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Author Topic: Asbestos Roof  (Read 3820 times)
itsnewtome
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« on: January 10, 2011, 05:03:20 PM »

Hi
Have been asked to look at a large installation and have 2 options. Either a ground mounted system or on an asbestos roof. I haven't been to the job yet but I believe it is the usual corrugated asbestos cement sheets.
Has anyone installed PV onto this type of roof before?
I would imagine it will either need to be clad with something like marine ply first and then fix to that or get it removed.
I am aware of the issues surounding the drilling/cutting of such material
If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

Or should I just look at the ground mount option

Thanks
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desperate
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 05:12:30 PM »

Itsnewtome,

Hi, do not, repeat do not mess with asbestos, even cement based is pretty much impossible to do anything with, without releasing quite a high level of fibres. My freind "Sticky" works as a surveyor for an asbestos monotoring company and he often recalls tales of horror where some builder or another thought they were taking proper precautions, only for them to shut down the site.

If you can't do a ground mounted system, PLEASE, walk away from the job, it's just not worth the risk, seriously.

Desp
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tony.
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 05:14:31 PM »

From a health and safety point of view, i would first get an asbestos specialist in, to take a sample and test it.

If its not asbestos, get stuck in.

If it is asbestos you could ask the asbestos specialist to install the equipment for you,  the rails etc, you could make up the pv panels with longer leads so that each panel has its own pair brought into the loft and they are terminated into a joint box.( we have done this in the past, not pv, but got them to install rows and rows of unistrut, so we can fix to the safe unistrut and not touch the sub structure.) allow for larger csa of dc cables to compensate for the extra losses

you might have to consider maintenance, so that the asbestos contractor is included in all aspects of work.

Ps hope its not asbestos.

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Ivan
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 06:52:33 PM »

Is there ANY safe way of working with asbestos? I get the impression that specialist asbestos companies probably take the proper precautions to avoid their exposure to asbestos, but probably don't prevent contamination of the site (maybe minimise it).
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desperate
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 07:10:23 PM »

Ivan

The only work I know that's legitimately carried out with asbestos is containment or removal . Sticky is involved in monitoring sites that are being stripped, and that seems to involve sealed low pressure work areas, and continuous monitoring outside the work area to make sure no fibres are escaping. If there is assie on site  and it is stable, the only advice given is leave it alone.
I'm going for a beer with Sticky on Wednesday, I'll ask him.

Desp
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Baz
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 07:19:18 PM »

I assume this is a cement roof rather than asbestos fibre insulation. If you look at a slate or tile roof gutters they are full of dust that is the gradual attrition of the material by weather. Does anyone think this doesn't happen to these roof sheets. The area is already well covered by the detritus but it is stabilised by lichen etc on the roof itself, or washed into the soil / drain. The problem comes not from the obvious hole drilling for which well established and documented precautions exist, but the muck thats gets all over you when you start crawling around on it.
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guydewdney
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 07:24:50 PM »

They knocked down a large commercial vehicle servicign unit for our council lately, and all they did was squirt sticky foam at the roof, then just knock it over.... - well - thats what it looked like afterwards.

Asbestos is nasty - but really - drilling 4 - 6 holes with a wet drill, theres going to be no fibres released - so for the exposure - why worry? The problem comes if you do this every day - a one off, I would be happy to do it. Asbestos goes in, but doesnt come out - so the same exposure is gained from working smashing up one panel, as drilling 1000 holes over 20 years. Drill the holes when its raining Smiley

elf an safety gawn maaad innit...
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Fintray
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 08:16:16 PM »

For advice download the ACOP and see if you think it is worth the hassle!

