Timeframe: 1.5 years
Location: Standon, Staffordshire
Standon Hall is currently behind refurbished to become a luxury wedding/events venue. As a listed building, preserving its original state and Edwardian history is paramount. However, when using the building to host hundreds of people, safety is arguably the most important factor. That’s why when new owners of Standon Hall decided to transform this stately home into a wedding venue, they needed to ensure any potential asbestos problems were handled to the highest standards – while still adhering to the listed building regulations.
In March 2019, architects working on Standon Hall – and who we do regular surveying work for – approached us to carry out a full survey. From there, we were onboarded to fully project manage asbestos removal on the site.
In this case study, we discuss what this project entailed. Learn about the challenges we overcame and the successes we achieved…
The owners of Standon Hall wanted to carry out extensive refurbishment works on their property with the aim of turning it into a luxury wedding venue. However, before any work started, the risk of asbestos needed to be defined – and remediated. This would ensure that the property could be reoccupied and further works continued.
In this instance, due to the property’s historic listed status, the client needed to work with an asbestos consultancy that could navigate a challenging situation: the remediation of asbestos while preserving listed features.
Carry out a survey
Firstly, the brief was to complete an asbestos survey of the entire property. As a listed building, this wasn’t typically straightforward. Ordinarily, with any planned refurbishment work, a fully-intrusive type of asbestos survey is required. This would include lifting floorboards, removing doors and drilling into ceilings and walls. However, in this case, we had to work in line with the council’s conservation officers and Historic England to preserve the original features.
Draw up a specification
After completing the survey, we were further engaged to draw up
a specification for the asbestos remediation works. This involved creating an exact action plan for how the asbestos would be approached, removed and resolved – including particular removal practices that adhered to the listed building regulations.
From this, the remediation work could go to tender.
Oversee contractor submissions
When the tenders were in, we had to review each one against various criteria. Of the six we received in total, we evaluated everything from proven expertise to cost. Usually, this process takes a week and involves us interpreting each tender into a comparable format – such as a spreadsheet. From this, we can analyse the different attributes and make an informed recommendation to the client.
One area in particular that we focused on was ensuring that the contractors had the specialist skills required to undergo such a unique job in a listed building.
During the project, this meant we would need to pay particular attention to the listed building remits to ensure all contractors were working within the restrictions set out by the conservation officers and Historic England.
Once a contractor had been assigned and agreed, the remedial work could take place. Our job from the start was to offer consultancy. Therefore, this meant we project managed for the client and advised them along the way on key decisions regarding asbestos removal and remediation.
As part of this responsibility, we also ensured that everything in the project
was completed in accordance with method statements – giving appropriate advice as the project progressed.
Overall, our consultancy services ensure the client achieves compliance, giving them support with the development of comprehensive asbestos management surveys, method statements and management plans.
During the project, we carried out ongoing testing. This included personal monitoring on the removal contractors that measured operatives’ exposure within an enclosure during asbestos removal works.
We also ensured that the protection factor of their respiratory protective equipment (RPE) was not exceeded.
Incidentally, there were occasions where we had to fail various stages of the clearance process because of the standard of removal work. However, working with the contractors to solve these issues is how we progress clearance for the client.
As a large historic building, Standon Hall proved to be particularly challenging. However, we are well versed in remediating asbestos in historic buildings – and therefore we could complete the project successfully.
Sourcing the right contractors with specific
Due to the listed building status, the remediation work wasn’t a ‘straightforward’ job. Instead, we required specialist expertise that could remove asbestos safely while adhering to the regulations of Historic England. While drawing up the specification, we highlighted the expertise needed – and requested that contractors demonstrate their experience in this area.
Asbestos in fireplaces
In Standon Hall, there are just over 50 fireplaces. As a treasured original feature, the client wanted to make good use of these – and even have some open to include log burning stoves. Initially, this was a daunting prospect – as the work required was relatively unknown territory. However, through our specification and tender process, we carefully outlined the process needed as part of a notifiable work classification. Ultimately, this meant we had to arrange a chimney sweeping contractor to undertake and attain formal training to work with asbestos – to ensure safe future use of chimneys.
Asbestos in basement
During the survey, we found extensive asbestos insulation contamination that contained three types of asbestos fibres – in the basement. The removal job required was to achieve an ‘asbestos free environment, and we managed to commission a sandblasting (also known as abrasive blasting) contractor who solved this problem.
The final stage: final assessment
After the contractors completed their remediation work, we were responsible for testing all areas in Standon Hall. This included visual inspections and air testing so we could issue reoccupation certification.
When the contractors confirmed their work was complete, it was then our responsibility to ensure that the work was carried out to the highest standards – and that the building could be reoccupied.
Having carried out testing on site at each phase of the removal work, we needed to finally confirm that all contractor removal work fell in line with specifications – including all dismantling and removal work of the enclosure.
This also involved gathering the arrangement of air monitoring works and the issuing of site re-occupation certificates during – and following – the asbestos removal works via suitable impartial and independent UKAS accredited testing laboratories.
The Standon Hall asbestos remediation project in its entirety took just seventeen months to complete. Starting with the initial survey work in March 2019, we then moved onto the removal phase in September 2019. By the end of August 2020, we had re-entered the site and carried out all the necessary testing.
In 2019, we carried out two phases and in 2020 we carried out one further phase. As each phase progressed, the certificates of reoccupation were issued.
We are proud to have overseen such a large and intricate job. At this level, the costs are high to the client – and we recognise that our service helps ensure the highest level of safety on re-occupation while honouring the requirements of a listed building. All in all, this represents the highest value for money for the client.
As a heavily legislated process, asbestos projects can be intimidating to navigate. Combine this with regulations around preserving a building’s history, what is already a complex job becomes even more complicated. However, onboarding asbestos consultants and project managers with
proven expertise in this area can ensure the work is handled smoothly – and safely.
Westland Environmental Safety has worked on various historic building sites. This is testament to our expertise in this area – having been relied upon to solve, remediate and certify various historic building locations while preserving the historic features of a building. Furthermore, not only do we ensure all asbestos removal is strictly conducted in accordance with CAR2012 and supporting HSE guidance documents, but we ensure that the work is done within our clients’ timescales and other demands.