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Whisky Bonded Warehouse Licensed Asbestos Removal
Whisky Bonded Warehouse Licensed Asbestos Removal

Whisky Bonded Warehouse
Licensed Asbestos Removal

Whisky Bonded Warehouse Roofing Client

Our client is a grain whisky producer based in Scotland. They distil and mature grain whisky used in the production of world-renowned whiskies. Our combined turnkey divisions have completed roof replacements of several warehouses on site. Starfish Environmental & Asbestos Services (SEAS) were part of these projects to remove the existing Asbestos insulation boards (AIB) from the site. AIB is a Group One carcinogen, as recognised by the World Health Organisation, known to cause cancer.

The AIB was installed historically on site, and its condition was in the early stages of degradation. The AIB, outlawed in 1985 in the U.K., presented a severe risk of contaminating the valuable stock below. As part of the client’s ongoing asbestos management planning, they used a priority assessment algorithm for identifying asbestos-containing materials for abatement works. The client invited SEAS to tender with other contractors, and we successfully won the contract. SEAS managed every aspect of the AIB removal and disposal from a potentially hazardous environment. Asbestos-related diseases cause around 5000 deaths per year in the U.K. Work with asbestos needs a high degree of regulatory control. The purpose of HSE licensing is to achieve this.

To accomplish an asbestos licence, contractors must demonstrate the necessary skills, competency, expertise, knowledge, and experience of working with asbestos and excellent health and safety management systems.

AIB Removal - Scope of Works

The project is a bonded warehouse used to store and mature grain whisky with a built-in racking system for storing the whisky barrels. “The storage of high volumes of barrels of maturing scotch whisky presents serious explosion risks,” says Jamie Purdon of SEAS. Jamie continued, “Some whisky in every barrel evaporates through the oak during the ageing process–known as the ‘Angels’ Share’. The maturation process and ageing period depend on the individual whisky, and the barrels can be stored for over 20 years, each representing a significant investment for the distiller. Due to the volume of high strength spirit, this site is classed as a top tier COMAH and ATEX Zone 2 hazardous areas.”

Aged whisky from reputed distilleries commands high prices and retains value even during recessions and inflationary periods. In fact, over the last decade, whisky has proved to be a better investment than cars, first-growth Bordeaux or collectable watches. Starfish Access Services Ltd constructed a working platform over the whisky barrel racking system to protect the valuable stock below and to provide a working platform to carry out the licensed asbestos removal works.

  • SEAS completed the removal of Asbestos Insulating Boards (AIB)
  • Showcasing their expertise as a licensed asbestos removal contractor
  • Project involved a bonded warehouse storing grain whisky in an ATEX-rated Zone
  • SEAS managed all aspects of AIB removal and disposal, ensuring compliance
  • The work was conducted in a fully operational warehouse
  • A fully sealed licensed enclosure with extraction units for a safe working area
  • The removal of AIB made the work area significantly safer for site workers
  • Showcases SEAS’s safety, professionalism, and excellence in asbestos removal

20 weeks



Project Value


Potentially Explosive Working Zone

  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-
  • AIB gal-

Setup and Removal of AIB

Erecting the scaffold working platform over an intricate racking system for the whisky barrel casks was challenging for Starfish Access Services Ltd. The scaffold platform was designed to accommodate working access, emergency egress, and hoisted mechanisms for lifting and lowering plant & equipment, not to mention the removal of hazardous asbestos waste. The fully boarded work platform is built above the rack & tier cask storage, including erecting lightweight working platforms built to the underside of the roof, providing a safe working platform for the licensed asbestos removal works.

Once the scaffolding erection was complete, SEAS undertook enclosure construction to provide critical control in preventing the spread of dust associated with the removal works. The enclosure was constructed from heavy-duty impact protection correx, 1000-gauge polythene, heavy-duty PCL tape, spray glue and staples fixed to a timber frame for enclosure support. The roof structure was pre-cleaned and sheeted out of the removal area.

We installed an airlock system to allow safe decontamination procedures for the removal team and an oversized block to accommodate the large parcels associated with intact removal. SEAS also installed three intrinsically safe extraction units to create negative pressure within the removal areas and to control air management within the enclosure. We also installed a series of vision panels to allow observation and supervision from outside the removal area.

Successful AIB Removal and Project Outcome

The client-appointed analytical contractor provided intensive air monitoring throughout and upon project completion to ensure the safety of the site team and occupants. Removing the category one carcinogen from the site has significantly impacted the site’s asbestos register and moved another step towards an asbestos-free site. More immediately, it facilitated the installation of various new modern services and ATEX management systems into the Bonded Warehouse that previously couldn’t be installed due to the condition and location of the AIB.

As the Asbestos Director at Starfish Environmental & Asbestos Services (SEAS), I am immensely proud to reflect on the recently completed project for one of Scotland’s most esteemed grain whisky producers. Our mission was to ensure the safe removal and disposal of Asbestos Insulating Boards (AIB) from their operational Warehouse. This task demanded the utmost precision and care given the ATEX-rated Zone environment and the presence of valuable whisky barrels.

Our team’s expertise in handling asbestos within such sensitive and hazardous conditions showcases SEAS’s commitment to excellence and adherence to the highest safety standards. From erecting scaffolding to installing a fully sealed and controlled work enclosure, every step was meticulously planned and executed.

This project made the work area safer for site workers by removing a significant health hazard and contributed to the distillery’s ongoing efforts towards becoming an asbestos-free facility. This project underscores our role as a leading licensed asbestos removal contractor. It’s a testament to our team’s dedication and skill, reaffirming SEAS’s position as a trusted partner in managing asbestos competently and professionally.

Jamie Purdon, Asbestos Director, SEAS.