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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 818
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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Hi I'm in the UK.I am a small independent builder and undertake

Customer Question

Hi I'm in the UK.
I am a small independent builder and undertake renovations, extensions and other small building works.
My question is one of liability.
I undertook a garage conversion not quite 8 years ago. The property was a domestic house that was developed, by me for the client, into a Bed and Breakfast. The garage was the last part of the job and was to be a disabled access accommodation.
Recently the now bed and breakfast owner has had some more building work done. I believe in the process the new contractors have discovered asbestos in the garage ceiling. Because of this she has had to get the false ceiling removed and the asbestos removed. Because of the asbestos work she has had to not rent out the room and would now look to seek compensation from me because I did not identify the asbestos initially.
Is this my responsibility and am I liable for costs incurred by the BnB owner?
As a commercial property owner should she have had an asbestos survey done prior to the property being developed?
Should I seek compensation for working in an environment with asbestos?
Should the building control officer have picked up the asbestos on his/her initial visit?
Does the BnB owner need to have an asbestos policy in place as it is a commercial property?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Nicola,

thanks for getting in touch.

Please please please keep looking for someone to help me out and advise on my best course of action.

All the best

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to assist you with this. Whether it is your responsibility will depend on what work you were contracted to carry out and how obvious the asbestos was. If the work you carried out required you to come into contact with the asbestos it may be arguable that you should have spotted this and informed the people who hired yo so that the necessary safety removal work could be carried out then quickly and relatively cheaply. If in the course of doing the work agreed you would not have necessarily come across the asbestos (I guess this is the case) then you are unlikely to be responsible for any compensation here.
As far as your other questions are concerned:
Asbestos survey necessary? No
Can you seek compensation? Only if you have suffered harm.
Building control officer? Maybe depending how obvious it was. ( If they also didn't spot it that may suggest that it wasn't obvious which would be helpful for you)
Owner asbestos policy? Don't think it is necessary.