Keeping the campus compliant.

Babbage Consultants has a long and happy association with the University of Waikato in Hamilton so we were really pleased when their Facilities Manager approached our Building Surveying team to discuss how to help them comply with the new Health & Safety (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. The legislation requires that the University (and all other non-residential premises) identify and documents the locations of all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in its campus buildings, creates a register and an Asbestos Management Plan. While this had been done in a piecemeal manner over the preceding 30 years, the records were not comprehensive and therefore lacked the integrity of a full audit.

Stage one of the process was to carry out a detailed review of the University’s existing records and create a draft register. This highlighted significant gaps in the information held by the University. For example, some large buildings only had one or two samples that had been tested as part of localised building work, while others had none at all. Having completed this process, we discussed the outcome with the University and advised that in order to achieve compliance with the Act, it would be necessary to carry out a full Asbestos Management Survey of the campus.

UoA_2.jpgLogistically this was a significant task. The campus covers over 50 hectares and comprises approximately 156 individual buildings, many of which are multi storey and highly complex. The portfolio includes a number of buildings that were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when asbestos-containing materials were widely used in the construction. They buildings contain laboratories, auditoria, student accomodation, lecture theatres, sporting and recreation facilities, and administration areas. Many buildings include basement areas, plant rooms, service ducts and risers and concealed voids all of which needed to be inspected.

The coordination and execution the survey was carried out by the Building Surveying team’s lead asbestos surveyor Farren Joinbee. Farren liaised closely with the University staff and on site security to ensure that they understood what the survey entailed as well as arranging access to all parts of the campus. The site was divided into numbered sectors, typically individual faculties to simplify the recording process. Detailed plans were provided by the University for each building to enable the accurate identification of all sample locations.

The site sampling phase of the work was carried out over a ten week period including the Christmas holidays which helped minimise any disruption that might have impacted on the student community. Due to the size and scale of the campus, member of Babbage’s environmental team were also enlisted to assist with the site work, providing valuable backup and expertise. Site data was captured and the reports created using Babbage’s unique mobile device reporting app that significantly simplifies the reporting process and hence reduces cost. 

UoA_3.jpgDuring the course of the survey, nearly 600 individual samples of potential asbestos-containing materials were bulk sampled and sent for laboratory analysis. Each sample was analysed and a test certificate provided giving the results of the test. With the reports completed, an asbestos register has been created that provides the University with a single point of reference for every building on the campus. The register provides in-depth detail about every positive sample, when it was tested, what the results were, the extent of the material, the condition, the surface coating and any other relevant information. The University will also be provided with an Asbestos Management Plan which will provide them with clear guidance on how to manage all of the asbestos-containing materials located within the University and ensure that those living and working on campus are safe. 

The University FM team is to be commended on its proactive approach to complying with the new legislation and Babbage Consultants is delighted to have played a key role in that process. 

The Health & Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 requires that all non-residential premises have an Asbestos Management Plan in place by April 2018. Learn more about our Asbestos Survey and Management services here. If you think that you need an Asbestos Management Plan and would like advice on how to obtain one then please get in touch with the Building Surveying team manager Gérard Ball () or lead asbestos surveyor Farren Joinbee ().

Babbage Licensed Asbestos Assessors have been assisting the University of Waikato to ensure their buildings are compliant with new asbestos management regulations.