|The scene at Arena House earlier today|
Their concern has been heightened by the fact that Michaela's website says that the contractor Willmott Dixon is working to tight timelines:
Over the next few months in the lead-up to the opening of the school, Willmott Dixon will be stripping out the existing building, [My emphasis] creating new spaces that meet our specific requirements and installing new IT systems and furniture in preparation for our new school. The work on site will then be the end product of months of planning and we will keep you updated as Arena House undergoes its exciting transformation.The Teachers' Panel's concern was heightened when they discovered that Willmott Dixon was one of three firms, along with Marks and Spencer, fined for unsafe removal of asbestos during refurbishment works at the M&S store in Reading: LINK
The principal contractor at the Bournemouth store, Wilmott Dixon, failed to plan, manage and monitor removal of asbestos-containing materials.
It did not prevent the possibility of asbestos being disturbed by its workers in areas that had not been surveyed extensively.
The court heard that the client, Marks and Spencer plc, did not allocate sufficient time and space for the removal of asbestos-containing materials at the Reading store.
|There was a considerable amount of debris evident in the stripped Arena House classrooms today|
Dear Ms Birbalsingh and Mr Michael Gove,I am writing on behalf of Brent Teachers’ Panel, representing teacher unions in all types of Brent schools (community, grant maintained, independent, academy and free schools) to request information regarding the management and/or removal of asbestos at the site which is being refurbished for use as Michaela Academy Free School.Our reason for requesting this information relates to my rights as appointed safety rep and elected health and safety adviser for the NUT representing some 1700 member teachers in Brent, some of whom may work at this school. As you will know, under the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, an appointed safety rep has the right to see documentation and reports associated with works in a building which may affect the safety of his or her members. In addition to this, and as Brent teachers, we are also genuinely concerned for the safety of children and others in our community.Please could you therefore provide me with the following:· A copy or sight of the asbestos refurbishment/demolition (Type 3) survey carried out for Arena House with associated material and priority risk assessments· A local asbestos management plan for the school which will be used when it opens in Arena House in September· An explanation as to the choice/selection/tendering process of the contractor Willmott Dixon, bearing in mind that they were found guilty in court of contravening sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 between 5 February 2007 and 28 February 2007, and bearing in mind also that when they took this to appeal on the grounds of small risk to health, the appeal was lost in May 2012.I would like to assure you of our best intentions and that we only have our members’ and pupils’ safety and wellbeing in mind with this request. The Brent Teachers’ Panel has had to deal with the death of a school pupil and enforcement notices for poor asbestos management in the past, in Brent schools, so we always have safety foremost in our minds.I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Although free schools are independent of the council, Brent Council does have overall responsibility for the health and well-being of Brent pupils and so should intervene to make sure that this will be a safe environment for pupils and staff.Jenny Cooper,Brent NUT Health & Safety Adviser,Health & Safety Adviser to Brent Teachers’ PanelElected London Representative on the National NUT Health & Safety Working GroupBrent Appointed School Health & Safety Representative