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Licensed vs. Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal

What is the difference between Licensed and Non-Licensed?

Found in buildings across the country, asbestos has many useful building properties including its resistance to fire and its affordability. However, it can also be very damaging to the health of workers.

It is only recently that we have become fully aware of the health problems caused by exposure to asbestos, and measures have now been put in place to protect workers tasked with its removal. One method of controlling risk is labelling asbestos removal as either licensable or non-licensed, so that the appropriate measures and actions can be applied. This will affect both the preventative methods that are taken and the qualifications that are required to remove it.


Non-Licensed Asbestos Removal still requires training; however, a license isn’t necessary due to lower associated risks.


Licensable Asbestos Removal must be performed by a HSE licensed contractor, and refers to activities which involve “significant hazard, risk or public concern.” Licenses can be granted ONLY by the HSE, who state that all work involving this type of activity must be brought to the attention of the “appropriate enforcing authority.”

Failure to recognise and adhere to licensing regulations can result in severe consequences for your business.
Asbestos removal that falls into this category requires a statutory minimum 14 day Notification period (also known as an ASB5) that prevents any contractor carrying out such work without informing the HSE and working to the minimum regulatory requirements.


There is a Waiver option in place which bypasses this 14 day Notification period although this is purely for unforeseen emergency works which have to fall into a strict category to satisfy the HSE and are rarely granted.

What Type Of Asbestos Removal Is Appropriate For Your Project?

Deciding which type of asbestos removal is best for your requirements will involve a thorough risk assessment. This should always be performed before any asbestos-related work is started, and it should contain key information such as the asbestos type and the recommended level of personal protective equipment (PPE).

When deciding which type of removal your project will require, you must first consider a range of factors. These include:

  • Friability– the friability of asbestos indicates how easily it will break down into smaller pieces. The more friable the asbestos is, the more likely it is to be inhaled and to cause harm to people nearby. For example, some asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) such as sprayed coatings are often very friable and can have a concentration of up to 85%. Loose powders, as well as insulation, can also be easily disturbed and inhaled by workers.

  • ACM Type- many types of asbestos-containing materials, including cement sheets and floor tiles, will be non-licensed when they’re kept in good condition. However, some types may become more friable when they’re worked on and require the person to inform the appropriate regulatory body. This is known as notifiable non-licensed removal (NNLW).

  • Exposure– the regularity and intensity of the worker’s exposure to asbestos is key to its classification. For example, if the employee must spend longer than one hour each week working with more friable asbestos containing materials, a licensed contractor may be required.

Licensed Asbestos Removal Chart
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