Specialist sub-contractors were brought in to assist with the demolition of historic Dalton House because of the presence of asbestos.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board manager Brandon Kay said the board knew their property contained asbestos early on. Dalton House is part of Nelson Hospital, and was built on Franklyn St in 1915.
The two-storey building housed nurses until the 1960s, after which it was used for a variety of purposes. Staff were moved out of the unreinforced masonry building after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the board decided it was not possible to strengthen it to the required standards.
The Historic Places Trust opposed the demolition of the category two historic building last year, but a Nelson City Council committee gave consent.
Mr Kay said the board brought in a consultant to inspect Dalton House for asbestos and advise on its removal, saying this was a priority during the demolition.
Richmond building company Anchor Construction was engaged to carry out the demolition and brought in a sub-contractor who specialised in asbestos removal to deal with the hazardous material as it became accessible.
Mr Kay confirmed that all work on the site complied with the Health and Safety in Employment Act and OSH regulations around asbestos.
Ministry of Health resources say asbestos is a health risk when inhaled as a fine dust. Larger ﬁbres tend to be cleared by protective mechanisms in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, but fine asbestos ﬁbres can become deposited in the lungs, or penetrate further into the body.
Asbestos can cause asbestosis, or scarring of lung tissue; malignant tumours in the intestines or lungs; thickening of the membranes around the lungs and lung cancer.
- © Fairfax NZ News