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Departmental Headquarters

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the consultants' report on the remedial works required to his Department's headquarters building in Marsham street, referred to in his answer of 25 March, Official Report, column 12, will be published when available.

The report will be a detailed technical document. I shall publish a summary of its principal findings and recommendations, with the Department's views.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the extent and nature of asbestos materials used in the construction and fittings of his Department's headquarters building in Marsham street; if it is considered that these materials constitute a hazard to health; and if he will make a statement.

Asbestos-containing materials have been used principally for thermal insulation on heating and hot water pipework located in service ducts and plant rooms where they do not constitute a hazard to health. As a matter of prudence, these insulating materials will be replaced with an asbestos-free alternative, and a programme of work on this will commence in the summer. Appropriate safety precautions will be taken during the removal operation.Other asbestos-containing materials present in the building are well sealed and not considered to constitute a hazard to health.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the defects in his Department's headquarters building first came to attention; and if any action is proposed in respect of the builders or architects.

The first isolated incident of spalling concrete was noted in 1980, with further cases in 1982. Repairs were undertaken and investigations to discover the cause were set in hand. Consideration of possible action inrespect of other parties must await the outcome of the consultants' investigations, referred to in my answer of 25 March at column 12.