Asbestos Audit sets up in-house laboratory with second Small Loan Fund investment

A specialist County Durham-based asbestos management firm is building up its in-house expertise after bringing in a second North East Fund investment through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.

Asbestos Audit acts as both a main and sub-contractor on asbestos-related projects of every size, from processing single asbestos samples to managing asbestos for full industrial estates, and works on environmental projects with a range of clients right across the UK.

The Peterlee-headquartered firm secured a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund in 2021, which it used to help introduce a number of innovative new services and bring in the extra staff required to deliver them.

And now, it has completed a further Small Loan Fund investment through

NEL, which is enabling it to set up and gain the required accreditations for its own testing laboratory within its headquarters that will be staffed by a team of five specialist technicians.

As well as allowing for more revenue to stay within the business, the new laboratory will also enable material samples to be tested more quickly while ensuring that quality standards are always maintained.

Asbestos Audit has more than doubled its workforce from 18 to 42 people in the last two years, and is expecting to create a further 18 new jobs over the next twelve months, as well as to increase its annual turnover by around £2m to £5.5m in the same period.

Established in 2018, it also offers a wide range of environmental services including site investigation, land remediation and geo-technical assessments, and also works with clients on planning permission, contamination and remediation projects.

It currently undertakes around 20,000 jobs every year, and as well as continuing to expand its presence across the UK, it is also beginning to look at opportunities in global markets.

Ben Pickard, founder and managing director at Asbestos Audit, says: “Setting up our own lab means that samples that previously needed to be sent away for analysis can be processed more quickly, which will help us work even more efficiently and to the defined standards that we promise our clients.

“This will enable us to provide a more seamless service, add to the expertise that we have on our team and retain revenues within the business that would otherwise have gone elsewhere.

“The business needs that we’re successfully servicing across the UK are equally present in oversea markets and we’re now looking at the best way to capitalise on these opportunities as part of our future expansion.

“We’re confident that the pace of turnover growth and job creation that we’ve delivered over the last couple of years will be maintained, and that there’s a great deal more for the business to achieve from here.

“We’ve had an excellent relationship with NEL over the last couple of years and the team really understands the commercial imperatives that are driving both our growth plans and investment needs.”

Susan Snowdon, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Asbestos Audit’s impressive performance since our first investment is clear evidence of the quality of service they provide and the impact that growth capital can have on a company’s commercial performance.”

Part of the £153m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £10m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of up to £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £153m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

NEL Fund Managers is also responsible for managing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.