Conducting a Lead Survey in an old school building

Lead(Pb) content in the building

Our latest project was a two-storey historic building, built in 1875 with stone walls, concrete, timber and tiled floors, lath plaster ceilings and a pitched slate tiled roof. The building consists of approximately 55 rooms with a small basement to part of building. Throughout the Lead (Pb) survey our main aim was to locate and identify any Lead (Pb) containing materials. Old buildings contain many materials which we now consider toxic or hazardous to health. These materials were either used directly in the construction of the buildings or were introduced later during its lifetime. 

Lead survey in a school

Sampling process for a Lead(Pb) survey

When our surveyor arrived on site his first job was to conduct a visual inspection of all accessible areas. Any areas of concern were then inspected further and physical samples were taken using a variety of tools such as; a chisel, sharp knife and screwdrivers. These samples were then sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Lead survey in a school

Materials containing Lead(Pb) and recommendations

Our surveyor identified Lead(Pb) in every room in the building, mainly in the form of paint. The white paint on approximately 149 of the window frames and 93 radiators in the building contained a significant amount of Lead. This paint was found to be in a good condition, however there was minor damage. White lead based paint was also detected on the steel joists and railings on the staircases, ceilings and pillars, the paint in these areas were in a poor condition with significant damage and flaking. Red, white, grey and black lead based paints were detected on the surfaces of heating pipes. This paint was in a good condition but had minor damage to the surface. White, blue and grey lead based paint was located on 70 of the doors throughout the building. The paint on the doors were in good condition but had minor damage to them. On the outside of the building green lead based paint was located on the cast iron railings and pillars surrounding the building. This paint was in a poor condition with significant damage and flaking. White lead based paint had also been used on the downpipes, this too was in a poor condition with significant damage and flaking.

Lead survey in an old school

Due to these results our surveyor strongly recommended that all the lead based paint detected was removed in a safe way with the correct personal protective equipment. It was important that this paint was removed rather than repaired as any work including sanding, stripping and hot cutting would cause significant exposure to operatives.

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