Last week we talked direct costs. In case you missed it: click here. This week we talk indirect Asbestos Removal Cost!

I was working on an office refurbishment for two floors of a 5-storey office block, the work place for about 700 people.

We got dead lucky. We had effectively finished and were in the process of handover when disaster stuck!

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The occupants of another floor above us decided they wanted their A-C system improving. That meant gentlemen went into the dry riser where they found, yes! Asbestos! The consequence of that was that 700 people were simply kicked out of their offices for two solid weeks!

My guess is that the cost in wages paid to people for not working was about £1/2 million and the employers could add to that the loss of business through the shut-down!

I’m not even making a guess at that! I don’t know, either, whether the companies were lumbered with that bill or if their insurers had to fork out! Might even have been the landlord.

Another of my asbestos experiences was on a new-build mixed development. Some brick-built office spaces and some small tin sheds for manufacture or distribution. There was, however, an existing tin shed on the site, quite a big one – probably about 50,000 sq. feet – that was supposed to be refurbished and fitted out to be let or sold with the rest.

Someone was stupid enough to notice there was asbestos in it! I didn’t even find out what or where! The place got securely locked up and the asbestos people shouted for! Our work progressed and we eventually saw the asbestos surveyors move in – and then out again. We had just about finished the rest of the work by the time all the pre-start contractual stuff had been done for the asbestos removal. The specialist removers walked in as the rest of us walked off site!

The refurb of that building, however “safe” it now is, still hasn’t happened 14 years later!

The logic being that access would be too disruptive to the rest of the development. What is the indirect cost of asbestos removal there? 

Again, just a guess, but about £8½ million in lost rent!

Then there was another asbestos-related cost. This time I’m the one that lost out! I got a freelance contract for an office refurbishment that was supposed to take four months. We had been at it only a week when some nosey Building Surveyor came in on behalf of the insurers. He poked around and decided that the fire cladding on the steel columns was asbestos-based! The site immediately shut down and I was out of work!

The last one which springs to mind was another where I lost out! I was short-listed for a freelance project on an office refurbishment for a company to move into. Before that happened asbestos was discovered. The company had to extend their contract on their existing premises which set them back, I’m told, £200,000. It wasn’t too bad for me that time – I had another job a week later!

Tune in next week where we talk about the health aspects of asbestos!

Ang again, we would love to hear your stories of dealing with Asbestos…