. You’re going to get high fiber count and possibly exceeding the control limit in those areas. Ian:      Exactly, yeah. Neil:    You really do need to be experienced on all of that in monitoring structures. Ian:      Spray coatings, it is the next level. It is like the top end of asbestos.      Neil:    Yeah, it is like 80%, roughly 80% asbestos content makes with a Portland cement binder but… Ian:      Kind of. Neil:    It will be confused on a cement binder. It was just literally sticking material together so it’s highly friable.   Ian:      The second you touch it millions of fibers are released. Neil:    Yeah, how would you describe it? Not cotton wall. Ian:      That’s what I’m going to say. Neil:    It’s this spiky cotton wall.       Ian:      Imagine if you get a load of fiber glass and stick it on a ceiling. That’s probably the closest. Neil:    Yeah, with a kind of wet look to it. It is not wet. It is dry and it is easily damaged. Ian:      Easily damaged and releases lots of fiber. Neil:    Yeah, easily releases asbestos fiber from minimal disturbance.     Ian:      So yeah we like to say once all that was sorted and the building was at the point of being recommissioned. We then worked with a client on a management plan for anything that was remaining on site and again we sat down with the client, all the different departments because I did lots of different stuffs at site and discuss each and every person’s individual requirements to make sure that the management plan fitted all of them. Neil:    And works for everyone. Ian:      Yeah, because there is no point in having a management plan in place if it is not working. Neil:    Object then clearly. Ian:      Well, the biggest things that we kind of faced was like the contract to control and external people coming to site and making sure that the information was disseminated to them properly in an orderly manner and each and every time, because there were different kind of routes and avenues that other contractors would come to work on that site because there are so many different departments, different areas. Neil:    Yeah, and the key thing was naming those responsible individuals putting them into the management plan and then making the other people aware of who they were, who was responsible for the asbestos management at the site and ultimately who the duty holder was and it’s having that cascading information that disseminates out to all parties, all departments throughout the business, so that was really sort of the good thing for them moving forward and having that responsible hierarchy that control it and has got a stir on how they are going to manage the asbestos within that property on a long game basis. Ian:      And that literally hits the nail in the head from how when we went into the project, how can kind of sparse and kind of disjointed it was to how it is now. There are nailed people, there are processes in place that they have to follow of we’re knocking this wall out right. Well, they have to submit a works order through a certain department that then sign off on it and make sure that the asbestos survey is undertaken by their retained consultant which is us rather than every time they can go enough and get who they wanted which that’s what happened before. So now the site there is still a hell lot of asbestos on that site the difference is though it is being managed in a nice... Neil:    Yeah, they’ve got grip of it. Ian:      Yeah, they’ve got a grip of it. It is being managed in a nice straightforward manner. Works happen. Their contractors will go and help them annually. Will do the re-inspection at the areas that we need to, and yeah, it’s just managed a hell lot better. It is not a stress anymore. I think looking back it was always disjointed, bit of a mess, but of a stress, whereas now they’ve really taken on board what asbestos management means and how to manage it which is just part of the process now. Whereas, before it is always an afterthought but now they kind of… Neil:    Now they got to do something. Ian:      They are in line with our mantra, “Asbestos first not last” Neil:    Exactly that. Ian:      And it has made their lives so much easier, costs have been kept down because there’s no last minute .com, there is no breakages of asbestos that shouldn’t have happened. Neil:    No doubling up on staff, no getting surveys for, a second getting the survey done because that’s what you got to do because you’ve already got the information. Ian:      See that’s what it. I mean I’ll just going to run through the lessons learned just a quick run down really. So for me the early engagement between us and the client was great because it gave us the full information. We then carried that through the specification stage and then the contractor on board right that early stage is great. So the desktop kind of started that off and then when we moved in to the works, the key accounting, again not just ensured continuity because everybody knew what they are at every day. There was no kind of, like Neil said earlier, he said she said kind of thing going on. Neil:    Yeah, handing over. Yeah, changes are, that is a real pain on the client. Ian:      Whenever you got issues of people. That’s the biggie. Human interaction with anything cocks it up. So by having no same people made it run smoother. Neil:    Definitely. Ian:      Like I said the full partnership working literally taking on is a full partnership between us, the client, and the contractor. Just getting any side issues out of the way, getting everybody on the same page, that was massively important because the site was so complex and we really did need everybody on board. And it started with a client, the site was really complex. They had like I said lots of old information and, I don’t know, there was stuff on the site where it was just random places they didn’t have plans for. However, that knowledge was still within the client because they’ve work there for so long. Neil:    Yeah. Just to add to that it was really good to get the teams together as in the removal contractors, asbestos consultancy and the client because sometimes if you have conversations without the three parties the contractor [unclear – 20:57] to understand what we really expect and what we would want to see for the four stage clearances , the standards that would be required at the initial stage before even starting the works. Ian:      Rather than getting into the clearances whether you do want come in and have a look. It was like no, no, everybody knew where they are at before we even started the race. Neil:    Exactly that. We are working to the same agreed goal and that really does make a big big difference. Ian:      It does. And then like I say finally that kind of final thing of sitting down with everybody who was going back into the building and how they were going to move forward in that building again kind of the liaison and agreeing with all the parties, how it is going to work, and working together to get their asbestos management sorted. So yeah, that was really, really, it is an amazing projects to be part of. I’m really proud of what we did there and what we’ve achieved. Neil:    Yeah, it was a good one. Ian:      It was huge and it was all good. Neil:    Yeah, that’s the most important. Ian:      It was interesting as well. Neil:    I think it is the problem solving. It is the end, yeah, okay we did a good job on site but what is more important really, now, the client is left with a hassle free asbestos management. And that’s more of it. It is not a headache. Ian:      They haven’t got a headache. No. Neil:    We’ve removed that asbestos headache for that client which is that’s the big thing for us. So yeah, I hope you found that useful. Don’t forget if you’ve got any questions that you want to cover on the asbestos knowledge empire please contact us in the Facebook community. Come and join there. Get access to myself and Ian. Ian:      If you got questions about a certain project you’ve got coming up or an issue or anything, again, just… Neil:    Just pick our brains. If you want to pick our brains, what would you think to this, is this a good way to go or not. Ian:      We’re not going to charge you for it. We’ll have a chat. That’s what we’re here for. We want to share the information and the knowledge so that asbestos management isn’t a headache and people are likely exposed. Neil:    And if you do like this podcast we’d really appreciate a bit of a rating, hit the subscribe button, 5-star rate would be excellent. We’d really appreciate that. That’s it from us remember, asbestos first not last.           
28/10/1923m 26s

