29th June 2012
The Governors of Bloomfield Collegiate School have plans to renovate the former Preparatory Department building so that it can be used extensively by the Grammar School.
In preparation for the proposed building work, the School commissioned an asbestos survey on 21st May. Asbestos containing materials were identified in a number of locations with some damage in foyer cupboards. We immediately closed the building to pupils as a precaution.
Two rooms in the building were currently being rented out to a private day care nursery. As soon as he received the report from the asbestos management company, the Principal immediately advised the owner of the Nursery and made provision to organise an alternative for her business and relocate, so that she would not suffer loss of business.
The School and the Nursery owner also advised the Health and Safety Executive NI , and the School also contacted the Public Health Agency.
The HSENI carried out air tests in two of the classrooms. The levels revealed in these tests carried out by HSENI were deemed a risk. Two subsequent tests carried out independently by the school did not show unacceptable levels of air fibres.
The HSENI and the PHA have been working closely with the school to interpret the differing test results.
It has been established that electrical and computer cable installation in 2001 caused the damage to the cupboards in question, and when the HSENI carried out their tests, they opened these cupboards and removed materials. It is believed that the tests detected the concerning amounts of airborne asbestos because of the disturbance caused by opening and collecting material from within these larger cupboards.
The PHA is advising that asbestos-containing products only pose health risks when they are in a poor condition or become damaged. It is not known in this situation what asbestos conditions prevailed in the Preparatory School in the past. The available data relates to three tests at recent specific points in time and as such it is not possible to quantify the exact level of exposure at other times.
The School has received Improvement Notices from the HSENI and has been working to comply with these notices and all necessary steps are underway to address the issues raised. The School has arranged for the asbestos to be removed next week.
The School has arranged for the asbestos to be removed next week.
The school has communicated with current parents by letter explaining the facts, provided a fact sheet produced by the PHA, which is attached below, and has held information sessions at the school in conjunction with the HSENI and the PHA. The school has briefed staff and other users of the building, and has also kept the BELB and DENI updated.
The school has made every effort to contact past Prep pupils from 2001 and is also writing to advise past Senior School pupils from this time, who may have carried out some school activities in the Prep building.
However, anyone with any immediate concerns, please click here to email or alternatively call the school.
Independent Tests Commissioned By The School