You may have seen the other day that I reported on a situation between a homeowner, Everest and their neighbour removing asbestos. Well the crux of that situation was that the neighbour had removed asbestos from his roof which had then contaminated the working area on the erected scaffold around the house which was due to have new windows and doors fitted. To this end, Everest said they were unable to work on the site until it had been safely disinfected – which is quite right in my opinion. However questions remained over who would foot the bill for this.
It was suggested that the homeowner would have to pay for this to be done initially. But quite naturally there were protests from the homeowner about this. Most of you, especially on Twitter said that this was the fault of the neighbour for not removing the asbestos safely, and that the company should be speaking to them, and not the homeowner about this.
Well I am happy to report that Everest have agreed to pay for the works to decontaminate the area before work can start, and speak to the neighbour about paying for the works. I think this is the fairest outcome to the whole scenario. It would have been unfair for the homeowner to pay for the work to be done, it wasn’t their fault after all. It was wrong of the neighbour to just go start pulling out the asbestos without safely doing so and disposing of it properly.
What a situation like this does is to highlight the ambiguity in the laws around asbestos removal. A quick look online and it is easy to find information that tells you that a homeowner can remove asbestos from his/her home without using a specialist company. But then there is conflicting information which says that it has to be removed by specialists. It has become clear that there seems to be a loophole in the regulations that does allow a homeowner to remove it. This I believe should be changed.
Asbestos as we all know is a deeply dangerous material. Even the smallest fibers of it can cause the very worst outcomes for the inhalant. In my own opinion, it should be absolute law that asbestos of all types should only be allowed to be removed by trained specialists. I understand that during home improvement work this can increase the cost by quite a lot, but when it comes to dealing with such a dangerous material, it simply isn’t worth risking a life for the sake of a few thousand quid.
I am glad that in this case the homeowner has had a favourable outcome and I also respect the decision from Everest to take the situation up with the neighbour.