Asbestos In Materials Scheme (AIMS) - Explained

In this episode Neil and Ian explain the Asbestos in Materials Scheme (AIMS). AIMS assesses the performance of laboratories carrying out the identification of asbestos in bulk materials. UK laboratories are required to be accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025 to undertake this particular analysis as part of assessing whether materials contain asbestos under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Transcript Neil:    Hi! Welcome to the Asbestos Knowledge Empire, my name is Neil Munro. Ian:      I’m Ian Stone. Today, we are going to be talking about AIMS. What is AIMS? What does it mean? Well, for us it’s Asbestos In Material Scheme which sounds boring as hell. Our laboratory hates it. The lab analysts absolutely hate it but it is a necessity.   Neil:    Yes, it is a scheme operated by the HSE testing and monitoring department who oversee these kind of management and registration of members, and it is basically Asbestos samples that are sent out to UK accredited labs to basically assess and test that to the labs who are performing to how they should be. Ian:      Yeah, it is like a quality control, so our asbestos laboratory we analyze samples for clients. Clients bring them in, our surveyors bring samples in and we undertake what’s known in the industry as bulk sampling analysis. So what we do for that is we inspect the materials initially on the microscope. And we are basically looking for anything that looks like asbestos form fiber, and if we do come across fibers that look like asbestos then we melt them in refractive index liquids, that is basically a liquid that’s got a certain refractive indexy of light. And then we basically use another microscope, a polarizing light microscope and there are various steps that we go through, pulling all knobs, tweezers, buttons, etcetera.    Neil:    Do you know them? Ian:      Not anymore. Yeah, basically we follow all these process and only when we followed that process for that fiber if it does exhibit all of those details then basically that’s at the point where we say, right, that is 100% asbestos or no it is not asbestos. And that’s what we do for all the different fiber types within any sample that we bring in or clients bring us in.  Neil:    And that is just why I have tested. We’re looking and we are working towards and we can actually do. Ian:      Yes. It is an external kind of quality control scheme as such, so basically once a quarter, once every three months they send out four samples in lovely little foil packaged like a sample bags. And within those sample bags it can be anything. And it could be real samples so, I don’t know, could be a piece of asbestos cement or they also make up their own samples as well.  Neil:    More common than not. Ian:      More common than not, yeah. Neil:    They are really pain in the ass ones which are you never see in real life.   Ian:      No, and it is a funny one. Yeah, you don’t see them in real life because they’ll get like ice cube trays and they’ll pour cement in and then they’ll mix in different fiber types. It could be asbestos. It could be non-asbestos fiber type. Literally whatever they want. They throw into the sample, get a little bit of both, and essentially that could be one sample. So when it comes to us, pop it out on the bag, in the cabinet and you look at the sample and it’s a gray block of something that doesn’t look like anything that has ever come from site. And then it is our analyst’s job to break it down, break it apart into spec throughout the entire sample to find anything that is asbestos or not asbestos. And then at the end of it put their balls on the line and say, “Yes, it is asbestos and these are the fiber types I’m stating that’s in it”, or “Nope. I’ve analyzed that sample fully and there is no asbestos in there.” Neil:    And sometimes it can be very, very transfibers and they are hard to identify. It is a way of checking, I don’t know, that sounds a bit like how they do that. But when you’re a bulk analyst and you are analyzing hundreds of samples a week, you’re generally seeing the same sort of samples, so you see cement, you see texture coatings, you see vinyl, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. That can come that you know you can look at a sample and you know. Ian:      [unclear – 4:13]       Neil:    [unclear – 4:14] what asbestos type is going to be in it. However, there are rare occasions and there are sort of oddities out there where we get samples come in and it has got rare forms of asbestos fiber in it or very trace amounts of stuff. It is basically through evaluate that standard really to make sure you are always expecting the non asbestos and asbestos. And this is a good way of keeping the illness on their toes, keeping their eye in to make sure they are looking for the rare types in particular and definitely the trace amount of asbestos fibers in the samples. Ian:      Yeah it does. It gives one of the ties and kind of stops complacency setting in with those samples. And like you say they can be, I don’t know, they can be normal samples, they can be really hard samples, they can be non-asbestos samples. Quite a good one that they throw in now and again is fore damaged asbestos, so not any analysts they will know when you go through the motions. It will only exhibit certain properties. It won’t exhibit all of them because it’s been damaged by the fire. Neil:    Yeah, it’s usually how to get a [unclear – 5:17] in those samples. Ian:      Yeah, exactly, really difficult. But it is still asbestos. It is still an asbestos formed fiber and again it’s kind of proving the analyst do know what they are doing and it sends that kind of benchmark. And like I say there is basically four samples, once a quarter they send out. Neil:    All UK accredited labs have do. It is part of their accreditation, maintain a level of confidence within the AIM samples. Ian:      Yup. And also this kind of complements in-house quality control measures like once a month some of these samples, again, the analyst have to do. We’ve got our own pool of samples. Some are easy, some are hard, some are horrible. Neil:    Some are spiked. So you know because a lot of times you have texture coating generally speaking that it is always ever been cause on that was use in that. Sometimes you get a spiked texture coating samples. And it is just to keep people in their toes to make sure they are actually following the step properly and identifying those fiber types correctly. Ian:      Yeah, examining the full sample for what it is, not the presumption of, oh it is texture coating, right I’m going to find chrysotile. Neil:    Yeah, definitely. And the AIMS ones that are very hot on that and they like for instance they love their vinyl tile sample but on one little corner they’ll put some asbestos pigment just on a little dot on the corner. So if you have not scan in the whole sample you won’t find it. Ian:      There is one that I remember few years ago. There was a blue carpet tile and between the carpet tile itself the blue fiber is on top of the actual backing some lovely person stuffed a load of chrysolite blue asbestos in there. Neil:    Wow, so blue fibers. Ian:      Yeah, blue fibers on a carpet tile that look like I don’t know. It just been brought from being queue that morning. Neil:    When they are scanning it from that you know. Ian:      It is modern. Neil:    Yeah, exactly, you are looking at and ask, “This is a new carpet. What is all this about?” Yeah, that’s sort of tricks they have to, isn’t it. It is to keep everyone on their toes and to make sure that, you know, giving everyone the level of confidence particularly the individual, or kind of less the company as a whole and the industry as a whole just to keep that sort of consistency and to make sure that we are doing it correctly. Ian:      Yeah, explain a little bit about some of the hoops that we have to jump through as part of our kind of accreditation, our procedures. Neil:    Yup, so that definitely keeps our bulk analysts. They love that every quarter. Don’t they? [unclear – 7:34] Ian:      It is always the dreaded AIMS. Neil:    The dreaded AIMS. Ian:      It is all good. They always get alive. Neil:    They are used to it to even get signed up they have to pass AIMS, so yeah you can rest assure that the bulk analysts are… Ian:      They know what they are doing. Neil:    They know what they are doing. Ian:      And they are the checks that are in place. It is not like, I don’t know. They’ve been doing the job. They are alright. They are being externally qualified and verified for it. Neil:    And it is the ongoing thing isn’t it? It is the ongoing so it is not just you pass one time and you’re over the hurdle. Ian:      Back in 1974, I’ll pass this thing and I’m alright. Now, it is like, no, no, you’ve got to keep continually proving your worth and proving that you are doing what you should be doing. Neil:    Yeah, because we all know that complacency sets in and when you analyze in cement sample after cement sample you can’t take there, you know, you can’t presume. You do have to follow that set process every single time to make sure you identify it correctly. Ian:      See that’s the Asbestos In Materials Scheme or AIM Scheme. I hope you find that useful. If you’ve got any other kind of, I don’t know, if something comes in you think, I wonder how they do that, or why they do that, or whatever, please contact us through the Facebook group just search Asbestos Knowledge Empire. Remember, asbestos first, not last.            
21/10/199m 20s

Asbestos disposal: New exciting methods

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss new exciting methods relating to asbestos disposal. These new methods if adopted will help stop asbestos having to go to landfill – as spoken about by Dr Yvonne Waterman in at the Birmingham Contamination Expo – Asbestos Denaturation Chemical eradication – which leaves by products that can be re used in the building trades – asbestos cement Thermal destruction – heated to extremely high temperatures where the asbestos is totally destroyed and becomes inert Kinetic – asbestos is placed in large industrial units and heavy balls are also placed in the unit and the kinetic energy from the rotation of the unit destroys the asbestos fibre Biological – growth of fungus to eradicate asbestos More info re all of this will be at the European Asbestos Forum held in November in Holland   Transcript: Neil:    Hi! Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. My name is Neil Munro. Ian:      Hi! I’m Ian Stone. So today we’re talking about some exciting developments with regards to asbestos land fill. Neil:    What happens to asbestos? So we went to a conference or an exhibition.  Ian:      It was the [unclear – 00:57] Neil:    That’s the word. Ian:      Yeah, in Birmingham. Neil:    Lots of different people from the industry, asbestos industry flood, everyone in and around that was there. Lots of different companies sort of exhibitions sharing sort of new techniques, best practice, innovations and there are also quite a lot of seminars. Ian:      Yes, so, one of them we saw Dr. Yvonne Waterman she spoke about asbestos denaturation. So at the moment asbestos goes to the landfill, so we remove it, it gets bunked up or wrapped appropriately, gets taken off to other waste transfer station or straight to landfill. Neil:    Yeah, and get buried in the ground. Ian:      And that’s the long short of it. Asbestos comes out of the ground, we wrapped it up, we stick it back in the ground. Neil:    And this is creating not a very nice legacy that we are leaving for future generations really, all these harmful material. So we imported all asbestos that’s been used in this country, so we export it from different countries and create millions of tons of asbestos products and to this date all of it that’s been removed is going to land fill. Ian:      Yes. Neil:    And if you can imagine the tons and tons of these materials that of now just been buried in the ground and will continue for the future. However, there are some really exciting innovations that are coming in their infancy to market and we just want to share those. We pick this up from some experts at the conference at the exhibition and so we got to share that in this podcast today. Ian:      Yeah. This is what Dr. Yvonne Waterman, I can’t remember her colleague’s name, but that’s what she spoke about. We just want to give you kind of our layman’s interpretation of what she spoke about. Neil:    Yeah, it is very layman. Ian:      There is going to be more information on this. Neil:    Different removal techniques have been pioneered in there, so how many is it roughly? Ian:      Four we’ve got. Neil:    So if we start with the first one then. This was the quite exciting one for me which I highly appreciate was chemical eradication. Ian:      I think this one sounds, I don’t know, sounds the most promising to me. Neil:    Yeah, that and the kinetic one, and even the final one.  Ian:      [unclear – 03:14] Neil:    This three definitely. Ian:      So yeah, chemical eradication, and what she spoke about was basically putting asbestos cement products into a vat of acid, don’t know what type of acid it is. Neil:    Yeah, and the additional benefits, these are byproducts from industries. So they are using the acids that are byproducts of and waste products from other industries, and using them to break down the asbestos. Ian:      Yeah, and also what happens is once the asbestos is broken down that creates a byproduct of the original asbestos material so the Portland cement and the gypsum after basically what the chemical reaction does. It destroys the asbestos fibers in their entirety. So once it’s been through the acid there is no asbestos fiber essentially left, and you’re just left with materials that can then be re-pass and re put back into construction materials. Neil:    Yup, so these are inert materials that are left and yes they’d be really useful for like roads. Ian:      They were talking about making blocks out of them and basically reuse them as building materials. Neil:    Which if you think how much that’s going to save in landfill is just unbelievable, when we use these materials that’s just amazing. Ian:      It was kind of complex. Neil:    We’ve just… we got that very, very… Ian:      Dump it down to our very simplistic level. Neil:    Simple diagram explain it this cement sheet are loaded into big vats full of this acid and it’s like two step process that it go through and like Ian said you end up with this inert raw material that’s left at the end. Ian:      So next one thermal destruction. I don’t know that she spoke about thermal in sense. It’s just I know that… she did. Neil:    It is basically heating the asbestos products at to, I think it goes above 1,500 ºC, and basically it gets to a certain temperature where the asbestos just breaks down. Ian:      Again, the properties of the asbestos material while we’ve used it, it seizes to be like that, and basically you can’t use it in the same manner. The fibers don’t split and again it becomes inert. So again, kind of the byproduct of that you are left with an inert material that can be used and re-used. I know there’s been trials in America and stuff where they use if for roads and things. So again, that’s an option for the future. Neil:    Yeah, and I know for a fact that this has been used out in the States. Hasn’t been brought over here yet I think simple because of the cost. They haven’t been able to produce a cost effective way bringing that method over here.   Ian:      No. Next one, kinetic, now this sounds pretty cool. Basically using large machines, large units that will rotate and within that machine are big steel balls or balls made of some material placed in there and then as the machine rotates the kinetic energy destroys anything that’s put in there. So it’s just smash the smithereens and what you are left with again it has broken it down to a point of no return, the asbestos fibers are fully destroyed and the other materials that are put in there are fully destroyed. Neil:    That’s crazy. Ian:      It is. It’s a mad one.  Neil:    I don’t quite get the science behind that either. I don’t know how that works but. Ian:      I want to see the machine, the size of the machine that they are talking about to do this. Neil:    Yeah. On picture there, have drawn collider. Ian:      Exactly, yeah, like it is the next level science definitely. Neil:    The next one which was interest me but this is probably the less effective one is in time scale because it is the biological. Now, apparently there is a biological work breaking down asbestos. Again, I think this is predominantly across on cement products where they are using fungus/fungi to literally just eat the material away. But I think the trouble with this one is it takes years to actually do. Ian:      Yeah. Neil:    Yeah, that’s just, can you imagine that? There are some mushrooms on certain asbestos. Ian:      Yeah, and there is no as he left.    Neil:    Yeah. Ian:      Madness. Neil:    How was that? Ian:      Yeah, it was really great talk by Yvonne and she went into it in a hell lot of more data and we just flavored it now. Neil:    The reason we do it is because we want to obviously highlight the facts but it is also to give a shout out to Yvonne because it was a really good talk and Ian:      She had took the European Asbestos Forum. Neil:    That’s it which is taking place in November. Ian:      Yeah, November in Holland. It is an annual conference that she puts on this a hell lot of speakers from around the world from asbestos and occupational health. The leading voices on it in the world are going to be attending. Neil:    Yes. If this type of stuff interest you this is kind of stuff that they are putting out there, they are pioneering. They just feeding this information out trying to change in the industry and essentially eradicate the asbestos risk. Ian:      Exactly. That’s why we wanted to share it. It’s a great talk I think that’s going to be an amazing forum. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to make it because I’m away on holiday but I think hopefully Neil is going to be attending there to kind of get more in-depth knowledge and information. I mean that chat that we saw she was on for about 30 minutes wasn’t it so it is a real brief flavor. But yeah they are going to be doing a hell lot deeper than we have. Neil:    I hopefully. I’ll be up here to share some information with you guys. Ian:      Hope you enjoy that, quite a random one, quite off the cuff. Remember asbestos first, not last.               
14/10/198m 54s

Asbestos Reinspections – How often should you reinspect asbestos materials.

