Further challenges existed in that the first floor of the building was of a different layout and structure to the upper floors. As a result, a source of asbestos contamination existed from previous works within the corridor ceiling voids.
The challenge for this floor was isolating electrical supplies as the site electrician could not access the necessary areas as with other floors. To complicate the issue, many of the services on this level had to remain live as they fed emergency stairwells and outside lighting. To overcome this, our asbestos trained electrical team worked with the site electrician both outside and within asbestos enclosures to isolate, divert and refeed supplies. This ensured operatives working on the floor were safe and enabled asbestos removal works to commence in the ceiling voids and maintain the necessary supplies for the hotel’s emergency lighting systems.
This was at first thought to be a major challenge, with many inherent risks. However, due to robust processes and procedures being put in place, we eliminated these risks.
The hotel remaining open was a key consideration for us. The client said they valued our hard work in achieving a mutually workable solution to the co-habitation of our operatives, hotel guests and Strand Palace staff.
The phasing took into consideration the live element of the building and maintaining fire routes while still enabling the removal of asbestos in a commercially and programme viable way.
This led to the three-phase split over each floor. A single point of entry and exit into the building was maintained during each phase for contactors. The entry point was created using a designed scaffold staircase on one elevation of the building — this scaffolding linked to the roof where the decontamination unit (DCU) was situated on top of another design-built scaffold.
Our specialist asbestos trained plumbers and electricians were utilised to ensure services were disconnected before works. Their expertise and training were put to further use when completing new installations in contaminated areas.
Before the work, comprehensive health and safety measures had to be put in place due to the sensitive and extensive nature of the works.
These measures were subject to increased scrutiny due to the project’s location within a particularly popular and wealthy area of London, so they had to be especially robust for public protection.
Signage was clearly visible to ensure all staff and members of the public were perfectly aware of exclusion zones and authorised areas.
In addition, for the consideration of the public and local businesses and residents, there were teams on site who consistently monitored the noise levels. They ascertained an acceptable baseline level as a benchmark for the project and stopped works if they were exceeded. Works would not recommence until the cause of the excess noise level was identified and mitigated.