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ARCHITECTS’ PRACTICE ERRED OVER KEY SURVEY

Pre-construction information shortfall created risk to builders

Architects’ practice, Dilwyn Roberts Penseiri/Architects Ltd, has has been prosecuted after builders were potentially exposed to dangerous asbestos fibres during construction work at Aberystwyth Rugby Club in Mid Wales.

Aberystwyth Magistrates heard (4 February) that Dilwyn Roberts Penseiri/Architects Ltd failed to pass on vital information about the presence of asbestos insulation board (AIB) to builders before they removed soffits from an end wall at the clubhouse in January 2012.

The defendant was engaged to design and oversee work at the clubhouse and was also appointed as the project coordinator under the CDM Regulations 2007. An asbestos survey was commissioned by the client and sent to the architects. However, the survey was not shown to the building contractors even though it clearly identified the presence of AIB.

The practice prepared the pre-construction information which advised that an asbestos survey had identified asbestos cement in the soffits. However, the PCI did not mention the the AIB which, unlike asbestos cement products, requires removal by licenced companies under more stringent conditions.

Vital survey information should have been passed on

Dilwyn Roberts Penseiri/Architects Ltd of High Street, Newtown, Powys, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,400 and ordered to pay £2,917 in costs.

HSE Inspector Phil Nicolle, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Construction Design and Management Co-ordinators are required to identify and collect pre-construction information for projects. It should contain all information relevant to the health and safety of people engaged in, affected by the work or using the building as a future workplace.

Dilwyn Roberts Penseiri/Architects Ltd failed to pass on vital survey information, which they were aware of, resulting in a construction worker being exposed to asbestos fibres.

Asbestos-related diseases kill more people than any other single work-related cause. The danger arises when asbestos fibres become airborne. They form a very fine dust. Breathing asbestos dust can cause serious damage to the lungs and cause cancer.”

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