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November 21, 2018

Asbestos remnants being removed from school remains


Asbestos remnants being removed from school remains


Last updated 05:00 13/01/2015

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Contractors are removing asbestos “crumbs” found in the remains of Aranui High School buildings demolished about four years ago.

Three buildings demolished at the school in 2010 as part of scheduled upgrades were removed but “some crumbs of materials remained buried and undisturbed”, Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure Rob Campbell said.

Surface materials were removed and the area isolated and the ministry engaged an expert consultant to investigate how to remove buried fragments.

The removal would be done before school reopened this year, he said.

“We have been advised that the risk to students or staff is minimal, as the materials which contained asbestos was buried undisturbed under the soil.”

Strict processes for managing asbestos would be carried out during any development, Campbell said.

Aranui High and community campus establishment board chairwoman Haneta Pierce said plans initially involved moving the original Maori whare from the high school onto the new site.

“Because of the asbestos, we can’t do that,” she said.

Aranui High principal John Rohs said the whare had a lot of cultural significance for the community and had been on the grounds for more than 30 years.

It had “a lot of asbestos in it which took us by surprise”, he said.

Original plans were to gift it to the new campus and Rohs was “deeply disappointed” it was no longer feasible.


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Asbestos remnants being removed from school remains

Asbestos remnants being removed from Aranui High School remants


Asbestos remnants being removed from school remains


Last updated 05:00 13/01/2015

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Contractors are removing asbestos “crumbs” found in the remains of Aranui High School buildings demolished about four years ago.

Three buildings demolished at the school in 2010 as part of scheduled upgrades were removed but “some crumbs of materials remained buried and undisturbed”, Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure Rob Campbell said.

Surface materials were removed and the area isolated and the ministry engaged an expert consultant to investigate how to remove buried fragments.

The removal would be done before school reopened this year, he said.

“We have been advised that the risk to students or staff is minimal, as the materials which contained asbestos was buried undisturbed under the soil.”

Strict processes for managing asbestos would be carried out during any development, Campbell said.

Aranui High and community campus establishment board chairwoman Haneta Pierce said plans initially involved moving the original Maori whare from the high school onto the new site.

“Because of the asbestos, we can’t do that,” she said.

Aranui High principal John Rohs said the whare had a lot of cultural significance for the community and had been on the grounds for more than 30 years.

It had “a lot of asbestos in it which took us by surprise”, he said.

Original plans were to gift it to the new campus and Rohs was “deeply disappointed” it was no longer feasible.


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Asbestos remnants being removed from Aranui High School remants

Asbestos removal 'overlooked'


Asbestos removal ‘overlooked’


Removal in cash settlements underfunded

CECILE MEIER

Last updated 08:58 12/06/2014

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The Earthquake Commission (EQC) might have underfunded potential asbestos removal in thousands of residential cash settlements, an earthquake contractor says.

Accredited Fletcher EQR contractor Warwick Joy said EQC should have warned homeowners about asbestos risks when issuing a payout for houses built between 1940 and 1990.

However, an EQC spokesman said this week that mandatory testing for homes built between 1940s and 1990s only applied to homes in the Canterbury Home Repair Programme (CHRP), not to cash settlements.

Joy said homeowners with cash settlements might decide to repair their property, potentially exposing themselves to asbestos.

He said he checked 2011 EQC assessment reports for friends and family who had been cash-settled. In both reports, work on high-risk materials was paid for, but no mention was made of the asbestos risk.

He estimated it would cost around $5000 to remove asbestos from his uncle’s house, and about $1500 from a friend’s.

Joy said this probable cost was not provided for in the cash settlement.

However, an EQC spokesman said the $100 cost of an asbestos test had been provided for in the cash settlement, even though there was no specific mention of it.

It was up to the builder hired to do the repairs to decide whether or not a test was needed.

“A margin is built in for a contractor to do preparatory work, including any asbestos testing if this is required,” he said.

If the test returned a positive asbestos result, the homeowner could provide a copy of the test certificate to EQC so their cash settlement figure could be reviewed if necessary.

Joy was concerned none of this information was provided to homeowners before a payout.

EQC said all this information could be found on its website.

EQC figures show more than 3000 homeowners have opted out of the CHRP this year alone, following changes in February to EQC’s opt-out scheme allowing claims where damage was assessed at over $15,000 to be cash-settled.

Joy said homeowners who had received a payout not covering asbestos testing and treatment should pay back EQC and opt into the Fletcher EQR programme to make sure asbestos would be safely taken care of.


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Asbestos removal 'overlooked'

Asbestos checks urged


Retrospective asbestos checks urged


MARC GREENHILL

Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014

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A Fletcher EQR contractor is calling for retrospective asbestos testing of earthquake-damaged homes repaired before mandatory checks were brought in.

Bruce West, an accredited EQR repairer since 2011, criticised the home repair programme’s asbestos testing regime in an open letter to the Earthquake Commission (EQC), Fletcher EQR and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

He was concerned that testing of homes built between 1940 and 1990, in which asbestos could be present in lathe and plaster, flooring, soffits, roofing and exterior cladding, did not become mandatory until June 2012.

His fear was “thousands” of repairs had been completed without testing, “with around 12,000 workers, together with occupants of repaired homes potentially exposed to unidentified or uncontained asbestos hazards in those properties”.

West’s suspicions were further aroused when a Fletcher EQR memo announcing the mandatory testing, sent to contractors on June 25, 2012, was dated January 15, 2011.

