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Asbestos in the Houses of Parliament

Considering the dangers associated with asbestos, you would assume that key political and historical buildings would be free from the mineral. However, as recently discovered this is not always the case.

A recent report on the Houses of Parliament revealed that both the walls and floor are infested with asbestos. The 160 year old building is in desperate need of repair as records show that their has been no renovations on the spectacular building, rebuilt along designs by Charles Barry in the 1850s, since the late 1940’s, following the destruction of the Commons chamber by Nazi bombs.

The report made two years ago discovered that the Victorian structure is so stuffed with asbestos and leaky roofs that it will now require billions of pounds of renovations to fix the ‘make do and mend’ jobs that have been done before. It warned that in order for a mass program of asbestos removal and repairs to be completed, MP’s and lords would have to move out of the building within the next decade, potentially temporarily moving to another location whilst the building is refurbished

It was concluded that the World Heritage Site- which contains the commons and the Lords Chambers as well as suites of committee rooms, offices and dining rooms- was so poorly maintained that its is remarkable that it still continues to function. The overall cost and time involved in removing the asbestos as well as completing all of the other renovations, is such that if the building were a commercial one of no historical significance it would be considered cost-effective to demolish it and rebuild using modern construction techniques.

However London isn’t the only site suffering under this problem, Grand Central station has also recently come under fire when asbestos was found by unsuspecting construction workers. The busy and notorious New York train station has an abundance of asbestos throughout the building, due to it being used extensively the insulate pipes when built to insulate pipes.

The problem is so wide spread that workers working on the underground tunnels beneath the station have been dubbed “the snowmen of Grand Central”, as the pipefitters would emerge covered with white dust. In recent years however, as the health risks associated with asbestos have been understood, the workers have been provided with respirators and other appropriate safety equipment.

When removing asbestos from either commercial or domestic properties we take it very seriously, ensuring complete protection for both our staff and customers. To get in touch you can call us on 0333 773 0424.

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