Asbestos converted for use as building material (CM, 24 November)
This is a remarkable achievement and has potential applications around the world.
At last, as an asbestos surveyor, someone has found a use for this material in my lifetime. Brilliant initiative, all news is not doom and gloom.
Given that this ‘calmag’ is silicates, carbonates, sulphates and oxides, what precautions are required when it becomes friable in use as a building material e.g. being sawn cut or drilled into?
I think a lot more research needs to go into this product before being released into the built environment (again). Too many people have respiratory disease due to the use of asbestos in various forms (myself included).
This seems a great idea if it can work commercially – but the handling would need to be careful to not cross-contaminate the ‘calmag’ with asbestos fibres from the next batch?
Great idea. Will the asbestos waste (old roof sheets etc) be taken to the plant by the current asbestos skip providers?
Grenfell: Looking to past not the answer (CM, 20 November)
We need to imagine incentivising an ecosystem of competency management that all stakeholders work together in cooperation to capture, infer, interpret, integrate, accredit, certify, apply, use, assess, monitor and evolve competence as a working digital asset (golden thread of competence).
Great article. I agree, we must make sure adequate, experienced, well-structured delivery teams take on the projects to address issues. [We must have a] talent pool able to allocate, revise, facilitate and handle technical problems with utmost care, where sometimes providing detailed solutions is not enough and only true site experience can benefit the design outcome.
Steel exoskeleton lights up LSE (CM, 29 September)
The judges missed one item that the steel exoskeleton will also be adored by local wildlife. The Lloyd’s Building in London was plagued by pigeons during its time. Can’t we learn from the past?
Suspended sentences after dumper death (CM, 30 November)
Very low fines given that someone was killed. Given the sentencing guidelines, the companies must have been both low turnover organisations. It would appear that the dumper seat belt may not have been worn.
The majority of homebuilders banned the use of dumpers on spoil heaps a couple of years ago in a drive to prevent such incidents. Lack of knowledge, training and supervision all played their part in the death of this young man. A preventable event.
Grenfell: Manufacturers ‘exploited ignorance for commercial gain’ (CM, 10 November)
Fascinating account…[this] raises a number of questions regarding the initial and ongoing training of design professionals in terms of material science.
The move to commercialise testing and regulation in our industry seems to have gone too far. Manufacturers are often the most powerful players, with project teams and contractors working on ever-decreasing budgets and margins.
It does make you question whether, as a professional, you want to be involved in specifying anything…We can act in good faith and be diligent and yet if something goes wrong everyone is pointing fingers. You can always be more careful or check one more thing, or do one more inspection.
With traditional materials we can rely on accumulated experience and construction textbooks. This is not possible with new and developing products where we are largely dependent on the manufacturers’ fitting instructions and published technical information.
To obtain detail of fire test reports which underlie published certificates takes determination and persistence. This makes carrying out due diligence a daunting task.
This is particularly so as the fire tests rarely replicate the proposed uses of the tested products and therefore are of dubious applicability.