Asbestos! The loaded name of a scary substance. Whenever asbestos is found in buildings or equipment, they must be decontaminated under very controlled conditions. Men in white suits and air masks take over and do battle with the suspect particles. Everything must be cleaned.

To think that asbestos was still used well into the 1980’s for a variety of applications: from brake linings and roofing to fire screens and window putty. In fact, asbestos is actually strong, durable, insulating, non-flammable and inexpensive.

But asbestos is also proven to cause illness and can lead to fatal lung disease. The problem is that asbestos still occurs frequently, especially in older buildings. Particularly wherever there was large-scale manufacturing; so when asbestos was found in the former electricity generating station, no one batted an eyelid. But the amount of asbestos-contaminated soil defied everyone’s expectations: 1600 tons! How Many? 1600 tons; that’s more than 53 heavy truckloads full!

Witte jassen

The white stuff is not only preoccupying us at our new premises. Believe it or not, even in our current cinema, a small amount of asbestos was found in the attic above the offices during an inspection. It was contained and therefore harmless; but still… New regulations are strict and unrelenting, therefore the problem had to be remedied, with major consequences, ditto nuisance: men in white suits, droning compressors, and a partially decommissioned office.

Asbestos. I never thought it would take up so much energy, but with men and might, the boiler room is now back in working order. Fortunately, this huge task came in on schedule and caused no further delays. In late October, our new asbestos-free location will be handed over by the contractor. Then we can really get started.

door Nico Haenen