George Gay Gardens, Swindon


Soft strip, asbestos removal and demolition of two blocks of flats with separate garage blocks in a residential area of Swindon.


Each of the two residential blocks would need soft stripping and removal of non-licensed asbestos. Many of the flats had Artex ceilings containing asbestos and would therefore have to be carefully removed. Both blocks with lifts would have to be demolished and consideration given to local residents on 3 sides of the site along with public footpaths and a main road.

Environmental factors such as dust, vibration and noise would also have to be considered. An ecology report would need to be carried out as there was evidence of bats in the area. Licensed asbestos was present in one of the separate garage blocks so this would also have to be removed under controlled conditions prior to it being demolished.


Before any work could commence, bat boxes had to be erected in close proximity to the site in accordance with the site’s ecology report. As per the agreed plan, each of the two blocks underwent soft stripping to remove all non-fixed and loose waste. Secure drop zones were created in order to ensure the safety of the operatives and separation of the waste products.

Block A was stripped first so non-licensed asbestos, including that found in the Artex, could be removed whilst soft stripping was taking place in Block B. Artex ceilings were carefully removed, the waste was double-bagged and sealed ready for safe disposal. Only when all the loose waste and asbestos had been removed could mechanical demolition start on the two main residential blocks.

Mechanical demolition was carried out predominantly using Lawson Group’s own Liebherr 954 high reach excavator with 360° grab attachment. Lawson’s Caterpillar 336F and 323E excavators were also used in the demolition. Work started on Block A from the top down ensuring that the buildings were stepped back. To ensure works remained within agreed vibration limits, monitors were set up on site. To supress dust, a Dust Boss was used to dampen down the immediate demolition area. Works and deliveries only took place between the hours of 8am and 5pm to minimise disruption to local residents. By managing vibration, dust and noise, Lawson Group were able to control the environmental impact on the residents living in close proximity to the site.

As one of the two separate garage blocks was found to contain licensed asbestos, the works were notified to the HSE with an ASB5. The garages were sealed and completed under controlled conditions by Lawson Environmental (part of Lawson Group) whom are licensed by the HSE to work with asbestos. Only when the asbestos had been removed, by Lawson Environmental’s highly trained operatives, could the mechanical demolition on the garage blocks begin.


The project was successfully completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule. The foundations and ground floor slab were excavated, and arisings were processed to the client’s requirements and left on site. The site was handed back to the client ready for the next stage of development.

To find out more on how Lawson Group can help with your next demolition or asbestos removal project, call 01793 782000, email