Universities and Higher Education

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Surveys have confirmed that over 70% of universities have asbestos present in the fabric of their buildings. An unsurprising fact given the age of many university buildings. Before being banned in 1999 asbestos was commonly used as a building material in universities, colleges, schools and other public buildings between the 1940’s and 1970’s.

Asbestos guidance recommends leaving the ACMs in situ and managing them effectively. Unless the asbestos starts to deteriorate, or renovations are taking place which may disturb the fibres it’s often safer left undisturbed. Asbestos removal is extremely costly and outside the budget capability for most universities and colleges. Safe and effective asbestos management combined with improved education is often the only viable option.

The majority of universities are managing asbestos effectively

Despite the challenges and complexity facing university and college estates departments, asbestos is often already well managed. However, dutyholders are increasingly being called upon to publicly demonstrate that they are doing all that they can to maintain staff, visitor and student safety.

Education, and making sure information is readily available when and where it’s needed is critical.

Staff and students need to be made aware of the dangers of asbestos and be informed as to its presence on campus or in student accommodation blocks. 

Contractors need quick and simple access to information regarding the location of any already identified asbestos at site, so they can work safely without the risk of disturbance or accidental exposure.

Unfortunately, large and diverse building stocks and the lack of easily available site specific information for non-core sites can sometimes make this difficult to achieve.

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