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss asbestos reinspection intervals. When should asbestos reinspections be undertaken, who should undertake them and what should they include. Transcript:   Ian:      Welcome to the Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    I’m Neil Munro. Ian:      So today we are talking about Asbestos re-inspections.   Neil:    Yes, what is that asbestos re-inspection? Different from a survey. Ian:      Well… Exactly that, that’s what I was going to start with. Neil:    So… and usually that follow on from sort of a survey etcetera, so using base information, so you should really have an existing asbestos register. Ian:      Usually that’s from a management survey. Neil:    Yeah, could have survey information added to it. So it is basically taking the existing asbestos information. Ian:      So you know what it is, where it is, the condition that’s in and then it is re-inspecting that so a visual check, go into the location that it’s in, and looking at the material and comparing it to what data you’ve got, what the photo previously looked like making sure there is no deterioration, there is no cracks, there is no signs of deterioration. You are checking for water leaks, all sorts of stuff. Basically anything that could affect that material in its location. Neil:    And it is part of that process you’d be updating the material risk assessment. So the material risk assessment looks at how easily or how readily that asbestos material will release asbestos fiber should it be damaged. And it looks at the product type so what asbestos product it is. It looks at the condition so whether it is in a good condition or whether it is damaged. It will also look at the surface treatment so whether it is sealed, or unsealed, or it could self sealed. And It will also look at taking to account what asbestos fiber has been identified in them too. So that’s probably the most important is updating that information, that assessment because then that falls in and follows in with your priority risk assessment and then your overall risk on how you manage that material.       Ian:      If you are going to re-inspect and last year the asbestos insulating board ceiling was in a lovely condition. It was all painted and it was all fine. This year you have re-inspection undertaken and for some reason, I don’t know, weathering or water leak because the paint is now flaking off. Neil:    Chipped it, damaged it. Ian:      Yeah, exactly, anything that could affect it then that is kind of the first call of the material has changed. So the risk assessment has changed so it might go from a medium risk up into the high risk category. But also with that like you say, it is the priority risk assessment. That’s a very important one to check when you are doing the re-inspection because you could have something that’s low risk, or say medium or high risk but it is in a very low risk area. However, in the course of the last 12 months that use of that area has changed. I’ve seen that before in school halls where you got a store covered and they store hockey sticks in there, so the hockey sticks come out once a year for one week and that’s the only time they play hockey. However, in the last 12 months they’ve cleared all that out, put it somewhere else and now that is the caretaker store, and they are in there at all day every day. Or they are in there that now becomes their material store so the risk of damaging stuff when they are dragging equipment and getting it out, it’s kind of increases the risk of any asbestos being damaged in that area. Neil:    Yeah. So the golden question and the question we get asked quite a lot, and it is a bit of a gray area when it comes to putting some specific down. So that is when and how often should these re-inspections be undertaken? Ian:      Yeah, and from an industry standpoint it is kind of always been 12 months. Neil:    Yeah, which I think is probably the benchmark. Ian:      A good minimum.       Neil:    Yeah, the benchmark for if you are going to do something set in 12 monthly inspections is a good place to start. Ian:      Yeah, I mean if you think about a year it is a hell of a short period of time. The older I get the quicker my life is flashing through my eyes. Twelve months is going by and that’s Christmas comes quicker every year, summers get shorter. Neil:    I think that comes down from previous guidance, documents, the proof card practice, you kind of stated re-inspections or inspection of materials should be done annually. However, when the new proof card practice was put up in whenever it was, 2012, it kind of sort of… Ian:      It reworded that section. Neil:    Yeah, reworded that element. Ian:      This section, have you got it?           Neil:    Yes, so it kind of just pointed towards any identifiable suspect, ACM, must be inspected and its condition assessed periodically so no actual [unclear – 5:12] specific in there. It is not the whole has been damaged. The frequency of inspection would depend on the location, the ACMs, and other factors which old affect their condition for example the activities in building, non-occupancy, etc. There will also be events or changes for example maintenance work, new tenants or employees should also attribute the review of the plan. So it doesn’t actually put a timeframe on it however what I believe the interpretation of that is really you’ve got asbestos materials which are in high volume, high traffic, high occupancy areas, I think you would need to increase the time of inspection rather than decrease it. Ian:      Definitely. I think that’s a very key point because I think a lot of people look to maximize the time between re-inspections because obviously it costs a lot of money. However, just looking at the word periodically it means from time to time or occasionally, but it also means at regular occurring intervals so even the word itself means both. Neil:    Yeah, so if you will then try to do re-inspection every two years it is not kind of regular. Is it? Ian:      No. Neil:    And lots of people trying to sort of push towards that I think. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’ve got a mastic pad in a sink within a pumping station that somebody probably goes to once a year then re-inspecting that every year may not be reasonably practical. You could maybe extend that to every two years if you had the evidence to back that up. Now, what I mean by that is if you’ve got a risk assessment that you’ve carried out re-inspections for a period of time that may be annually for the last two, three, four years and no change has happened to that material, then yes, you’d have the evidence to say, actually I’m now going to change the frequency of that because I’ve got the evidence to that over the last 4-5 years the material hasn’t changed. It hasn’t been disturbed. Ian:      Yeah. I think that is the key point there. It’s you take the asbestos information but then you churn that through another type of risk assessment to then determine how often you should be doing it because periodically it is different for different things. Again, if you had a mastic pad to a sink in a staff room and for the last four years you have re-inspected it and there’s been no change. Yeah, you could make that judgment and go, you know what, it hasn’t been affected so I am going to bump it to every other year no or whatever. I personally wouldn’t that because the staff room is being used day in and day out and the risk of that material changing is increased because there is more people in and around itself. Neil:    And if you got one mastic pad in a school you probably more likely to have other asbestos materials in there which would maybe fall into a higher re-inspecting regime. Ian:      Yeah, again, I think it probably make sense you go to the highest category for the re-inspection rather than doing like split shift on what you are going to re-inspect because then it can get complicated. Neil:    So to give you an increase, I know you kind of touch on earlier, so if you’ve got an asbestos material in a school corridor, maybe an asbestos panel on a fire door, re-inspecting that every 1-2 years is not really practical I don’t think. Ian:      100% not. Even a school, or even a business like an office or anything like that.  Neil:    Yeah, yeah, where you got high traffic areas. You’ve got an asbestos product whether it will be low risk, medium risk, high risk, whatever, if you got it in that location you’ve got high risk of human exposure because of the occupancy, the activities, the amount of people that are in there. So therefore, really, in that situation you probably looking at daily if not weekly inspections on that material. Ian:      100%, definitely. It is a very good one, right? So if you look at a panel on a back of the door in a business corridor, like I said offices, the likelihood of that getting disturbed would be less because as adults normally we open… Neil:    Don’t kick doors. Ian:      We open doors properly. We don’t play football inside. We don’t write “Neil loves Eleanor” on the back of a door and scribe it in with a pen knife. Neil:    In my doors. Ian:      But if you compare that to a school, well, I mean that’s the difference. So an office corridor is going to be used normally usually… Neil:    As adults. Ian:      As adults. Whereas kids at school they are absolutely horrendous at times. Like you say, kick doors. Neil:    Well, if you say to a child don’t kick that door. It is like, you know, [unclear – 9:52] Isn’t it? Ian:      If somebody says to me don’t do something, now, I’m still likely going to do it. I’m like a big child. Yeah, so exactly that and it is like. So if you take those two scenarios the arrow being in the corridor you might go, do you know what it is a high risk material in a high risk area we are going to re-inspect that once every three months, once every six months. But like you said about the school you’re going to be one who’s look at that daily or at least weekly I would say because of the likelihood. It goes up through the roof because of the occupants in the area. So it is kind of the blanket industry thing that everybody has taken on over the years are going, yeah once year, once a year, once a year. It is [unclear – 10:29] It is literally [unclear – 10:31] and it all should be risk assessment based on all of those elements really. Neil:    Yeah. But equally to that because of these kind of change, not change, but like loosening in the wording. Some people have taken that as to, you don’t have to do that every year anymore. They have taken it the wrong way. Ian:      Yeah, and it is the wrong way. Neil:    It’s not a loser, it should be tighter. Ian:      Yeah, and that is the way you can read that because before it said annually, so now it doesn’t said annually so people have gone, does it say yearly I can go 10 years. Neil:    Yeah, it should be risked assessed wise. Ian:      Yeah, 100%. So one thing when inspections. Who should carry them out? Neil:    That is a very very good question because we do get asked this quite often. Don’t we? Ian:      Yeah. Neil:    And I’ve got an opinion but should we just describe the actual guidance on that? Ian:      So HSE. It should be somebody who is competent. Neil:    Yes, competent. Ian:      Yeah, competence. What is competence? HSE determines competence who’s got knowledge training, experience and other qualities. Never understood what the other qualities mean. I don’t know whether that means they are really good and they can remember jokes. Neil:    No. It is blue eyes, black eyes, big muscles. Ian:      Is it? Neil:    Because that’s what used to be good qualities as... could be a decent wine collection. Ian:      Yeah, other qualities. I don’t know what they are but. Neil:    We’ll pass on that. Ian:      We’ll skip on that one. Neil:    If we take the qualifications, what qualifications can you have? Now, this isn’t any actual set qualifications to you can go and do a re-inspection. Ian:      No, the closest one that comes to it is a surveyor’s qualification. Neil:    But I don’t think you have to go that because you’re not actually surveying for asbestos. You are actually just looking at the material that has already been identified to be to you. But you do need to have some experience of what is asbestos and do you actually know what it is. Do you know what it looks like? Do you know what the materials look like when they change, when they deteriorate, when they start to peel, when there’s damage, when the material start to provide a risk. Ian:      And if you change the word from a qualification to training and I think that’s a key point of you can be trained to do re-inspection without having the formal qualification. And what I mean by training, it could be a competence, somebody who always deemed competent. So one of our asbestos consultants could come to your site and walk it with the property manager or the caretaker and give that kind of toolbox talk, that one to one training on look this is the asbestos that you’ve got on site. These are the kind of risks to look out for. This is what it looks like now if this happens. So like you say, if it peels, if it cracks, if it chips, if a corner comes off. That kind of training because some people you might say, well, going to have to look at that panel, and they look at the panel, and they are going to go well looks like a photo but it might have a big crack in the middle and the corner missing. He’s like, it is not really damaged. It’s only a bit. It’s not properly damaged. Do you know what I mean? That’s what somebody might look at it as and in reality that’s not good enough because it has deteriorated. Neil:    Yeah, and that kind of comes with experience as well. So for instance you may want to body on your site so you may want to pay asbestos consultants to come and do re-inspection with you a couple of times. So you can gain that experience or you may want to do it and then have it audited by an asbestos consultant to ensure that you are gaining the relevant experience and doing it right basically. Ian:      Yeah, that is who should carry them out. However, all of that said, you can get somebody you deemed competent who can be trained and then gets the experience to do it. The kickery is on that. You’ve got to update all that information. It is not just the case of I’d rather look and it is fine. And that’s the difference I find between professional consultants just like us doing it and people on the DIY approach is when we carry out a re-inspection we re-photograph, re-update, we re-issue the report with all that new information, whereas, on the DIY approach it can be done but lots of several another podcast, if you work enough paper… Neil:    Yeah, you’ll never get that full update so. Ian:      No. Neil:    You get the picture. What it’s actually look at now? Ian:      Exactly that. Neil:    It was painted orange, it is now painted red. And this is kind of that’s when things kind of start to go wrong… Ian:      Starts getting confused. Neil:    When somebody comes to check your asbestos register they are looking for an orange panel and the asbestos is now red, that’s when mistakes can kind of start happening. Ian:      Oh, well, it is not here anymore. It must have been removed. Neil:    Exactly. Ian:      So again, somebody might go, gosh it’s removed; delete it, rip the page out and then all of a sudden you’ve got a bit of asbestos that’s not even being managed because it has been removed from your register without appropriate. Neil:    Definitely a possibility. The other thing that I wanted to highlight is if you are doing them yourselves or you are employing somebody outside of the industry you are taking the liability as well for that. Ian:      Oh yes. Neil:    So, you know, it’s then on your PI and you are the competent person all of a sudden.         Ian:      That is a very, very good point. Neil:    Whereas, if you’re hiring in a professional to give you that advice and provide you that information, you’ve got their liability as well to rely on. Ian:      Definitely. That’s a really good point because, again, nobody is ensured to do work with asbestos whether that’s physical work or a re-inspection unless you’ve got to actually add it into your insurance, right? The insurance industry, they always remove asbestos. That’s one of the things I remove from everything they do because when asbestos goes wrong it cost a hell lot of money so that is always something that’s excluded out of every policy. And it’s only the likes of surveying companies, removal companies, that kind of thing that have it added in because that’s what they do for a living. Neil:    I know, I’m giving another example of schools because I think schools is a very particular risk when we are talking about asbestos, so lots of schools rely on their site managers or caretakers to do re-inspections and if you actually step back and think about that. Now, in my experience school caretakers they haven’t got asbestos knowledge in line with a competent asbestos surveyor/consultant. Ian:      No. They have literally been given the task. Neil:    They’ve been given the task so they’ve got to go around and do this. Ian:      They’ve been shafted.        Neil:    Yeah, pretty much. Now, if you actually think about that what’s the liability on the school if that person, he/she, gets that wrong? Ian:      It is unthinkable. Some of the high schools, 2000 kids in, if it goes wrong and the amount of kids gets exposed from kind of misinterpretation it’s next level is ridiculous. Neil:    Yes. So why would you? You know, re-inspections are not expensive. Ian:      No they are not.   Neil:    And for your peace of mind. You are not only taking the liability off your hands. That alone should be enough. Two, you get any information, that data used before, it is all new. It is fresh data. It is easy to use and if you got an asbestos database it is all updated accordingly. It’s not piece of paper, printed off, signed on and crossed out. Ian:      Can’t read someone’s writing. Neil:    Can’t read someone’s writing. Yeah, it is kind of a no brainer. No brainer at all. Ian:      Yeah. But that said, I think the biggest take away about what you spoken about is re-inspection they should be risk assessment based. Don’t rely on the fact of industry says and it’s used to say annually. Neil:    I think annually is definitely a benchmark and if you are not doing it manually you need to have… Ian:      That’s a benchmark minimum. Neil:    I was going to say you need to have a word and say, “Well, are we actually complying here?” If you are not doing that as a minimum like as we’ve discussed here that going to more increase not decrease doing inspection regimes. Ian:      Exactly that. Neil:    So I hope you found that useful. Remember if you’ve got any questions please come and join us on the Facebook group in the Asbestos Knowledge Empire. Ian:      Just go to Facebook, search in the search bar for Asbestos Knowledge Empire and it will come up. Neil:    Yup, we’ve placed quite a few bits and pieces in there so you can download and stuff like that. Ian:      Yes, there’s downloads, there are forms, there is extra information, the stuff that we spoke about in another podcast, the links to stuff, that’s all in there. Neil:    And remember if you like this information. You found it useful we really like a 5-star review and hit the subscribe button. Remember, Asbestos first, not last.           
07/10/1919m 33s

