North East Connected

Sunderland’s Asbestos Audit Looking To Clean Up After Winning North East Fund Backing

A specialist asbestos management firm is aiming to create up to a dozen new jobs this year after securing a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

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 already works with a range of clients right across the UK.

Recent high-profile projects include working on Covid-19 alterations at multiple NHS hospitals and the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor.

After working with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £50,000 investment, the Sunderland-headquartered firm’s management team is now aiming to double the size of the business over the next year and to take its workforce from 18 to 30 as it grows.

Part of the investment will be used to help the business further enhance its presence in and around London, while it is also looking to increase its activity in providing air monitoring and clearance services following asbestos removal work.

Graeme Harrison of Newcastle-based corporate advisors CCBS and Chris Tindle of Galley & Tindle Accountants in Durham advised the Asbestos Audit management team on the investment.

Established in 2018, Asbestos Audit 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.

Ben Pickard, founder and managing director at Asbestos Audit, says: “We have a highly-skilled team working on projects of all sizes right across the UK, but have the ambition and ability to do a great deal more.

“London is already a key market for us, but the scale and number of projects there means there is a huge amount of potential for growth there and having a dedicated team on the ground will help us do just that.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last year on our website and online marketing campaigns, and will also be using some of the investment to build on the progress we’ve made so far.

“We have set some ambitious growth targets for the next few years, but are confident that we will achieve them and will be able to create substantial numbers of skilled jobs along the way.

“The investment package offered by NEL was a good strategic fit with our growth plans and the team helped to make applying for it a very smooth process.”

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Asbestos Audit has made tremendous progress in a lucrative niche market in a very short space of time, and our investment gives them the resources required to accelerate their growth journey.”

Graeme Harrison of CCBS says: “We’re delighted to have helped a proven operator such as Ben Pickard obtain the finance required to grow his business.

“Given Asbestos Audit’s market position, robust business plan and strong product offering, I have every confidence they’ll continue to realise their growth ambitions.”

Chris Tindle of Galley & Tindle Accountants adds: “Whilst the past 12 months have been incredibly challenging for us all, it’s been great to see Asbestos Audit going from strength to strength.

“The growth that Ben Pickard has been able to achieve through these difficult times has been impressive to say the least, and with this growth came the need for funding.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Graeme Harrison of CCBS and Mike Guellard of NEL on this application and would praise them for their professional attitude and desire to get this deal over the line.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £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 £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information on NEL’s investment criteria, visit or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.

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