Commercial to residential, in this case, also means lots of digging! Not just a little way either. We have to dig the floor out to a suitable depth and then put it back in but with all the necessary materials that make a modern building. Including a DPM (damp proof membrane) and the necessary insulation.
We knew this from the outset, so in Week 1 we broke into just one area of the floor to see what lies underneath.
Concrete tiling is what everyone saw – great for a pub. Easy to clean and hard wearing. No good for a residential property. That was the top layer. Underneath was dirt, then blue lias flagstones. Probably originals from a way back. Yippee. There is value in them there stones and if we can save them, we can re-use them or sell them on.
Then weirdly, a type of bitumen. Didn’t smell too good but nothing to worry about.
What was worrying was the next material we found. It looked like a type of insulation board. We stopped work, masked up and sealed the area. Both Neil and Andy thought it might be asbestos. That is one of the words you do not want to hear when you start a job this big.
I cannot tell you how worried I was. My first action was to find out what I had to do. The HSE has tons of information but it doesn’t help lessen the panic. We have to dig up an area of about 90m2 – and if it was asbestos the digging out programme was about to get incredibly expensive.
That was a tough week. I sent off the sample we had unearthed to Artisan Surveyors, a specialist business found online. The result came back negative.
What a lesson to learn. We do have some asbestos sheets on an outside toilet. We know we have to deal with them in time…but it never crossed my mind that some of the floor would be made of asbestos.
You might have seen me dancing in the streets that night under the influence of sheer relief.