Revised asbestos directive proposals ‘unrealistic’, says FIEC

26 April 2023

The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has renewed its warning that proposals within the European Parliament’s revised asbestos directive are unrealistic and will be costly for construction companies and their clients.

FIEC issued the statement with the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee expected to adopt a report on the revision of the directive today (26 April).

Asbestos removal (Adobe stock) FIEC believes the proposed revisions to the asbestos directive would lead to additional costs for construction companies. (Photo: Image’in -

At the centre of the debate is the expected lowering of the occupational exposure limit value (OEL) by 100 times, or 0.001 fibres/cu cm, within four years of the revised directive coming into force.

However, FIEC believes that according to some estimates at a national level, lowering the OEL by 10 times over a period of several years has trebled or even quadrupled the cost of asbestos removal.

“These additional costs include the adaptation to new and longer procedures, upgraded protective individual, collective and environmental equipment, heavier measurement procedures and waste management,” said the federation.

“By contrast, these costs do not take into account the additional costs implied for laboratories to buy new machines and upskill their staff.

“Amongst other worrying aspects, it is expected that the concept of ‘sporadic and low intensity exposure’ will be deleted from the directive.

“This will most probably lead to a change in the market structure, pushing out of the market most construction companies which deal with asbestos from time to time only, to the benefit of specialised companies.

“The protection of health and safety of the workers has always been on top of FIEC’s agenda and will remain a priority. However, FIEC is extremely worried that the European Parliament’s proposals will not be at all realistic in terms of implementation by professionals, with the risk that too costly and rigid rules will be a deterrent for companies and their clients to work within the legal framework and for homeowners in general to undertake expensive renovation works.

“A more realistic approach would be sticking to the European Commission’s proposal for an OEL lowered to 0.01 fibres/cu cm, coupled with a transition period of at least five years.”

FIEC represents 32 national member federations in 27 countries, as well as construction enterprises of all sizes and global players carrying out all forms of building and civil engineering activities.

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