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University of South Wales – Strip out, Asbestos removal and Demolition

Downwell were recently engaged by the University of South Wales to undertake works within their Treforest Campus, that included Strip-out, asbestos Removal and Demolition to create a safe environment for the 6th floor refurbishment work to proceed.

Specific Tasks included removing mechanical and electrical services, soft stripping of walls, ceilings, and floor coverings, and addressing the need to remove AIB column linings (almost 100 No.).

The challenges faced during the project included:

Limited Access: Only two small passenger lifts were available, both of which were in regular use by staff and students accessing the other floors within this seven-story block, and as such making it difficult for our staff to utilise these for the transportation of both project arisings, and our delivery personnel.

Innovative Solution: To address these access/egress limitations our Contracts team proposed the external installation of an 18-meter high scissor lift, as an alternative means of managing the projects vertical transportation needs.

Unforeseen Basement Discovery: A previously unidentified basement, beneath the area earmarked as the location of the external scissor lift location, was discovered just before the project started, posing a potential delay to the project timeline. To mitigate the impact of this challenge, the working hours were adjusted to commence early in the mornings. This allowed for the removal of materials before staff and students arrived, ensuring progress without causing disruptions or delays to the project

During the project, unexpected asbestos was found in various areas such as door frames, packing pieces, and the floor slab under timber partitions, posing a health hazard and requiring immediate attention. To address this issue and prevent any potential problems for the refurbishment contractor, we were instructed to remove perimeter walls and skylights

Collaboration with the Client: As a result of these unforeseen works, our delivery program was extended, however as a result of this our site activities overlapped with the University’s exam schedule, and open days, leading to much liaison and collaboration with the client to implement a plan of work that mitigated the opportunity for disruption.

The success of the project on the 7th floor of the university building can be attributed to several key factors:

The ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges, such as the discovery of asbestos in unexpected areas, or the presence of a previously unidentified basement, which allowed the project team to adjust strategies and continue moving forward effectively.

Close collaboration with the client throughout the project facilitated clear communication, alignment of goals, and timely decision-making, which were essential in ensuring the successful completion of the project.

By combining meticulous planning, adaptability to challenges, and strong client collaboration, the project was able to achieve its objectives of strip-out, demolition, and asbestos removal in a successful and efficient manner.

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