Enabling the National Trust to manage asbestos
Asbestos cement roof sheets were widely used in buildings throughout the 20th century, as they made roofs heat-resistant, durable and weatherproof, until it was discovered that asbestos posed a significant health hazard. In the UK, the National Trust’s property portfolio includes thousands of stately homes, farms, tenanted houses, tea rooms, boat sheds, towers and follies, some of which contain asbestos. RSK has undertaken type 2 and 3 surveys for the organisation in addition to providing incident-response services for all National Trust properties in the North West and Thames and Solent regions of England, and all of Wales.
It is important that the National Trust has an accurate overview of the situation in each of its properties, so RSK developed a bespoke, web-based asbestos-management system for more than 1000 properties. Each site has up-to-date knowledge of the latest survey data, recommendations and timescales for completion of remedial actions.
The user-friendly application includes features such as a powerful search facility, a calendar for reinspections and remedial actions, and a task-management tool that interrogates data by factors such as action status or risk level. Using a secure Internet connection, project managers, contractors and any other relevant parties can log in whenever they want to obtain accurate, up-to-date information regarding the asbestos present in any National Trust property.
Owing to the historical significance of the buildings, and the fact that many are listed and/or inhabited, extensive liaison was required to gain access, and extreme caution was exercised during all survey work.
Melissa Fox, from the RSK asbestos team, summarised the project, saying, “Our surveyors work closely with property managers, curators and building surveyors and provide information on the risks and methods of management, all in non-technical language. Their innovative approach to data management and on-site surveys has been welcomed and praised by the National Trust.”