An asbestos expert says an Auckland school is "crazy" to remove 700 tonnes of contaminated soil while the children are around.
Mike Mechaelis of Hill Laboratories is currently working with government agencies to draft up guidelines in dealing with asbestos, and says there doesn't appear to be any reason the excavation has to take place during Hobsonville Primary School hours.
Another industry expert, who didn't want to be named, also questions why the removal of the contaminated 700 tonnes of soil would take a minimum of three weeks, and says it could be done within several days to a week.
Since discovering the asbestos' presence in the soil - disrupted during construction of a new drop-off zone - many parents have been left flummoxed as to why the school was rushing through with the build.
Many have asked for the soil to be taken away while the kids aren't there - during the school holidays or even at the weekend.
The parents of at least 25 children are so concerned about the removal they are refusing to allow them to go to school tomorrow.
However, school board chair Lance Norman says leaving it till the holidays isn't an option.
They're simply following the Ministry of Education's lead as it was their project, and the ones who were gathering all the appropriate information to help keep the kids safe.
Norman said today the removal is still set to take place tomorrow, however to further minimise risk it is removing pupils from the three classrooms closest to the construction zone and also closing the windows in the school hall - which is adjacent to the site.
Norman said they will also close the hall if the wind picks up and the soil will be kept damp during removal.
But Mechaelis said the parents have a right to be concerned.
"Fair enough for the parents. There is absolutely risk for the kids, for them to excavate during school hours. Absolutely there is.
"The only way we currently have to prove that it's safe is to do air monitoring while the excavating is taking place. However, we won't know until the next day that it was okay."
Mechaelis said non-friable asbestos simply became friable once it was disturbed.
"There is the risk of material becoming airborne. It's just a stupid risk to take. Why would you do it? There's friable and non-friable but there's only a matter of time before non-friable becomes friable . . . it's crazy to dig it up to begin with."
He said the safest thing would be to build the carpark on top of the soil.
Non-friable asbestos can still became airborne - or non-friable - when it is damaged, or broken, he said.
Mechaelis, who is meeting with MBIE, Worksafe and Ministry for Environment staff on Tuesday to discuss new proposed guidelines, said he expected the company involved had slick decontamination procedures to ensure zero cross-contamination or spill.
An expert in the asbestos removal field, who did not want to be named, said if Worksafe had signed off on the project then it must be okay.
However, he couldn't understand that as the asbestos was non-friable, why the project couldn't be carried out over successive weekends, which his company had done in the past.
He also wondered why it would take a minimum three weeks to remove the soil - despite them only being able to work between 9am and 1pm - as they could simply deploy more trucks to the scene.
Mechaelis believed a typical average daily tonnage for removing asbestos soil was about 100 tonnes per day.
Sebastian Jonsson of Green Way Ltd - the company tasked with removing the soil from the site - wasn't taking calls on Sunday. A company representative said Jonsson had "lost his phone for the weekend" and wouldn't make any further comment other than what had already been released by the Ministry of Education.
ATL Group managing director Brett Pietersen said he couldn't comment about the project without the Ministry's approval, but said his company would have collected the soil samples before sending them off to an approved scientific laboratory for testing.