Interim report on PCH asbestos released

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An interim report into the discovery of asbestos in the new Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) has found the procurement processes used by principal contractor John Holland Pty Ltd to be comprehensive and consistent with industry practice. However, industry and government must improve processes for detecting and preventing the presence of non-conforming and hazardous products in buildings.

Released by Building Commissioner Peter Gow today, the interim report concluded that:

  • John Holland appropriately managed the response after asbestos was confirmed, but the task risk assessment process should have more clearly addressed the dust hazard;
  • the procurement processes used by John Holland were comprehensive and consistent with industry practice;
  • the manufacturing process used by Yuanda allowed non-specified and non-conforming products to enter the supply chain; and
  • the remediation plan proposed by John Holland includes safe and suitable processes to replace affected components within the unitised roof panels and verification that they will be fit-for-purpose.

Asbestos was discovered in unitised roof panels supplied by Chinese company Yuanda during the construction of the building’s atrium ceiling in July 2016. Shortly after the discovery, Building Commissioner Peter Gow announced he would undertake an independent audit of the PCH and other WA buildings containing Yuanda products. To date, no new products containing asbestos have been found.

“I am satisfied that the response to asbestos at the new Perth Children’s Hospital site was managed appropriately by John Holland and that the remediation plan to remove asbestos-containing material at the site is adequate,” said Building Commissioner Peter Gow.

“I am also satisfied that in sourcing the unitised roof panels for the Perth Children’s Hospital project, John Holland used an experienced subcontractor, correctly specified that the product must be asbestos-free and had evidence that led it to believe that the product complied with  the specification.

“However, it is clear that despite a certificate labelling the fibre-cement sheeting as asbestos-free, the product supplied by Yuanda did not meet John Holland’s specifications and the fibre-cement sheeting ordered by Yuanda was substituted by a product containing asbestos.

“This and other related circumstances show that specifiers, builders and suppliers must be vigilant about the products they use during construction and must satisfy themselves that the products they use do not contain asbestos.”

Work currently underway by the Building Minister’s Forum and other government-industry bodies is addressing the problem of non-conforming building products.

The interim report and information on the audit’s progress is available on the Building Commission website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission/audit-yuanda-building-products.

View a summary of the interim report

END OF RELEASE

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Media release
13 Sep 2016

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