Blogpost —

Supporting clients in the field of Health & Safety Building Compliance that are making advancements in science and technology

- | By Harry West

CBTax works with numerous clients that are making advancements within building Compliance field. Check out a success story for one of our clients in this sector that CBTax has supported for the last 3 years.

CBTax successfully submitted an R&D claim this month in collaboration with the client that are a specialist health & safety building compliance company. The company are recognised experts in the asbestos management field, holding UKAS accreditation for asbestos surveys, including asbestos management surveys, asbestos refurbishment surveys and asbestos demolition surveys. With 55 staff working in offices across the UK, they offer unrivalled national coverage. Their previous clients include Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Willmott Dixon, Pizza Hut, River Island, Safe Style, The Crown Estate, Capita and CBRE.

While undertaking asbestos surveys and subsequent remedial works, the team identified the ovens used within a factory were built prior to the complete ban of asbestos. Thus, due to asbestos being extremely heat resistant and non-flammable, it was incorporated within the design as thermal insulation. The external casings of the ovens had been lined with Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB), man-made mineral fibres (MMMF) and fire bricks.

Over time the ovens have deteriorated, causing the AIB to become disturbed and damaged. This led to asbestos debris being found on the factory floor and at the foot of the ovens. The ovens were fan-operated, and there was a massive concern that the asbestos was being blown around the factory in the form of dust, potentially entering the ovens. It was therefore essential for the team to establish if any asbestos had entered.

The highly experienced team had never encountered such a problem before, and there was no know industry method of completing air quality tests within an active oven at 180°C. As such, the team sought to develop a method for the quantification of asbestos in a high-temperature environment, expanding their knowledge and that of the industry as a whole.  

Over the course of several months, after conducting their own research activities, along with conversations with the HSE and the National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants (NORAC), the team developed a theoretical solution. Due to the unusual circumstances of the project, they had to perform preliminary tests on-site to make sure the equipment could cope with the heat. During a test run, the ovens were allowed to get up to their operating temperature (180°C), at which point they were turned off and the new theoretical method was implemented. These initial tests showed that the equipment was still within tolerance and the method would yield valid data.

The project was deemed an R&D success with the new method able to show that the oven was not being contaminated with asbestos, advancing the capabilities of the industry. Furthermore, it was the only work of its type that the HSE had ever noted.

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