Southwark Crown Court heard that on 24 July 2012 a worker removed part of a suspended ceiling in one of the ground floor refurbished rooms at St Mary’s school and identified suspect asbestos containing materials, the Construction Enquirer has reported.
Asbestos fibres were subsequently found in numerous areas in the school.
At the time of the incident the Principal Contractor for the work was Mansell Construction Services (part of Balfour Beatty) and the subcontractor was Squibb Group Limited.
An HSE investigation found that although an asbestos survey was completed, there were multiple caveats and disclaimers which were not appropriately checked.
Balfour Beatty Regional Construction Limited (previously Mansell Construction Services Limited) was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,364.84 after pleading guilty to safety breaches.
NPS London Limited, of Norfolk was fined £370,000 and ordered to pay £32,364.84 in costs after pleading guilty.
Squibb Group Limited, of Stanford Le Hope, Essex was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £175,000 after being found guilty after a trial.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Robinson said:
“The principal contractor and contractors on site did not review the survey report in detail, and did not take into consideration the multitude of caveats.
Therefore the work undertaken did not adopt the high standards of control expected for working where there was the potential to expose workers to asbestos.”