What you need to know about asbestos databases

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss asbestos databases. Sometimes referred to asbestos portals, online systems and cloud systems. Asbestos databases are great tools to use to host your asbestos information which should be accessible 24/7.  A good database should not only provide access to the finished reports but access to all the individual data. But how much does do these cost..? Find out in this week's episode. Transcript Neil:    Hi! Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. My name is Neil Munro. Ian:      Hi, I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    So today we are going to talk about asbestos databases. Ian:      Yes, sometimes they are called databases or portals. What we mean by that is it’s an electronic place where your asbestos information and health and safety information can be held and can be stored. Neil:    Online assistance. Ian:      Yeah, online assistance. I mean, well, in the olden days they would be on a PC or so, wouldn’t they and the actual thing. But nowadays, that’s one of the things nowadays it should be an online system. The technology is there to have a very decent online database system. Neil:    Lots of things are going to the cloud and that’s why we’ve kind of moved in that direction. Asbestos server reports in the past kind of always generated on paper, weren’t they? There was printed photographs that you have to go down to the. Ian:      I used to have to go to Snappy Snap. Pick up the… Neil:    Getting developed. Ian:      Getting developed, pick them up, and then go back and stick them into reports. Neil:    Wow, crazy. Ian:      But that is what… that was in like 2002. That’s madness. Like we hit the future in the year 2000. But in 2002, we’re still sticking them in. But thankfully it is not like that anymore and things have developed, have moved on from terrible just paper, paper copy reports to electronic reports in that, fill in online, cloud base systems. Neil:    It is kind of a standard really now if you procure an asbestos service. But if you've got multiple sites, really, you should be using an asbestos database because access to your asbestos information makes it so much easier you know. You can access your systems from your phone, and from your laptop, from your tablet. As long as you got an internet connection you should be able to get a hold of your asbestos information. Ian:      The thing is with the databases it is definitely if you got multisite, property portfolio, definitely that’s the way you should go because as I know access in the information, the knowledge is power kind of thing, if you can access that information that’s brilliant. Neil:    Yes.       Ian:      But only if you’ve got one site electronic database is still. Neil:    It is a no brainer. Ian:      It is a no brainer. I mean it can be useful. It helps tick your holders box for communication sharing of information. Neil:    It makes it a lot easier. You can give that information to your contractor very easily. I’ve expected most databases you should be able to grant access to information and that could be split down from sites or even down to reports to anyone that needs it. So to give you an example if you’ve got lots of contractors working on your site and they are accessing different parts of the building you can even give them access to those specific areas of the building. They can log in, usually this is then time stamped so you’ve got the evidence that they have actually logged in to have a look at the information. And that kind of helps you manage that process of, one, giving the information out; two, recording that be uses of actually looked at it because that’s really important because if you’ve given them a paper copy, you’ve kind of got no evidence of them actually reading it. Whereas, an electronic system you got that possibility that you can actually time stamped and actually looked at what they’ve have looked at to ensure that they were using it properly, they are looking at the right stuff. Ian:      That at least logged in.      Neil:    Yeah, it confirmed and that they are actually using it and getting that asbestos information. Ian:      Knowing that that’s what it is all about, it is about the people that are liable to disturb or anyone at risk should have access to the info. And like you say, the big hospital, the big schools, something like that, you might have a different wings, different blocks. You won’t necessarily want to give a contractor the full access to the entire site because you’ve got sensitive data as well. But you want to give them access to that one wing, or that one boiler room, or whatever. In the electronic way of sharing information it is just a lot easier, and also with that it is up to date information. As soon as you print a report off essentially it is kind of out to date because you never know where is it. If you are logging in through a client a database then you are looking as live information. I mean that’s the way that our database works. I know some databases they work on an upload kind of manner of once a week or something like that which isn’t as good. Neil:    No, isn’t it the best thing I suppose. Isn’t it? Ian:      Yeah, but I mean like I say, it is literally to the second. As soon as you’re in the office, uploads the data and the report, it is there for the client to see. So if, I don’t know, yesterday we did a reinspection, today she’s done a report and in that report we’ve highlighted that there’s now damaged asbestos. As soon as you upload that data it is there to see whereas, I don’t know, if we were sending the reports out in the post and somebody went to site and look at that report that info is just dead, it is out of date.      Neil:    Yeah, for some clients we even record live data as well. For instance, before the reports even been issued that data is, you can see it. [unclear – 5:27] the client can actually log on and see, okay I can see those changes and there just [unclear – 5:34] You can even see the data as it is coming through. So if you do want to get hold of the game and see what’s going on that is a possibility as well. Ian:      So what’s the functionality should be in one, what functionality is in are one. Neil:    I think the most important and the easiest one is actually getting access to the end report. So that’s the basic features, so you can log on, download the copy of the report. That’s the easiest function to really use. Ian:      What are the trick things, what are the cool things that ours does? Neil:    So you can learn lots of different reports. Essentially so when you get an asbestos server report you get the end product, so whether the data has been collated together and presented in a kind of an easy to useful map presentation, and it is very strict because we keep that in line with UKAS accreditation, in line with guidance. But through the database you’ve actually got access to the more data, so you can manipulate it, you can pull off as many databases or spreadsheets or in the format that you want. So for instance you can learn I just want to see asbestos floor tiles, where are they in my building, or property, or site? You can run off, you know, what is just asbestos, where there are no access areas, the non-asbestos… Ian:      What is non-asbestos, yeah.     Neil:    And use all those different sort of and tables. You can even say, you know, if you’ve been using the database and information, you can even run what have we removed over the years. Those types of reports. Ian:      That is a good one, again, for reporting for like board level of what has happened over time with the asbestos management. Well, you can back, and like you say you can look at what’s been removed. You can then bring up all the removal paperwork because that’s all stored in the database, and so even down to the point of the method statements, and the plans of work, and the risk assessments. Neil:    Of historical information. Ian:      The asbestos waste notes.      Neil:    Which you legally have to keep. Ian:      Yeah, all of that can be stored in the database, and that’s the beauty of databases we all know, right? You have a folder, a folder gets moved, you might move office, all of a sudden shit goes missing and you’ve not got that report anymore, you’ve not got that data. Neil:    Or personnel change. Ian:      Yes. That’s a biggie. Neil:    [unclear – 7:38] Ian:      He left with a big box when he got sacked and I don’t know that happened to it.  Neil:   And believe it or not that is a really common scenario. Isn’t it? Ian:      Yeah. We’ve had it done. I know we’ve had it done, Neil. We are going to turn the office. We are going to find it. We’ve not got it, Neil, can you, what else we do. Neil:    Exactly, yeah. Ian:      We’ve had that a million times aren’t we. Neil:    Yeah. Another key sort of element to it lots of people look information differently and the great thing about a database is you can extract the information off in different formats. So you can extract photo registers, so if you are keen on looking at the actual physical images of the materials you can have it in that format, and you can have it in a register format, so that comes off in an Excel spreadsheet. Some people they love spreadsheets and they can need to see the information of what is in the table. And you can extract as much information as you want, so you can basic information or you can really go down to town and not also get the word information but got all the scores if you like all your priority risk assessments, your material risk assessment, the individual scores for each property. That’s a good way. You can also extract out as plans as well because plans go on the database and look at it that way, and then click to those elements and see the information. Ian:      I mean, some of our clients as well they have really taken on board the use of that cloud system. It started out as just as their asbestos database but now it is their kind of health and safety portal, and they put in on their staff training for other elements, their fire plans, their fire risk assessment, health and safety policy, because they are in the database. There are different areas that you can put information and clients are uploading their own stuff because we got no limit in the data that they upload. It is just literally there to use and abuse. There is no kind of data limit. There is no kind of set limit, or anything like that. It is just there to be used. For me that’s the best way because if that becomes the kind of portal for all the health and safety and all their asbestos, again, it is like… I don’t know, years ago it would be in the red folder in reception whereas now it is, well now, like all of our health and safety stuff it is in this database. Go and have a look. It is kind of, yeah, nothing gets lost, nothing gets misplaced. It is literally there and it is there forever. This is what I really like about our database. The really cool thing is the mapping, the geolocation, so for a lot of businesses there is no need. Off of the address there is a geolocation and when you look at it on the map it can pin point all your sites, you can zoom in. You could see exactly where they are all the rest of it. For a lot of sites you don’t need it so say a restaurant or a warehouse or whatever. However, some of our other clients environment agencies, service suppliers that might have pump stations in the middle of nowhere, stuff like that. That is so important because again you can geolocate it to the exact location. Neil:    Yup. And some of those do use it for guiding the external contractors that haven’t been to their sites, and they use our database to actually locating and tell them where it is.  Ian:      Yeah, because we all know you get an address, you find in the post code, you turn up, you are on the high street and the high street is actually 20 miles long. Neil:    Or a London road that’s a common one. Ian:      And you sit in there on London road. Neil:    Where is #1? Ian:      And you don’t know and that’s the thing and with the geolocation it literally pinpoints the exact spot of where you are at essentially the longitude and latitude of the site so you can’t go wrong with that.   Neil:    Yes, great. Ian:      It is a really cool feature. Neil:    Yeah, so with diverse as well, the client can give access to whoever they want to give access to. Now, it is not the case of they’ve got to ring up entire support office and get a user added on to the system. It is the flexibility that it can add and remove whoever they want to access that database. Ian:      Barry, the plumber, is going to this site next week. Today, the client logs on, gives in the access, that’s it, the way he goes.    Neil:    Yeah, that was a bit of a contentious feature before. It’s like, Ah, I got to ring up and it’s going to take them a week because they got a backlog blah..blah…blah, you know, they can just log on, add them on, and they got access straight away. Ian:      And the same with that the contractor seizes to work for them or an employee seizes the work for them. Literally straight away revoke access, done, so they can’t have access to your database, again, which is massively important – GDPR, under all those kind of regulations and that sentiment it is so important to have that. Neil:    Yeah, definitely. Ian:      So how much should you pay for a database? Give me a figure, how much should we pay? Neil:    Million… Ian:      Million… that’s how much you kind of pay. If only. You know what, over the years, I’ve been in this industry these years and not over the years. Neil:    People chase for data. Don’t they? Ian:      Yeah, so in charge for data. You are not having your data Mr. Client when you are leaving and going elsewhere. Neil:    Strong holding people.   Ian:      Oh well, it is in the contractual that we own your data. I was like, hold on a minute, it is my data. Neil:    Exactly that. Ian:      Exorbitant set up fees to set you up on a database. Neil:    Don’t get me wrong if there is transfer of an information there’s usually sometimes it is a lot work that needs to be done in importing data from old databases into new ones. So yeah, you would probably be expecting. Ian:      That is fair enough.  Neil:    You know, because if there is work involved like coming at it from the point of I’m a client, I have come to you. How much is the database is going to cost have we got one now. Yeah, but I have seen them charge like thousands for setup fees, thousands per year to use it. Ian:      Charging per user. Neil:    Charging per gig, grant a gig of data. Ian:      Grant a gig, yeah. Neil:    Grant a gig. Ian:      Now, if you actually think gig is nothing. Neil:    No. Ian:      Especially when you talking about asbestos server reports. When you’ve got photos, you got plans, you’ve actually got observer reports themselves. You seem rattle through a gig for sure. Neil:    So that’s what the industry is charging. We don’t charge that. Our database is provided free to our clients. If a client is using this for any element of their asbestos work then we provide them with a free database. Ian:      It is a no brainer. Neil:    Yeah, and the thing is, I mean it costs us. It cost us a lot of money. For us to setup a database we invested a lot of money, and thousands and thousands. Ian:      Time. Neil:    And time, oh my god, the time has been ridiculous. What was invested to get it to where it is now. But we are not looking to where we that cost because, I don’t know, in my mind that’s part of the service of what we do. I know where we are different in the rest of the industry because the rest of the industry are charging for outsourcing stuff. But in my mind, I mean that’s what we write about in our book, wasn’t it? The fact that you should be paying zeroes for your database because we are doing the work where data kind of fold the organization now, so everything we are doing we can try into it limited cost to us. Ian:      Essentially we’ve done the hard work and the hard work is actually putting the data together, actually, putting in the asbestos server reports together. Neil:    Yeah, the actual site work and the work that we do. Ian:      So it is literally and to produce a report that’s the work. So really we’re just given the actual, it is just a way of providing the information a lot easier. Neil:    It is not the raw data. We’ve already collected this part of our job. We are now giving you access to it for free. Ian:      So yeah, definitely if you are paying for an asbestos database they are not definitely question it because there are free opportunities out there definitely.             I’ve enjoyed that right there. I think we’ve covered everything we kind of wanted to. That was good one. Remember asbestos first, not last.     
30/09/1915m 37s

What’s the difference between non licensed works and notifiable non licensed works?

