George Ward School, Melksham


Lawson Group were awarded the contract to undertake the licensed asbestos removal, soft strip work and demolition of a secondary school.


The school campus comprised of a caretaker’s home and several two and three storey buildings located within a residential estate in Melksham. A live electrical cable positioned through the site, feeding nearby estates, would require protection throughout the works.

Asbestos materials were identified throughout all the buildings with Asbestos Insulation Fibre Boards to the ceiling and walls with Asbestos Lagging to pipes within floor ducts. These materials would all need to be safely removed.


The site was secured with Heras fencing to the perimeter of the site. A compound was established for welfare, site office and storage. The underground electric cable was located and identified with the use of a CAT scanner. The area in which the cable was positioned was protected and closed off using barriers and signage.

All relevant permits and notifications had been sourced prior to commencement onsite and were included within the projects Construction Phase Plan (CPP). All licensed asbestos material required removal prior to any demolition works. A 14-day ASB5 notification was submitted to the HSE in accordance with our licensing terms.

Lawson Environmental’s qualified operatives undertook the enabling works to erect negative pressure enclosures. These were smoke tested to ensure bag, air locks and the perimeter of the enclosures were airtight and, where possible, the enclosure was attached to the DCU.  The airlock included four stages with appropriate vents to allow for adequate air movement. The DCU was set up and fully operational prior to any works commencing on site. The power supply for the DCU originated from the onboard generator and external free-standing additional generator.

Full floor to ceiling enclosures were erected, a MEWP was lined with polythene and used for access to reach the AIB panels. These were dampened using a low-pressure sprayer from the underside. Once wet, the nails were removed ensuring the panel remained whole whilst being lowered to the ground. The panels were then double wrapped and bagged in waste bags marked as hazardous.

During Asbestos removal works, an unannounced visit from the HSE occurred, the inspector highly commended the removal techniques and arranged for a revisit as part of a training programme for HSE inspectors.

Appropriate control measures were employed to mitigate the impacts arising from the production of noise, dust, vibration and waste arising’s. These managed the potential safety risks to neighbouring properties and members of the general public who were utilising the adjacent footpathsand highways.

The demolition zone was sectioned off for mechanical demolition with no operatives working on foot within the zone.

A 360°- demolition excavator with a Multi-Processor Shear attachment was used to demolish the building. Starting at the rear of the building, the roof was removed back to the first supporting column allowing one bay of the roof to be lowered carefully to theground floor slab.

All wood and steel were removed and separated for recycling. The excavator progressively reduced the building layer by layer.


All slab, foundations and underground obstructions were removed, all concrete and hard-core were processed on site producing 6f2 crushed stone material suitable for recycling within the future residential development. The project was completed to programme and to the client’s specifications and successfully handed over.

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