Decontamination of Rare Heritage Vehicles Affected by Asbestos Dust

Project Info

Museum of Transport and Technology Auckland (MOTAT)

Auckland, New Zealand


Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) includes more than 100 vintage vehicles spread across a 16-hectare site. Vehicles not on display were stored in an offsite facility, which, like many of New Zealand’s buildings of the period, was clad with asbestos. Over time, asbestos dust had settled on and contaminated 14 of the vehicles. These included some of the museum’s rarest vehicles.

Golder undertook an asbestos management survey (AMS) of the storage facility, which identified asbestos-fibre-containing dust (ACD) from the storage site on 14 of MOTAT’s collection vehicles. As a result, MOTAT and Golder developed a plan to decontaminate the vehicles at the storage site for relocation to a modern, non-asbestos-containing facility.

To assist MOTAT with the asbestos challenge, Golder provided project management advice, static airborne fibre sampling, auditing, post-cleaning inspection, confirmation surface sampling and testing, clearance inspection and certification, and a completion report for MOTAT at the conclusion of the project. Golder worked closely with MOTAT to identify and engage a suitably experienced and competent asbestos removal contractor who could provide the high standard of work required for this sensitive project.

As the licensed asbestos assessor, Golder provided assurance to MOTAT by auditing the establishment and eventual dis-establishment of an in-site vehicle decontamination enclosure and the agreed asbestos removal control plan (ARCP) before any decontamination work commenced. Once decontamination work was underway, Golder oversaw the project to ensure it remained on track and met MOTAT’s expectations.

To verify that controls were adequate, Golder monitored airborne fibres daily outside the enclosure, and routinely collected samples of airborne fibre from vehicle conservators working in the enclosure.

A critical part of the project involved ensuring a number of the MOTAT collection team were certified to remove asbestos during the process, and also in the future in the unlikely event that the issue is encountered again.

Following the decontamination process, Golder’s licensed asbestos assessor inspected each vehicle and collected surface samples until successful decontamination was achieved. Clearance certificates applicable to the vehicle were then issued.

Golder’s expertise helped MOTAT achieve successful decontamination of the sensitive and rare vehicles to a high standard within agreed budgets and timelines. The asbestos removal contractor (McMahon Services Limited) was subsequently recognised by the New Zealand Demolition and Asbestos Association in the ‘Asbestos or Demolition Best Practice Project under $1 million’ category.

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