Asbestos removal and unsafe roof repairs approved in £1.2m plan for Mansfield school

Intake Farm Primary and Nursery School in Mansfield
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A Mansfield school has been found to have a potentially “catastrophic” unsafe roof and significant amounts of asbestos.

It is already due to be repaired under £1.2m plans from Nottinghamshire County Council.

The authority is preparing for work at Intake Farm Primary, on Armstrong Road, after its planning application was approved following inspections of the building’s faults.

The work is part of the Conservative-led authority’s £9.2m package to improve 20 schools across the county deemed in need of urgent repairs.

At the start of July, the council outlined the wider project to ensure schools are “up to standard” for pupils.

Now Mansfield District Council has granted consent so the vital improvements can take place.

The county council said last month these works would involve strengthening and replacing the school’s roof and replacing suspended ceilings.

Lights would also be upgraded to new LED bulbs, wall tiles would be replaced and asbestos is to be removed from several parts of the school.

Papers lodged as part of the planning application confirmed numerous different types of high-scoring asbestos-containing materials were found during an assessment of the school.

Experts have recommended this is all either removed or inspected, with all of the asbestos “easily” accessible for contractors.

Materials include asbestos textiles, paper and insulating boards found in various parts of the school including the entrance lobby, toilets, the dining room, the staff room, the office, the library and several classrooms.

Intake Farm Primary and Nursery School in Mansfield

The existing plasterboard ceilings have also been found in a “poor condition” due to the age of the building and need to be replaced.

And parts of the school’s roof have previously been condemned by a structural engineer, with water damage found which needs reviewing.

The papers were approved last week by district council planners after being submitted by the county council’s contractor Arc Partnership.

Arc said: “The scope of works includes reinforcing roof structural members, the removal and replacement of existing ceiling panels [and] roof lining, and the replacement and repair of external wall vertical clay tiles.

“The works required are because of unsafe roof structure (previously condemned by the structural engineer in classrooms five and 24), the presence of asbestos-containing materials, aged and unsuitable roof lining, and general wear and tear to the building elements.”

It added: “Investigative works revealed existing ceiling boards were supported by random timber hangers nailed to the roof joists.

“In locations inspected, it was noted the fixing comprised of one nail holding the ceiling support hanger onto the roof joist.

“This was deemed to be extremely dangerous, especially with the water intrusion into the roof space that can corrode the single nail and lead to a catastrophic collapse of the whole ceiling system.”

The contractor added vertical clay tiles placed in a fish-scale arrangement across the outside of the building will be repaired and replaced.

These have “suffered damage due to a mixture of ball activity played into the walls and general wear and tear”, Arc added.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s County Hall

A council spokeswoman confirmed affected classrooms have been cordoned off since last autumn with “absolutely no staff or pupils in them”.

Temporary accommodation has also been used since the issues first came to light, the council added.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on the works earlier this month, Cllr Keith Girling (Con), the county council’s cabinet member for asset management, said the wider project is essential.

He added: “It’s about making sure the schools are up to the standard we want them to be.

“We’ve looked at them based on urgency and what needs to be sorted out.”

When approving the works, a spokesperson for Mansfield Council’s planning department added in a report: “The proposal … is necessary due to the failure of the current roofing construction.”

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