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Building contractor fined after homeowners exposed to asbestos

Columbus Building Contractors Ltd has been in court, after exposing both employees and homeowners to potentially fatal asbestos material during work on a garage extension at a home in Ipswich.

What happened?

The firm was carrying out a single-storey front garage extension and a kitchen conversion to the property.

A court heard that the garage had an asbestos insulating board (AIB) ceiling forming a fire break between it and the rest of the house. During the three month conversion, the boards were removed, broken apart and left on the homeowners’ front lawn.

Open bags, containing the debris from the AIB, were then taken to the local tip in the homeowner’s car, where the possibility of asbestos was identified.

What was the outcome?

The Suffolk-based firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, and was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs.

Adam Hills, HSE Inspector, said:

“After removal, the asbestos material was simply left on the front lawn
before being bagged in open sacks and transported to the local tip
by the homeowner. Both the workers and homeowner would
have been exposed to a significant amount of
asbestos fibres during these works.

“It is absolutely essential that assumptions are not made when dealing
with suspected asbestos materials. If in doubt, get it checked
by a professional before starting any work.

“The dangers of exposure are well-known in the industry. There are
long-term health risks associated with inhalation of asbestos
fibres including lung cancer and mesothelioma.”

If you have been at risk from exposure to asbestos, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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