max temp: 12°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Building contractor handed hefty fine after exposing homeowner and workers to asbestos

13:07 21 May 2014

Ipswich Magistrates

Ipswich Magistrates' Court


An Ipswich building contractor has been fined after it exposed workers and homeowners to potentially fatal asbestos material during work on a garage extension at a home in the town.


Columbus Building Contractors Ltd was hired by the homeowners to carry out a single-storey front garage extension and a kitchen conversion to the property in Fountains Road.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday that the garage, an integral part of the home, had an asbestos insulating board (AIB) ceiling that formed a fire break between it and the rest of the house.

During the conversion work, which took place between May 8 and August 2, 2012, the boards were removed, broken up and left on the homeowner’s front lawn.

The debris was placed into open bags before one of the homeowners took it to the tip in his car, where the possibility of asbestos was identified.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted the company for breaching asbestos safety regulations.

The court was told a licensed contractor had to undertake waste removal of the remaining asbestos material and conduct an environmental clean under fully-controlled conditions.

Columbus Building Contractors Ltd, of Crofton Road, Ipswich, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulations 8(1) and 11(1)(a) of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Adam Hills said: “This is an incident that was entirely preventable. Columbus Building Contractors had worked with this type of material before and had asbestos knowledge.

“They questioned the presence of asbestos materials in the ceiling but made no efforts to obtain an asbestos survey or take samples for analysis to establish if asbestos was contained within the ceiling.

“After removal, the asbestos material was simply left on the front lawn before being bagged in open sacks and transported to the local tip by the homeowner. Both the workers and homeowner would have been exposed to a significant amount of asbestos fibres during these works.

“It is absolutely essential that assumptions are not made when dealing with suspected asbestos materials. If in doubt, get it checked by a professional before starting any work.

“The dangers of exposure are well-known in the industry. There are long-term health risks associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres including lung cancer and mesothelioma.”


1 comment

  • The no win no fee solicitors will be rubbing their hands at potential asbestos claims.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The church is launching its fight back against gangs targeting places of worship for lead. St Mary's Church, Combs Road, Combs. Left to right is Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton and Ipswich Bishop Martin Seeley.

The public have been asked to help the church and the police combat thieves targeting medieval churches across the country.

Residents have been campaigning for a by-pass for the four villages for decades.

Suffolk County Council is to contribute £450,000 towards building a case for the construction of a new by-pass around four villages on the A12 in the north of the county.

The Greyhound, Lavenham

Two fire crews are at the scene of The Greyhound pub in Lavenham after a small chimney fire broke out.

Lost pig found wandering in Wrabness by public and reported to police

Police are hunting for the owner of a large pig found trotting down the road in Wrabness.

The church of St Peter and St Paul in Lavenham

Supporters of one Suffolk church targeted by lead thieves have rallied round to raise the necessary funds to repair the damage caused to it – and help prevent it from happening again.

Robert Morton

MPs have warned the region’s new ambulance chief they will keep a laser like focus on the turnaround of the service when they came face-to-face in parliament.

Community transport, like Dial a Ride, faces financial cuts.

Funding for on-demand transport in Suffolk is to be cut in half – but there was a furious reaction after the Conservative cabinet at the county council ruled out any new debate on the subject.

Stock image. Photo: PA

Suffolk police have strongly denied officers have used a Taser against a 91-year-old man after being accused of doing so by a BBC investigation.

Bella was brought in the Braintree Police Station with serious injuries

A Shar Pei dog was brought to Braintree Police Station in a “horrific” state with scars across her stomach and internal injuries.

Matt Gaw strikes up a conversation with commuters in London

I’m standing in a queue at a large supermarket. A woman in front of me has long since packed her shopping into carrier bags, writes Matt Gaw.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages