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March 24, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Asbestos found at hostel

The discovery and subsequent removal of asbestos appears to have been behind the recent rumours of its use in upgrades at a University hostel.

Construction work is currently being undertaken at Cumberland House, one of three student accommodation buildings operated by Campus Living Villages.

According to Darren Giles of Archaus Architects – the company behind the work – the building was bought by its current owners “in a poor state,” and current work was being carried out to “bring it up to scratch.”

Asbestos was discovered on the underside of the floor slab during the summer when an electrician broke through the ceilings on the ninth floor. Giles explained that the ninth floor was the original roof, with the following 10th, 11th and 12th floors built above it at a later date.

“[Using asbestos] was an old construction method for insulation… [in the] roof lining.”

Asbestos is building material outlawed in many countries including New Zealand since the mid-1980s, for its potentially serious harmful effects if inhaled.

“It was never exposed to students,” Giles said. “We had to demolish everything on level nine… asbestos was stripped out and disposed of. It’s all clear now.”

“It’s all generally safe.”

When contacted, a receptionist at Cumberland House initially denied any knowledge of the company undertaking the construction work, despite a prominent Surface Works sign on exterior of the building.

When questioned directly at a later date about the suspected use of asbestos, the same receptionist “completely [ruled] out” the suggestion and explained: “[They’re] just upgrading the floor.”

No date was provided by Cumberland House on when the floor would be reopened. “We do not have a clue.”

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  1. Black Books says:

    “But there’s two different kinds. There’s bad asbestos, and there’s nice asbestos.” –Fran’s landlord, Series 2, episode 2

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