We are in high rise flats with 16 floors. For the next year we will be around a workforce, including an asbestos removal team who will be removing waste pipes. One flat on each floor has to be moved out for 5 weeks, but we are still being relocated in the actual flats them selves. We can move back in after this, and then the next lot of residents are moved out etc. etc. Questions are being asked to all parties with no specific answers given, about the level of asbestos and why we are not even allowed in our homes during this time. Our keys are taken from us. Should we be concerned?
closed as unclear what you're asking by Steven, HerrBag, Chris Cudmore, Tester101♦ Jul 29 '13 at 15:32
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Not something that is easily answered.
First -- A question of whether "proper" asbestos abatement is unsafe -- not to me. There are a significant number of precautions required by law for abatement of large areas (in the U.S), including negative air pressure, air filtration, wetting of surfaces, disposal methods, testing, and so on.
More than likely, they are replacing the soil stack (Asbestos Cement) -- the primary waste line running down the building moving each floor's waste to the one below (and so on until it reaches a main sewer connection). This is likely the reason that one flat has to be moved out, and it is likely that each of those flats are directly above/below the others, so that there is access from top to bottom to the line.
If I were to make a guess about all this, it would be that:
Then again -- that is all speculation. As to your last statement, I don't understand the "Questions are being asked to all parties with no specific answers given, about the level of asbestos and why we are not even allowed in our homes during this time." I have to assume that you mean the residents are asking questions of the contractors/owners/management.
If that is correct, I suspect that their non-responsiveness has to do with the fact that, typically, only a General Contractor deals with the customer and the individual contractors handle the work. Unfortunately, the building owner/management is the "customer", not you, so there is no real obligation for the contractor to provide you any information. Really, the building owner/management should be asking your questions and relaying answers. In addition, some questions may not be answered, simply because people often lack the capacity to understand that high asbestos levels in a sealed remediation environment doesn't mean that any unsafe conditions will remain after the work is completed or that other areas will be unsafe/affected.
Unfortunately, the problem is that while people claim that they want to be informed, they often just use that information to be panicked or incite panic -- it is easier for Contractor's/Building Owners or Management/Workers to simply not answer questions that don't NEED or aren't REQUIRED to be answered.
Applicable laws will determine what rights to information/protection you have. Alternatively, you can research local/national laws regarding public access to construction permitting and/or asbestos abatement permitting, and to get the information from the appropriate overseeing authority, IF it is public information.
Otherwise, all I can say is, moving is always an option.
It should be fine. Asbestos dust containment should be localised to the flats they are working on (hopefully). I put hopefully in brackets there because, it assumes they follow proper procedure.