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Shed 26 demolition halt is contractor's second SafeWork ban in under a month

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EXCLUSIVE | SafeWork SA temporarily banned a local contractor from demolishing Port Adelaide’s Shed 26, less than a month after issuing a prohibition notice on the same company’s work on a Waymouth Street site, InDaily can reveal.

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SafeWork SA says it issued statutory notices on the Old Red Brick Co, which is responsible for demolishing the historic dockyards sawtooth shed, last week and temporarily prohibited demolition works there.

The industry watchdog confirmed it had stopped demolition until all asbestos is removed.

SafeWork SA inspectors attended the site early last week, after the CFMEU claimed that workers were likely being exposed to asbestos by sweeping the floor and removing asbestos dust-covered class panes from the ceiling – and that members of the public may have also come into contact with the deadly fibres.

The union produced video of workers sweeping the floor of the historic docklands boat shed without personal protective equipment and photographs of what appeared to be asbestos littered on the floor and on various surfaces.

It also commissioned the test of a sample of material it said was taken from the site, which tested positive to brown and white asbestos.

Asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis if inhaled.

The developer, Cedar Woods, says it invited the SafeWork SA inspection.

According to a SafeWork SA spokesperson, when its inspectors arrived at the site on Tuesday, “initial enquiries suggested” that the area being worked had tested negative for asbestos.

But the spokesperson told InDaily later in the week that SafeWork SA Inspectors had identified asbestos roof sheeting on the site as “the source of previously discovered asbestos debris” and banned works until all asbestos is removed.

“Where non-compliance was identified, inspectors issued statutory notices,” the spokesperson said.

“… inspectors identified Deep 6 asbestos roof sheeting on the site which was the source of previously discovered asbestos debris.

“SafeWork SA has prohibited commencement of all work on site until all asbestos debris has been removed.”

A spokesperson for Cedar Woods told InDaily today that “the inspection had been pre-arranged with Safework SA by Old Red Brick Company to occur prior to major demolition work commencing”.

“Following the inspection, Safework SA advised that work could proceed as planned and work continued onsite the following morning (May 9).

“At no stage has Safework SA stopped work onsite.”

The agency spokesperson’s statement that it had prohibited “all work on site until all asbestos has been removed” was sent on the morning of Thursday, May 9.

InDaily has saught clarification from Cedar Woods.

Shed 26. Photo: Mark Zed / supplied

SafeWork also halted Waymouth St building demolition

Meanwhile, InDaily can reveal that SafeWork SA also issued a temporary prohibition notice on Old Red Brick Co’s demolition of a building at 124-132 Waymouth Street.

The notice was issued less than three weeks ago.

“The reason for the notice was that part of the floor slab hit the perimeter scaffold, which pushed the scaffold against the pre-cast panels associated with the neighbouring construction site,” a SafeWork SA spokesperson told InDaily.

In response, Cedar Woods said in a statement that Old Red Brick Co were appointed “based on their experience as a licensed asbestos removalist, detailed approach to the Shed 26 works and having undertaken other significant projects for both Cedar Woods and the State Government”.

The demolition, which reportedly began next month, is to make way for a $90 million student accommodation tower.

A CFMEU audit of the Shed 26 site found dozens of alleged breaches of alleged health and safety law breaches at the site.

The CFMEU has been involved in protests against the demolition of Shed 26, which heritage advocates argue constitutes the destruction of irreplaceable Port Adelaide history.

The Save Shed 26 campaign has argued the sawtooth building should be adaptively reused as part of Cedar Woods’ Fletcher’s Slip housing development, which involves 500 architecturally-designed houses, waterfront promenade parks, refurbishment an original slipway and the refurbishment of existing State Heritage-listed buildings.

UPDATE: This afternoon a spokesperson for SafeWork SA added that:

“Ahead of SafeWork SA’s initial (Shed 26) site visit, the demolition company engaged an independent licensed asbestos assessor to take a number of swab tests from the dust on site.

“The results of these tests were negative for asbestos fibres and SafeWork SA received these results.

“No licensed asbestos removal had commenced when SafeWork SA attended the site.”

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