In this episode Neil and Ian answer a question sent in from the asbestos knowledge empire community. What’s the difference between non licensed works and notifiable non licensed works? They provide examples of typical non licensed works, what may affect these and make them notifiable. Transcript: Ian:      Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I am Ian Stone. Neil:    And I’m Neil Munro. So today we are going to talk about, we have a question that came in from some of the Asbestos Knowledge Empire Facebook community and they ask what’s the difference between non-licensed works and notifiable non-licensed works. And particularly attention between why does it change? So for instance why is the material that is non-licensed suddenly turn into a notifiable work? So we kind of want to answer those questions today. So essentially what it is, why is the material that is non-licensed during removal suddenly become notifiable? So why it’s kind of cover that off in today’s podcast. Just to kind of differentiate so we’ll know where we’re at. It is kind of the three levels of removal: non-licensed non-notifiable, non-licensed but notifiable, and then the fully licensed and fully notifiable asbestos work. The third category is for the higher risk, high fiber content stuffs such as logging, insulating boards, sprays, that types of stuff. We are not talking about that today. Today, we are talking about the lowest materials, the asbestos cement, the textured coatings, that kind of stuff. Aren’t we? Ian:      Yeah, volatiles. It might be a cement flow pipe, those types of lower risk sort of asbestos bound of into matrix type of materials. Neil:    So first off, non-notifiable non-licensed removal would look like say a garage roof, cement garage roof, corrugated garage roof it’s in a good condition upon reviewing the contract to has a look and decides that’s not likely to disintegrate or deteriorate during the removal process. They can crop the bolts easily, removes the sheets easily, place them down and wrap them and essentially it is kind of like removing a cement sheet whole that is in a good condition. Ian:      Yup. Neil:    Minimal breakage, minimal risk kind of altogether really so that is non-licensed non-notifiable work. Ian:      Yeah, so to give you another example so you’ve got asbestos texture coating has been applied to a plaster board ceiling. Generally speaking the removal of that is the contractor won’t remove as much as possible whole sheets of the plaster board, so they will be hoist from their fixings lifted down to the floor, wrapped up and disposed of. So it will be some breakage of the texture coating but it will be minimal.           Neil:    Yeah, it is minimal because like you said the board and its hold and its entirety is pretty much removed.                     Ian:      Yeah, so essentially you are not removing really the actual asbestos product but more the product that has been applied to. So that would be classed as non-licensed. Now, to flip those two examples over so when would they become notfifiable? Neil:    Well, let’s take the garage roof example for instance. If you look at the garage roof and before you start works it is already deteriorated. You can see it is notifiable. You can see it is damaged. You can see it looks brittle. Ian:      Yeah, one of those [unclear – 3:51] ones so it’s really gone, you know, it’s really been suffered severe damage from weather you know. It has been, had moss grown on it and it stands really deteriorated and become weak and brittle. Neil:    Yeah, so if you look at it and you think that will straight away, a lot of bell should ring because when you touch that, when you start man handling that you know it is going to breakup. Ian:      Yes, it is going to start. It is snapping in your hands really isn’t it? Neil:    Yeah, so straight away that would become notifiable before the job starts. Ian:      Yeah, another example is if it was a roof that had been maybe I don’t know over clad or it is been sometimes they used to apply, and I have seen this on a lot of domestics, where it is been uses shattering as well and you’d have to break the material out so that would then be classed as notifiable where you get some sort of machinery, maybe a small hand can go just to sort of break that material up. You are basically disturbing the matrix of the material and you degrade the actual asbestos material to actually remove it. So the texture coating example how would that become notifiable? Neil:    So again the texture coating, so the same asbestos material but it’s been applied to a different scenario so for instance where you’ve got either a concrete ceiling or it’s been applied to a wall, you know. That maybe a plastered wall or it may be a brick or [unclear – 5:08] wall. Ian:      So literally the texture coating straight on the surface of the wall not on plaster board or anything like that, straight unto the hard surface. Neil:    So it completely change the removal process because you can’t remove it whole. You can’t remove it on the whole sheet. You’ve not got to go into either a scrape pin or mechanical removal process. So if it’s been applied to some plaster on the wall it is quite easy to sort of chip the plaster of but you have to use either hand tools or mechanical process to actually break that material off. And as you can imagine it is really sort of messy process. You are going to completely destroy the actual matrix of the asbestos material to get that off, that then just become a higher risk removal process. And for instance it’s been applied to a concrete ceiling you are then looking at either using sort of removal gels, chemicals to obviously loosen that material off and it is literally just scraping off the surface so again you’re completely breaking down the matrix of the asbestos material itself therefore making it a slightly higher risk removal process and therefore it falls into the notifiable class crew. Just a couple of examples of the difference between those. We’ve talked about the actual notification process so the works have to be notified before they are starting that, that could be anytime wherever it is a month, a week or even just five minutes before the works start. There is a couple of additional things at the actual contractor or the employer of the contractor need to do if it is undertaken notifiable works and that’s medical surveillance and keeping the health records for those individuals. There is a bit more to it and generally speaking if you are employing non-licensed contractors definitely the works fall into notifiable category. You need to be asking are they suitable for doing those works because they are generally a little bit high risk. They are high risk I mean for both non-notifiable, notifiable works the contractor needs to have similar things in place as well which often get overlooked and I never spoke about this on previous podcast but just a bit of a recap, insurances, risk assessments, plans of works, face fit, testing for the guys and the masks. Ian:      You have to check in certified equipments. It is a real biggie, and you make sure there are DOP tests on the [unclear – 7:16] and stuff like that and that’s really important. Because just going back to those jobs, you know, especially texture coating ones the removal process on those they are horrible jobs especially when you are using chemicals to remove it from the texture coating. These jobs are really horrible and they are messy. Neil:    It is labor intensive. It is literally a cold phase scraping it off. Ian:      Scraping it off because of the wet material it just goes everywhere. It flops everywhere. Now, if these contractors are not geared for that butt up work you can get into all sorts of problems with this texture coatings basically just goes everywhere. If it is not being [unclear – 7:48] the enclosure. Essentially you can’t do those works really without if not full enclosure. So non-licensed, just normal standard non-licensed contractors, they are not generally geared up for building enclosures. Neil:    Unless you could point actually because when you think about it asbestos contractors that build enclosures day in and day out. It is cooler than art form. If anybody has ever had to go try a layout big thousand gauge pulley so it is meet or delete. It covers everything. It is a pain in the ass. It is a real real difficult. Ian:      Yeah, because you have to get the sheet in crisp because if you don’t you get stuff stuck in place. It just corrects automatically. Neil:    Yeah, in the folds and the rest of it and then you take it all down and before you know they shit all over the floor because you didn’t see it. Because literally that texture coating just goes everywhere, yeah. I would always recommend using the licensed contractor but particularly we’re the notifiable non-licensed stuff. Again, ever more of a reason to use a licensed contractor. The set up for that they are geared up for it for any eventually whereas the non-licensed contractors if something does go wrong, or it does go right, not according to plan, well, they might have to stop the job and come back to it or get another contractor in which could be a pain because they are not set up for it. Ian:      And they are going to fold to the background knowledge as well. There is occasions where non-licensed works can slip into the licensed category depending on the material they are working on and the removal process. There are occasions where you can slip into that category. And if you’ve got a licensed contractor on the job they are going have to acknowledge the background. They are going to have previous experience in doing those works. They are going to have the air monitoring results to backup that up and they are professionals it’s what they do day in and day out. Yeah, remember, asbestos first not last.
23/09/1910m 9s

How do you get the right asbestos contractor?