He wanted all homes meeting the risk criteria to be “urgently” tested for asbestos by an independent authority, and for Fletcher EQR to be immediately suspended until its methods were “comprehensively audited”.

West told The Press that checking work completed before June 2012 should have been an “obvious priority”.

“If you’re that concerned with ongoing work, then you should be equally concerned with the work that’s already been performed,” he said.

“There’s no reason for it not to be done, other than the inconvenience and expense to EQC and Fletcher, but then they should have thought of that earlier.”

West said he was aware asbestos could be found in stipple ceilings, soffits and garage linings, but not lathe and plaster.

He had not considered the risks because the pace of the work programme meant he “had to just get on with it”.

West accepted the onus was on contractors to understand risks on their building site, but felt EQR should have given asbestos greater emphasis.

He said he was surprised, given Fletcher’s construction experience, that testing had not been mandatory “since day one”.

EQC business services manager David Lowe said a guideline on managing asbestos was issued in January 2011.

Until June 2012, contractors were required to arrange testing for all houses assessed as potentially containing asbestos.

The mandatory testing introduced in June 2012 was “well in excess of the legal minimums”, he said.

“The improvements made over the life of the programme make [the home repair programme] one of the best examples of asbestos investigation and management in New Zealand.”

The memo dated January 2011 that West had received was an error “possibly due to incorrect completion of an automated memo template”, Lowe said.

West was not convinced the date on the memo was a mistake. “The memo was obviously meant to be a big deal and issued on that date, but it wasn’t,” he said.


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Asbestos checks urged

Specialists to handle asbestos issue


Specialists to clear Tuam St asbestos


GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Last updated 05:00 21/11/2013

tuam st

DEAN KOZANIC

The demolition of the old Christchurch City Council offices in Tuam Street has begun.

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Asbestos will be removed from the former Christchurch civic building in Tuam St while a neighbouring site continues to be dampened down after contamination hot spots were identified.

The multi-storey building was occupied by the Christchurch City Council from 1980 until 2010 and was recently sold to the Central Christchurch Development Unit as the land is earmarked for the new inner-city bus interchange.

Earlier this month, preliminary testing of an adjoining vacant site identified isolated traces of asbestos in the soil between Lichfield St and Struthers Lane.

Ceres New Zealand was awarded the demolition contract for the Tuam St building and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is managing the project. A Cera spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the building contained the potentially lethal substance as well as lead-based paint.

“That will have to be disposed of properly too,” she said.

Both hazards were “normal things” expected of many buildings constructed before the mid-1980s.

Specialists would be handling the removal of all hazardous substances, she said.

Meanwhile, an asbestos investigation had been conducted on the vacant land and the report was due back this week.

Staff would then be able to decide how to remediate the land, she said, but in the meantime sprinklers continued to keep the site damp to minimise dust.


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Specialists to handle asbestos issue

Asbestos find at QEII closes track


Asbestos find at QEII closes track


Asbestos found at quake-battered complex

CAROLINE KING

Last updated 17:50 16/05/2013

qe2 landscape

Stacy Squires

GONE: The demolished Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, pictured late last year.

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Asbestos has been unearthed at Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, but the risk of anyone having been exposed to the material is minimal.

A Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) spokeswoman said a small amount of asbestos piping was found buried at the site this week during the demolition of the earthquake-damaged complex.

Asbestos was noted in the original plans for the site and was addressed in the demolition, but the discovery was unexpected, she said.

The piping is in the form of small broken-pipe pieces and may have been offcuts of pipes buried when the complex was built in the 1970s.

Some areas near where the piping was unearthed will be closed to allow environmental testing as a precaution.

The closure includes a public walking track, despite it not being close to where the piping was found.

“This is to ensure none of the potentially affected debris has been inadvertently moved, and if so, it can be contained,” the spokeswoman said.

Workers were not believed to have been exposed to the asbestos.

“There are strict rules around what workers do if they see what they even vaguely suspect to be material with asbestos in it, so the risk of any exposure to anyone at any stage is considered extremely minimal,” she said.

Results from the environmental testing will be known by the end of next week.

The demolition of the complex is complete.


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Asbestos find at QEII closes track

Asbestos lay exposed before alert raised


Asbestos lay exposed before alert raised


CHARLIE GATES

Last updated 05:00 09/01/2013

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Demolition rubble contaminated with asbestos lay uncovered in central Christchurch for weeks before it was contained.

The demolition of BNZ House in Cathedral Square was stopped last July 20 when asbestos was found on steel beams encased in concrete.

Contaminated demolition rubble from the building was stockpiled on a Hereford St site from the start of work in June until the asbestos was found.

The stockpile site was covered in tarpaulins after the July discovery and is now being sprayed with water to suppress dust.

The BNZ House demolition also contaminated Hereford St, where loose fibres of the harmful material were found.

Traces of white and brown asbestos were found at five points in Hereford St and nine points on the stockpile site, says a report commissioned by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera), which is managing the demolition.

Cera has removed the loose fibres in Hereford St and is considering the best way to remove the asbestos-laden rubble from the stockpile site.

Specialists are stripping asbestos from the steel beams in BNZ House, but Cera has no date for when demolition will be complete.

Health experts say asbestos is most harmful if a person is exposed to high levels of the material during a long period. Prolonged, chronic exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of various lung diseases, including asbestosis and a form of lung cancer know as mesothelioma. It can take many decades after exposure for lung cancer to develop.

Other asbestos deposits were found in BNZ House last January, a Cera spokesman said.

It was found in service pipes, tile flooring, vinyl and paint, but was removed by a specialist before demolition began.


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