Fears have been raised over asbestos in an Aberdeen sheltered housing complex.
Residents and staff at Bridge of Dee Court on Holburn Street have expressed concern after chrysotile asbestos was found in the building.
A letter was sent to residents by Emma Davis, development manager at Bridge of Dee Court, yesterday, making them aware of the situation.
A leak from drains in the building on June 29 caused water to come through the laundry room ceiling on the ground floor, which has tested positive for asbestos.
It has not yet been repaired, although the building owners have described the material as “low risk”.
Emma said her office also had asbestos present last year, which was checked after WiFi installation works were carried out.
Her letter said: “At 15.15hrs on Friday September 6 2019, I was notified via e-mail from Hanover’s compliance officer that the test results had come through and chrysotile asbestos was present in the laundry ceiling.
“The e-mail also asked me to restrict access to the area. I felt physically sick.
“When I went down to lock the laundry room door I found that it doesn’t have a lock so I took it upon myself to call an emergency joiner to fit a padlock.
“I remained on-site until 16.50hrs, stopping residents from entering the laundry room until the padlock had been fitted.
“Due to the seriousness of these failings by Hanover (Scotland) Association Ltd, I have come to the decision to become an official whistle-blower and expose what has been going on.
“I have not taken this course of action lightly but feel very strongly that I have no other option and I have a duty to expose this.”
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The whole ground floor was refurbished in December 2015 following a major flood.
It was believed by Hanover’s Health and Safety Office that, as part of the renovations, all asbestos had been removed from the area.
Resident Annette Duncan, who has lived at Bridge of Dee Court for the past two-and-a-half years, said she has recently been having breathing problems.
The 66-year-old, who has asthma, said she had even been admitted to hospital after feeling breathless.
She added: “This is not the first time it’s happened, to my knowledge, it’s happened twice before. It’s an older building, so there’s asbestos.
“I had to go to hospital about 11pm on a Saturday night as I was struggling for breath.
“I got an X-ray, but they couldn’t see anything obvious. I was called back for another X-ray and I’m waiting for the results.
“Over the last few weeks I have been very breathless and using my inhalers far more than I normally do. I spent about three hours in the laundry room last Wednesday doing my washing. Because I was breathless I decided to stay there rather than walking back and forth.”
A spokesman for Hanover Scotland said: “The safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us and I would like to reassure all those at Bridge of Dee that at no point has their health or safety been put at risk.
“Our Bridge of Dee site has a fully compliant entry on our Asbestos Register and we rigorously follow all regulations and advice on these materials, including guidance that asbestos is not be removed unless it has been damaged.”
He said that samples of the ceiling were sent away to be tested at the end of last week.
He added: “This test reported on September 6 that the damaged section of ceiling contained chrysotile asbestos and the risk level was considered ‘Very low potential to release fibres’ and ‘Low risk – not likely to cause health risk in short term if removed intact’.
“A plan of work was agreed shortly afterwards and a full repair of the damaged corner will be carried out and the asbestos safely removed this Wednesday.”