In this episode Neil and Ian deep dive into how to ensure you select the right asbestos contractor. Covering everything from licenses, accreditations, memberships and financial stability.   Transcript: Ian:      Welcome to Asbestos Knowledge Empire. I’m Ian Stone. Neil:    I’m Neil Munro. Ian:      So today we’re looking at contractor competence and how to check it. Neil:    Previously spoke about the [unclear – 01:12] sort of failures and stuffs of [unclear – 01:17] companies. Ian:      So this is more removal contractors, asbestos remediation, asbestos removal works, all those type of contractors. They kind of fall into two categories, don’t they, are they licensed or non-licensed? Neil:     Yeah. Ian:      Licensed contractors they are given a license from the health and safety executive to work on and with licensable asbestos materials. You need license if you’re going to potentially exceed the control limit so it’s kind of the work on the higher risk materials, higher percentage of asbestos would you say? Neil:    Yeah, great risk there, more hazardous stuff such as pump installation, spray coatings, the removal of asbestos insulating board, that type of activity. Ian:      And when I say they’re given a license. I don’t actually mean given. It is not like you go, “Can I have one?” They go, “Yeah, yeah.” It is a little bit more complex than that. Neil:    Yeah, they are externally verified by an inspector. Ian:      Health and safety executive inspector. Neil:    Has slightly changed very recently and they’ve gone to an online system which has cause quite a few problems and delays and I know of quite a few contractors that have actually nearly gone over their license renewal date. So yeah I think there has been some problems with that so it’s just something to be aware of if you are employing a licensed contractor at this moment in time and their license is about to expire. It may be worth contacting them just to make sure everything is in place because there has been some delays in actually issuing that license. Ian:      Yeah, and that’s very good point actually because if you employ them to do a job halfway through the job their license expires. Well, if they don’t get it renewed they can’t trade, they can’t work, so you are left with asbestos enclosure just sitting there on your site which kind of bugs everything. Neil:    Yeah, because there’s lots of checks that they go through. Isn’t it? Ian:      Yeah. They check also all your paperwork, all your procedures, following a license renewal, they do site visits as well and come and make sure that the supervisors, operatives are all working to your company’s procedures because although the overarching kind of guidance is out there. Different companies do do different things. So need to make sure that the employees are doing what they should be doing. Neil:    Yeah, definitely. Ian:      One thing to check on is for additional conditions on a license. Neil:    Yup. Ian:      Now, there is always a standard to add conditions but sometimes some contractors are given additional conditions. Now, that could be because they’ve had a visit or the renewal process they weren’t happy with something. Neil:    Yup. For all the inspector probably have got an experience in a certain area. Ian:      Yes, so for instance, I know of a company that they were required to send in audits every three months. Send an independent audit to the HSE because obviously Neil:    They haven’t had any maybe. Ian:      Hadn’t have any or there were doubts or concerns or something like that so that was a conditional license. And the conditions, let’s say, it is usually something is pretty much gone array or there is no confidence there so that’s why you should check for any additional conditions. Neil:    It is not very common for clients to actually read the licenses. Is it? Ian:      No, no. Neil:    It is like okay you’ve got a certificate but do you actually read what’s actually written on the certificate. Ian:      It is like a driving license. If you compare it to a driving license… Neil:    It looks the same.   Ian:      It looks the same. Everyone has got a driving license but actually is that a provisional, is it for motor bikes, is it for lorries, is it for towing? Exactly, there’s all those different conditions on it so if you think of it along that similar manner that’s why you should have a read through and check any conditions. Neil:    Yeah, yeah. So with a licensed contractor you’ve got the HSE who are inspecting them their license granters. Is it [unclear – 04:43] and types of works. So what about non-licensed contractors? There is no kind of policing of those contractors. Ian:      There is no licensed to trade in the non-licensed world. Neil:    The regulations are still in place and they are governed by that but there is no sort of external body checking. Ian:      That you are okay to do that. Neil:    That you are okay to do that and you’re competent and etcetera. Ian:      The owners has placed on the employer. Neil:    Yeah, exactly that. So what does non licensed contractors… what do they need to do? So what’s that you can ask them have they go in place. Well, number one really is has that non-licensed contractor got the right risk assessments and method statements and plan of works, from the top works that you’re trying to employ them for. Ian:      Yeah, and it’s a big one really. Neil:    Can they actually identify the risk and have they got the procedures and work methods to actually do it correctly. Ian:      Yeah, that’s correct definitely, because when you think about the different types of work in non-licensed world they could be working on vinyl tiles, gaskets, roofs and they’ve all got their own elements of risks. Neil:    Control methods. Ian:      Yes, the control methods and different removal techniques. So you wouldn’t use the same removal technique for floor tiles as you would have for roof. So you need to make sure that they’ve got that experience and the paperwork that backs it up. Neil:    Definitely. And that kind of leads on to training doesn’t it? Ian:      Yes. Neil:    So have they had the right training if they’ve had asbestos [unclear – 06:11] training that’s not adequate for working with asbestos. So they would to have some form and evidence of this, non-licensed training. Ian:      And it is the same for the licensed guys. The licensed contractors they need operative licensed supervisor training. Neil:    And next, so once they’ve got that training, have they got the right personal protective equipment which includes your respirators, covers. Have they got the right equipment for the job? That’s kind of a standard practice to have all that stuff in place with the licensed arena. You know, they’ve got all that stuff in place as a non-licensed contractor. And now they do regular checks on that so they check in the respirators and keep records of those. Ian:      Our guys face it. Neil:    Big one. So equipment, have they got the right equipment. So as a standard I would expect to see a HVAC vacuum cleaner. That’s the standard contractor piece of equipment. Ian:      That’s DOP tested as well. Neil:    Yes, and regularly done. Ian:      Yeah, every six months. Neil:    It was done when you bought it but the vacuum cleaners are five years old. Ian:      That’s been tested too. Neil:    Which comes down to build a picture of this like not a lot of your average joe builders are going to have all this in place. Ian:      No, and a lot of times you’ll get a roofing company, other builder or a roofing company. They’ve only got asbestos as part of their job. Yeah, we will do that. It’s only non licensed but when you actually look into it, look at their methods, all the rest of it, they haven’t got PPA, RPA, insurance, trainings, face fits. It’s kind of, yeah you can do manual lifting, cutting of the sheets all the rest of it. Neil:    Taking it down and lumping it in. Ian:      Yeah, but it is not being done properly. Neil:    So this lead on to where else so proper disposing of the asbestos materials themselves they have to have this waste license. Ian:      Yeah, waste carriers license for the vehicle. Neil:    Or the only other way around that is they are using an external company [unclear – 08:05] Again, you need to be asking if they’ve got the waste carriers license. Ian:      And that is kind of the split between the licensed and non-licensed. Non-licensed contractors you’ve got a lot more responsibility to check that all of these things are in place. Whereas if you use a licensed contractor and you do check their license and the other things like insurance and all those things as well. Because their license they have to have it all. So the licensed contractor really is kind of your safer option of employment competent contractor.               Neil:    Just to add on to the license, the biggie, I’m insured to do it. Ian:      And that is massive. Insurance is a huge thing because any insurance company out there for builders, whatever it is they purposely exclude asbestos from the insurance. When asbestos goes wrong, it goes wrong in a big way and it cost a lot of money and that’s why they exclude it, so again that is again just for covering your own ass, peace of mind, that’s a biggie for you. Neil:    Just a few points to add on to so that’s a non-licensed contractor and taking normal non-licensed activities if the works are going to be notifiable. This is just a few extra points that those contractors have to take into account. Don’t they? Ian:      Yeah, they need to put a notification in before work starts which is different to the licensed. The licensed notification period is 14 days whereas the non-licensed stuff is before work starts, so that could be 14 days. It could be the morning of the work while they are sitting in the van before they start the job. It is just a form they have to fill on the HSE website completely all the information about how they are planning to tackle the job, do the job, etcetera. It just needs to go in before the work starts. Neil:    Yes, and you also have to keep health records after the medicals for these operatives or anyone into taking their non-licensed works and be kept on record for those employees. So again, it is kind of like is joe builder doing all of that? I would question that. Ian:      Definitely. But there are companies out there that are non-licensed. There are some roofing companies. They are fully aware of that and they fully comply with all of that. Neil:    Yeah, but it is just something peace of mind to make sure that the non-licensed company using has got all that in place. Ian:      Definitely. Neil:    And where else can we look at to check competence? Ian:      So I’ve look at any kind of accreditations.                