In April 2021 EMS undertook a demolition asbestos survey on behalf of our client BB Enterprises at the former site of the Royal Pigeon Racing Society in Shurdington located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. BB Enterprises are a South West based Demolition contractor, based in Gloucester.
The demolition asbestos survey undertaken on Redding House and Selby House in Cheltenham was undertaken prior to the complete demolition of the existing buildings. Its purpose was to locate all asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) present in the building to facilitate safe asbestos removal prior to demolition works beginning.
A demolition asbestos survey is a fully intrusive asbestos survey which must be undertaken on buildings constructed pre-2000 as part of CAR2012 regulations. A demolition asbestos survey requires access to all materials and this means that the survey is fully invasive and destructive. It is generally required for a site to already be vacant prior to a demolition asbestos survey being carried out and it is often not suitable for re-occupation following the demolition asbestos survey.
The scope of the demolition asbestos survey included Redding House, which was a two-storey building, originally home to the Royal Pigeon Society. Redding House also included a basement and boiler room. Selby House was also included in the scope of the demolition asbestos survey and was a detached two bed domestic property. EMS surveyors used invasive surveying techniques to inspect all areas of Redding and Selby House. This included accessing all areas, including difficult to access areas such as basements, floor voids and loft spaces. A demolition asbestos survey will explore beneath floorboards and the floor slabs, behind wall cladding and into the wall voids and cavities. All elements of the building structure are exposed and explored to allow safe demolition.
The Royal Pigeon Racing Society was based at Redding House in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire from 1964 to 2021. It is said that Pigeons have been a part of the town’s history far before this, and Pigeons even feature on Cheltenham’s coat of arms.
Pigeon Racing is the sport of releasing specifically bred and trained homing pigeons and measuring the time it takes them to return to their home loft. Some estimate that in some form, pigeon racing may date back to as far as 220 AD. However, the sport first gained large scale popularity in Belgium in the mid-19th Century and other countries such as the UK and America also took to the sport during this time. Racing pigeons also played a vital role during the 20th Century and at the outbreak of World War 2, many were given to the war effort to act as message carriers or ‘carrier pigeons’. These pigeons carried messages in special containers on their legs or in small pouches carried on their backs. Of the thousands of pigeons given to the war effort, one pigeon from the Royal lofts was awarded the PDSA Dicky Medal. After being released on the 10th October 1940, the young bird named Royal Blue flew 120 miles in 4 hours and 10 minutes and reported crucial information as to the condition of the crew in Holland. Pigeon Racing remains a popular sport in the 21st Century with clubs located throughout the UK.
During the survey asbestos materials were identified on the site in Cheltenham. These identified materials were detailed in the asbestos report issued by EMS in the asbestos register and material risk assessments. Under CAR 2012, there is a legal duty to remove asbestos prior to demolition.
EMS were able to provide our client with advice and consultancy relating to the asbestos removal requirements at this site to ensure that the eventual demolition of the buildings was undertaken safely and successfully.