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Asbestos liability/responsibility advice

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by Eldodgerino, 31 Oct 2014.

  1. Eldodgerino

    Eldodgerino

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    Fair enough, I did not ask for a survey but as dutyholder she has the responsibility to advise any contractors that there is asbestos present on HSE guidelines.

    A national blacklist on customers would be excellent for us. I really second this. Difficult to accomplish though.

    What I've realised during this process if it is the tradesmen's responsibility to identify asbestos then every trade - chippy, spread, spark, plumber, decorator, general builder all need to be educated in identifying asbestos before we can start trading - there would need to be a national training scheme and consequent tests and accreditation. If bought in at NVQ level then possible but so many learn on the job without college/formal training that it is unlikely
     
  2. Newboy

    Newboy

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  3. Eldodgerino

    Eldodgerino

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  4. FiremanT

    FiremanT

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  5. cajar

    cajar

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  6. Newboy

    Newboy

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    I agree - there's a lot of a*se covering courses available (I've been on a few myself!).

    But the point is that at least if you're aware of the potential and understand your responsibilities as a contractor then you're less likely to come up against the sort of situation the OP has been landed with.

    The HSE website is a very useful resource and, contrary to popular belief, isn't full of OTT procedures and policies.

    The current head of the HSE has stated that it's time the 'elf & safety' excuse brigade packed their bags and left people to concentrate of the real issues and not the trivia that large contractors seem to specialise in.

    There are a few feeds available on the HSE site which will email latest information to you automatically - well worth a look (in my view)
     
  7. stevethespreader

    stevethespreader

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  8. Newboy

    Newboy

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  9. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    Back to basics?

    1/. The work done originally by OP was to alter and adapt a domestic dwelling into a B&B.

    2/. I think that the owner who was instructing the, what is best described as a change of use, would have had to get various things in place, legally so that the owner could function as a B&B.

    The hoops that the owner would have to have gone through include, a change of Insurance cover. A possible change of rateable value of the property with the local Authority, Registering with the local Authority and a possible inspection by Environmental health [food hygiene Etc.] The owner would also have to attend a Food Safety course, should have attended a bookkeeping course, and a course on hospitality. possible had a fire safety survey? and an inspection by the local Tourist board?

    As a part of what the owner should have done was to instruct an Asbestos survey, why, because the property was in the process of, but not yet trading as a Commercial concern.

    it could be argued that because the property was not a fully functioning commercial viable going concern then it was a domestic residence, being converted?

    Any further ideas anyone?
     
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  10. Eldodgerino

    Eldodgerino

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    Cheers for post KenGMac.

    Had a meeting last Saturday - ex-client was looking for £40k for outgoings incurred since the asbestos recovery occurred.

    Comprised of:
    Current builders costs incurred -
    abandoned work
    tool and clothing disposal
    loss of revenue due to booked in work abandoned
    Owners -
    Asbestos removal, disposal
    Loss of turnover due to closure
    Staff member leaving
     
  11. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    Eldodgerino, Hi.

    That is a load of cash?

    A Question? did She show you the Asbestos Survey?

    If so, was there a DATE ON IT? nudge nudge- if it was compiled after you worked on the Property, which was a domestic residence at that time that indicates a lot.

    Or did you catch the name of the firm that undertook the Survey? they [long shot?] may be willing to tell you when the Survey was undertaken?

    What I would do is request as much information as possible is forwarded to you by this lady, as your Liability insurer MAY need it

    Another thing, do you know or have any contact with the member of staff who left? if so they may have some info that could assist you?

    There may be another way of getting more information?

    If the work needed building Control Permission there should ne documents lodged with the Local Authority> it may contain the Asbestos Survey? with the all important DATE?

    Do you know any of the Contractor that were working on the property? they may have relevant info?

    How about, but be VERY cautious on this one, the H+S will have had to be informed about this I do not know if there is a register held by the H&S that can be interrogated by the general public, if it is accessible? it will have a date of the Survey.

    Have a wee thing about this lot?

    Sorry if it is a bit, cloak and dagger, but after 15 Years in Insurance I have had to adopt such tactics if I think that there is something other than a straight forward claim being presented, I have had a load of dodgy claims, this one to me has a lot of that scent about it?

    Ken
     
  12. FiremanT

    FiremanT

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    This is a puzzling issue. Has she actually instructed solicitors against you - or is she just trying to get you to come to an out of court financial settlement.

    Since my last reading a few weeks ago, another thing has jumped out, and I am surprised that no one has apparently made mention of it:

    Her grounds against you appear to be that YOU did not undertake an asbestos survey (despite my belief that SHE should have arranged it, and YOU should have asked to see it)?

    If so, where does that leave the new contractor. He should be in the deeper mire has HE has ACTUALLY disturbed the ACM, and HE presumably did not ask to see the survey that SHE should have arranged.

    Is there any form of relationship between the new contractor and the B&B'er, or has he just told her to take a leap?
     
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  13. Lower

    Lower

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    And how is any of this down to you? What is her rational for trying to pin this on you? Is it purely that you were the last builder in that didn't identify asbestos?

    You are not a asbestos surveyor, you did not take on a contract that included the responsibility to identify asbestos, and you did not disturb the asbestos.

    If you didn't ask for a copy of the asbestos survey and therefore bring the requirement for one to her attention, that still doesn't make you responsible for something that is entirely her responsibility.

    She's trying it on.
     
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  14. Eldodgerino

    Eldodgerino

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    Thanks Lower - indeed she has been trying it on.

    I have said its not my problem.

    I explained there were three professionals in there before me:
    1 - homebuyers survey surveyer
    2 - the architect, who is a buildings surveyer
    3 - Building Control for initial site survey

    None of these picked it up

    Furthermore, the Care of Asbestos Regulations are clear that it is her responsibility to have an asbestos survey done and so solely liable for any asbestos in her property.

    As you said Lower all works we were contracted to were completed to more than a satisfactory level and anything outside of that would have been beyond that.

    She said she will have to go back to her insurance company and see what they say when she tells them we won't pay.

    Was told yesterday that the BnB is up for sale now. She did ask in the meeting whether I owned my house saying her insurance company would be after it. In almost the next sentence she asked after my kids. Unbelievable. She owns several other properties

    Hopefully I have heard the last of it. Thank you all for your comments.
     
  15. Joe Malone

    Joe Malone

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    There is no basis for this claim. Even if you have not complied with your obligations under HSE guidelines (and I'm not sure that you did) you were not employed to carry out an asbestos survey. If you disturbed asbestos during works, or she thinks you did, then perhaps this is the basis of her claim because under such circumstances the HSE and your client should have been notified. generally speaking, your site staff should have been trained in asbestos awareness and when you carried out a risk assessment this should have incorporated the potential risk of disturbing asbestos. It is highly unlikely that a RAD survey was carried out or available prior to the work but contractors should really insist that the client gets one done ahead of carrying out major refurbishment work. I still fail to see how liability for late discovery of asbestos rests with you.
     
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