Neil:    Yeah, certifications, accreditation schemes, ISOs. Ian:      Yeah, and what this is kind of doing is this is building a picture of legitimacy of the company if they have prepared to jump through and we’ll all know the hoops of ISO, and stuff like that. This will build a picture of if there are professional outfit, if they have got the 9001, 14001, anything like that. Neil:    These are the schemes as well like [unclear – 10:52] Ian:      ISSIPs so they kind of fall into the task and sub-contractor etcetera. They are all about assessing this sort of safety procedures and competency of not the asbestos element. Neil:    The working element. Again if you’re looking at a company that got these things it doesn’t mean that they’re [unclear – 11:14] and you’re off the hook. But it does kind of hold your hand and takes you down the path a little bit of going, “You know what these guys, they have got X, or,  what it means is they’ve got that badge because they’ve got the right things in place in that scheme. Insurances we cover that. I mean on both sides if there is insurance in place that are big one to also check is the actual amount of cover is in place for your site or for the project. Again, because some asbestos maybe jobs are millions of pounds worth in size. And I don’t know you might have a site where you are working next to a big reactor or something and if that goes bad that could cost millions to put right. So again, you need those insurances in place to make sure if it does go wrong there is that cover there for you. Ian:      Yeah, so we kind of talked about non-asbestos associations and accreditations, certifications. One to absolutely to look for is asbestos. Isn’t it? Any memberships for that contractor because they are quite important especially on the contractor side because really they are the go to points for industry updates. They are kind of the voice of the industry and they are stirring the direction of policies because they are on various committees aren’t they? I’ve seen you got more experience in and around that arena. What else do they sit on? Neil:    Our current ATAC and ACAD all put forward members of the governing council or the management committee to sit on different things so there’s the asbestos licensing unit. How often the meetings on this. I think they used to be quarterly. I don’t know if they are monthly now or what but that’s why you sit down with the licensing unit. Ian:      And this is the HSE? Neil:    It’s the HSE so you sit in directly with the HSE as the voice of the industry sharing concerns, issues, things that you feel could be made better, all those types of things. So you’re actually talking to the heads of the licensing unit. There are all sorts, on the ATAC side again there is other committees that you’re involved with and you sit on and again you represent your members, the member voices of the industry. Ian:      Yeah, and then the outcomes of those discussions are cascaded through to the members? Neil:    Yes. Ian:      So if you are a member of those trade associations you’re going to be kept up to date. Neil:    You’ve got a toe in of what’s coming. That’s what they used to do, that’s what I used to do of you’d go to these meetings, have discussions. And if it does look like things might be going one way or whatever then we would share that around the regional meetings with the members, discuss to them kind of relay implications and things like that. So if you are using a contractor that’s a member of one of those. Like I said they’ve got toe in of what’s coming, whereas the contractor that isn’t a member of one of them well how they are getting that information? Where are they pulling that information from? Ian:      It is definitely a lot harder to sort all that information individually yourself. It is something obviously to look for. Doesn’t mean to say that there are going to be a better contractor but also as part of that membership they are externally audited. So again it is not you have got an independent member or authority going out, looking and understanding of those works. Neil:     You’ve got to meet the criteria. If you don’t meet the criteria you don’t become a member of ARCA. If you are a member of ARCA and whilst you’re a member of ARCA if you don’t meet the criteria of the audits, again, you are kicked out. Again, there are kind of standards in place that go again to give you more reassurance that your contractor is competent. Ian:      And one thing to be obviously be aware of is if a contractor was ARCA just double check that they’ve still got that because they do kick non-compliant, non-performing contractors out. So if they have not meet their criteria they will kick them out. Neil:    Yeah, they might the badge on their website, on their paperwork but they’ve not taken it down so they are actually saying they are a member. That goes the same with all of it. Like HSE license you can go online on the HSE website and check the license number against the license holder to make sure it still valid and current, some of the insurance cover. Don’t just take the fact that you’ve got an email through or fax of an insurance they’ve got. Pick up the phone and speak to the broker or speak to the policy holder and say, you know just want to check that these guys got have x. You know, definitely don’t be afraid of asking for the broker’s information and their contact details because that’s what they are there for to be checked upon. Ian:      Yup, like Neil just said, it is exactly the same with the ARCA membership. How could you get kicked out you’ve been non-performing on audits, you’ve done some things? Neil:    Go against the rules of membership? And there is this whole heap of things that you can do but a biggie is failing audits because ARCA wants their members to be of a certain standard kind of so that what we’ve talking of how do you check competence. Well, they want their members to be out there to a standard so then clients know that well if I use them they are of a standard so that’s why they have teeth. They have teeth and they use them. Ian:      And there are a lot of [unclear – 16:06] on the removal side ask for that kind of because the reason you do memberships is because there is you know they have to meet a minimum standard. Neil:    Yup. So what else can we look at kind of check competence? Well, this one is not necessarily competence but it is kind of competence from are they running a business properly so financial stability is what I’m talking about. Credit check the business. You need to make sure that they have good cash flow, they’ve got a good credit rating. Ian:      To be one on the contractor side because, they have to fund a lot of equipments and labor. So when you are talking about asbestos removal works, there is a lot of polythene, there is a lot of equipments like vacuum cleaners, NPUs so Negative Pressure Units. Neil:    Timbers to make enclosures out of. Ian:      In terms of decontamination units have to be hired, all the transformers, cables, lighting even in enclosures. Neil:    There is scaffold. Ian:      Scaffolding if you got to do that, towers… Neil:    Coil machines. Ian:      Yeah, there is a lot to hire. Neil:    If they don’t own it they’ve got to hire it. And if they’ve got to hire it, they have a good credit rating because the last thing you want is use a company with a poor credit rating where it is halfway through the job that I don’t know the hired company. Ian:      Okay as well you’ve not paid any bill. I’m taking… Neil:    Which I’ve seen happen and you will just literally left with a site that is sealed up and it’s half done and the contractor can’t get any gear from anywhere else because they’ve maxed their credit out everywhere  else. So will kind of shaft it which is not a good place to be. So financial, all I can say is it is not a competence thing per se but it is an overall looking at the business. Ian:      Yeah, definitely. What about personnel? Could we do any checks on that? Neil:    It is used to be CRB checks and now DBS checks. The checks that you send the details of a person of and essentially it is checking their records have they got a police record for anything. Ian:      And it is particularly important in like schools, vulnerable sites, elderly or people disabilities or anything like that. Neil:    Yeah, need to make sure the staff are closure and they can go and do what they say they are going to do without anything untoward happening. I know of a contractor a few years ago filled out the paperworks said, “No. I’m clean as a weasel. I haven’t got anything.” It was for a police station, the job, and just before work starts, the CRB it was back then came back and lo and behold one of the contractors that filled in the forms said, “No, no, I’m squeaky. I’ve got nothing.” It came back that he had thing on his record for common assault. However, that transpired that it was common assault on a police officer. It even transpired that it was a common assault on a police officer at that police station that he was going to work up. Again, people do  [unclear – 18:53] and again that’s like another check that you make sure that you’ve got the right people for the right job. Ian:      Yeah, definitely. And kind of lastly, what else can you check these references isn’t it can you get to speak to or get information from people who have actually used a contractor before and what have they done in a similar fashion. In a similar fashion, how did they perform? Was it all good? Neil:    And that’s the thing you want to check that because like what I was saying earlier different jobs have different removal methods. So a contractor might have loads of experience in removing asbestos insulating board however when you look at something that’s a bit more complicated in such as boiler room using injection machines or using Quill blasting machines. Ian:      It is a different [unclear – 19:35] Neil:    It really is and it is a lot more complicated, a lot more in depth, and again it is not just does the company have that record but do the site guys have competence in those works as well. Ian:      Particularly the supervisor. Neil:     Yup. Ian:      Operatives ideally but the supervisors is the main ones doing the shift on site.   Neil:    I always ask for reference. All I can say ask for the staff that’s similar to the works that you’re going to have done. Also, can you speak to them? Can you give us the information so I can actually pick up the phone number because I found time and again you have a and lo and behold you always put forward good references. You’d be dumb if you put forward a bad reference or a bad referee. But even when you put forward the good ones sometime by order of that conversation you kind of find stuff out and I know it could be… Ian:      It was good but… Neil:    And it could be something as simple as the work were all done fine, everything was great, but their lads on site really scruffy and they sore a bit. Ian:      Which is not ideal if you are in a school. Neil:    No. I don’t know the works are all done and completely. Everything was brilliant however they turn up late every day. Anything like that and it kind of again it’s all about giving yourself a level of competence about that.  Ian:      Definitely. Neil:    Now, we kind of put a form together that you can use and download. It ticks off a lot of these things, use it whether you do licensed, non-licensed stuff, whether you worked with a contractor before, whether it is a new one coming on board, every so often probably pan out again just due diligence. Ian:      If there is a requirement if you are employing somebody that you should be checking their competence and this form is just a little freebie for you to use and it would be a good step forward for you taking that box of you’ve done your assessment on their competency. Neil:    We are going to paste this into Asbestos Knowledge Empire Facebook community. It is a private closed community. You can join the community by going on to Facebook. There is a search bar at the top literally pop in there Asbestos Knowledge Empire, click to join.             You’ll see our faces, our beautiful faces. And basically in there in the past information we paste it in there so you can use that. I hope you found that useful. Ian:      Yup, and remember, asbestos first not last. 
16/09/1922m 26s