[urlhttp://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l143.htm][/url]
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guydewdney
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 08:47:44 PM »

According to that document - the emergency services are exempt - therefore just ask your local friendly ambulance driver to drill the holes for you.  tomatosplat

Yes - I totally agree that if you work with it - you need all the protection you can get - one set of holes, carefully drilled using water to surpress fibres, and a vacuum to be uber-careful - is 'adequate' protection. Asbestos itself isnt actually toxic - it just fills up the lungs and blocks stuff up / irritates until there is a problem. Tiny amounts, like this case, are probably fine. My father and his workmen all worked with asbestos - they were just careful - good masks, gaffa tape sealed rooms, and a vacuum cleaner, and they took off asbestos wrapped heating pipes (the worst stuff) - the workmen are still alive and fine - aged 80+ - my father died of totally unrelated causes.
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Billy
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 10:13:55 AM »

We had to have a specialist firm come in and take away our corrugated roof.  Arm and leg job.  All they did was take off roof with no PPE and put the sheets in a 20' container which was collected later.  They did use scaffolding and take reasonable care not to break up the sheets but some fell apart.  I could have done what they did and I would have used a proper mask at least, tis a farce.  IMHO of course.

I spent most of my childhood blowing out brake drums prior to inspection, curtains for me I reckon.

If you can't easily satisfy the regs and guidelines then it might be easier to walk away, it's just not worth the fuss even though it is really no problem to drill a couple of holes, but hey -elfins 'ave tea.

billy

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DonL
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 10:46:11 AM »

Hi Itsnewtome
We covered this question not long ago http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,11752.msg130155.html#msg130155.
It is legal to drill holes in asbestos cement without using a licensed contractor but it is a requirement to follow HSE guidance note a9 which explains how to drill the holes and capture dust also what PPE to use.
I have just ordered a 4.2kWp system to be installed on the roof of my asbestos cement barn but have liaised with the contractor to minimise the number of fixings required and agreed that I will install these fixing bolts before they come on site.
I will install these bolts in strict compliance with HSE guidance and have the method worked out to minimise any dust escape and avoid polluting the barn with asbestos dust.
It will happen in the next few weeks and I'll post a report on how well it went.
You may well ask why my contractor did not want to install the bolts? and the answer is that there is a lot of difference between doing a job yourself and being responsible for your own actions and asking employees to take the same risks and rely on them following the method statement - ever tried making people keep face masks on? banghead
Finally, these comments only apply to asbestos cement, in which the asbestos fibres are bonded in by the cement, not any other form of asbestos.
Don
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itsnewtome
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 12:21:37 PM »

Hi All
Thanks for the replies. I've seen the job today and they are looking at the ground mount system.
Someone should come up with a system that would fit onto the asbestos roofs simply and cleanly. They would make a fortune.
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DonL
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 12:32:46 PM »

"They would make a fortune"??!!!
Maybe I won't post a description  Grin
Don
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dhaslam
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 12:52:00 PM »

The problem is that as yet it is not known  why asbestos  causes cancer.   Lung cancer is just one of the forms  of cancer it causes  so it is probably not just something that happens by  breathing the fibres over a long period.     It is thought that some people, who are susceptible,   pick  it up with a single exposure.     It takes a very long time to develop  which makes it more difficult  to trace the cause.     

In this particular case  I think the best course of action would be to have the roof removed by  properly  equipped contractors and replace the roof.     

http://www.asbestos.com/cancer/
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DonL
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 05:23:52 PM »

Hi DHaslam

Obviously I looked into this in some depth, including the choice of replacing the roof. The best advice I could get was that if the roof is in good condition (it is) the best choice is not to replace it but to leave it alone.

So, I had three choices:
1) No PV.
2) The method I am using.
3) Replace the roof and PV.

I think that having the roof replaced (aside from the expense) would release more dust than drilling the holes. Contractors would only be required to follow legislation for asbestos cement and this would involve wetting down, trying to avoid breaking sheets, double wrapping, and PPE. There is no magical way of avoiding some release of dust in these circumstances, imagine trying to remove or cut all the holding down bolts which are screwed into the wooden purlins without damaging the sheets and then lifting them off in one piece and double wrapping them. See what Billy said above.

I am not trying in any way to under state the dangers of asbestos but I think what I do will be successful with virtually no emmission of dust and it is at my own risk. It will also be in compliance with HSE guidance.

The forum has given a full range of views and is helpful, in the end I guess we all make our own minds up.

Don
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