Interview with asbestos expert – Paul Knights

In this episode Ian and Neil are joined by asbestos expert Paul Knights as he shares his opinion and knowledge surrounding the asbestos industry and asbestos management in general.  Paul Knights as over 20 year's experience working within the asbestos consultancy and asbestos removal industry.  Linkedin:
09/09/1923m 7s

How do you get the right asbestos surveyor?

In this episode Neil and Ian deep dive into how to ensure you select the right asbestos surveyor. Covering everything from training, qualifications, experience to quality management systems and professional development.
02/09/1925m 39s

Asbestos Works: Statement of Cleanliness

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss the importance of a statements of cleanliness post non licensed asbestos works. When it should be completed, by who and what it should confirm.
26/08/197m 49s

Four Stage Clearances / Certificates of Reoccupation

In this episode Neil and Ian talk through each stage of the four stage clearance. This process must be completed for all licensed asbestos enclosure works. Find out what is required for each stage and how it is completed.
19/08/1921m 47s

Asbestos Air monitoring: What are the different types?

In his episode Neil and Ian explain the different types of asbestos air monitoring/testing. They discuss Background, Leakage, Reassurance, Clearance and Personal monitoring. What they are, when they are used how they are completed.
12/08/1917m 17s

Asbestos “Riddled” boiler rooms

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss asbestos in boiler rooms. What are the issues surrounding the presence of asbestos insulation debris and residue. They discuss the options of full removal through to encapsulation and finally restricting access.
05/08/1912m 11s

What happens to asbestos cement during a fire

In this episode Neil and Ian discuss what happens to asbestos cement during a fire. What happened to the fire, it’s associated risk and best practices on how to deal with the material.
29/07/1911m 3s

Specifications for asbestos removal works, what’s the point?

In this episode Ian and Neil outline the importance of producing specifications for asbestos removal works. Detailing the different ways to look at projects. The importance of not just looking a project on its own – which can possibly be cheaper initially but can inherit problems afterwards or just doing that small element may not be cost effective. Looking at the lifetime aspect of the works and what the dutyholder may inherit afterwards. Providing a level pricing field for asbestos contractors and ensuring you get the job that works for you.
22/07/1914m 9s

The six things you need to know when reviewing your asbestos information

In this episode Ian and Neil discuss the six things you need to know when reviewing your asbestos information. 1) Historical information - what information do we mean 2) Survey reports - what determines a good report  3) Removal paperwork - what have you got what story does it tell  4) What are you doing with all of this information and how to record it 5) Review of the findings - look at it overall and pinpoint holes 6) What next - plan and prioritise asbestos issues you have info on and sites where you don’t have info on.
15/07/1923m 18s

Regulation 5 – What you need to know!

In this episode Ian and Neil discuss the requirements of Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – Identification of the presence of asbestos. If you are a dutyholder , contractor or client find out what your requirement are under this important regulation.
08/07/1917m 33s

What you need to know about non licensed asbestos contractors

In this episode Ian and Neil discuss what contractors undertaking asbestos non licensed works must have to comply with the asbestos regulations and if air monitoring is a requirement whilst undertaking these works.
01/07/1917m 2s

Michelle Niziol: Neil and Ian interview founder & CEO of Michelle Niziol Ltd & The IMS Property Group. Apprentice candidate 2016.

Ian and Neil are joined by Michelle Niziol as she shares her view of asbestos within the property and investment arena. Highlighting the lack of understanding experienced by investors and property developers. Michelle is a hugely successful bussiness women and is recognised as one of the UK’s leading property and finance specialists. Providing regular commentary for The Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian and Daily Mail. She also has her own columns in industry magazines, such as What Mortgage.  Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Linkedin:
24/06/1925m 8s

Common asbestos materials present within domestic properties

Join Neil and Ian on location within a typical ex-local authority house. In this episode they talk through some of the common asbestos materials that you can expect to find within these types of properties. If you’re a property owner, property investor, trades person or DIYer carrying out works in domestic properties this is a must listen.
17/06/1915m 34s

Interview with asbestos expert Yvette Liening

In this episode Ian and Neil are joined by asbestos expert Yvette Liening as she shares her opinion and knowledge surrounding the asbestos industry and asbestos management in general. Yvette Liening is the Senior Asbestos Officer for Coventry City Council.
10/06/1932m 46s

What happens to asbestos waste

In this episode Ian and Neil provide a brief overview of what happens to asbestos waste following removal.
03/06/1913m 7s

Interview with asbestos expert - Neil Munro

In this episode Ian takes on the role of interviewer to interview Neil. Posing questions around asbestos management, Neil’s career route and his take on the asbestos industry.
27/05/1925m 38s

Interview with asbestos expert - Ian Stone

In this episode Neil takes on the role of interviewer to interview Ian. Posing questions around asbestos management, Ian’s career route and his take on the asbestos industry.
20/05/1926m 19s

Asbestos Material Risk Assessments & Priority Risk Assessments

In this episode Ian and Neil talk through the algorithms of asbestos material assessments and priority risk assessments. These assessments are essential to asbestos management and understanding them is key.
13/05/1919m 42s

Asbestos Emergencies - What to do

In this episode Ian and Neil explain asbestos emergency situations, when and why these may happen and what to do to minimise exposure.
06/05/1925m 31s

Asbestos Awareness Training - What you need to know

In this episode Ian and Neil explain what you need to know about asbestos awareness training. What it is, what it should include and what to look for in a trainer.
29/04/1913m 59s

Asbestos Refurbishment and Demolition Surveys

In this episode Ian and Neil provide information on asbestos refurbishment surveys and demolition surveys covering what they are, when you would require them and what to expect from them.
22/04/1924m 12s

Asbestos Management Surveys

In this episode Ian and Neil provide information on asbestos management surveys covering what they are, when you would require them and what to expect from them.
15/04/1919m 19s

Asbestos products and their 8 categories

In this episode Ian and Neil explain the 8 different asbestos product categories. Every asbestos product that has been created fall into one of the 8 categories. Knowing and understanding the risks associated with each category will help you assess the risk from asbestos materials you may encounter in your building or during you work.
08/04/1916m 7s

Brief history of asbestos

In this episode Ian and Neil provide a brief overview of the history of asbestos in the UK.
01/04/198m 25s

What is asbestos

In this episode Ian and Neil explain what asbestos is, where it comes from and go into detail explaining the different fibre types.
25/03/1911m 50s

Key Asbestos Information Every Property Manager Should Know

In this extended episode, Ian and Neil provide essential key asbestos information that every property manager should know. Including an overview on asbestos products and uses, asbestos survey types and what to expect, the survey process and annual requirements, surveyor competence and how to check, contractor competence and how to check and survey report expectations.
18/03/191h 3m

7 Steps to Asbestos Management

In this episode Ian and Neil talk through their simple 7 steps to asbestos management. They explain what every property manager needs to do to become asbestos compliant under Regulation 4 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations in the UK.
14/03/1912m 17s
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