Are you looking to commission an asbestos removal project? Are you not sure if your project would be classed as licensable or non-licensable work? This article explains the meaning of the two terms.

Licensed asbestos removal

Most higher risk work with asbestos falls into this category. Such works must be completed by a licensed asbestos contractor. Licensable work with asbestos is work:

  • Where asbestos exposure is not sporadic or of a low intensity.
  • Where the risk assessments cannot show that asbestos fibres in the air will be below the control limit. This limit is 0.1 asbestos fibres per cubic centimetre of air (averaged over a 4 hour period).
  • Where asbestos coatings are being removed.
  • Where asbestos insulation is being removed.
  • Where asbestos insulation board is being removed and the risk assessment indicates that it will not be of short duration.

Licensed asbestos removal projects need to be notified to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This process is subject to a 14 day notification period.

Non-licensed asbestos removal

The risks associated with non-licensed asbestos removal are lower. For this reason contractors do not need a licence to complete such projects. Common non-licensed works include the removal of:

  • Asbestos cement.
  • Vinyl floor tiles.
  • Textured decorative coatings.
  • Encapsulation of asbestos containing materials that are in good condition.

Notifiable non-licensed asbestos removal

Certain projects can be non-licensable but still require notification. In such cases suitable control measures need to be implemented. The local council will also need to be informed. Examples of two situations that could fall into this category are:

  • If the removal area is large.
  • If your asbestos cement is in poor condition.

For both licensable and non-licensable work, you still need to make sure you comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This will prevent exposure to asbestos.

Your responsibilities

Failure to adhere to licensing regulations and appointing an inappropriate contractor can lead to severe repercussions. The HSE, have in the past, imprisoned company directors for failing to appoint a licensed company for a removal project.

Deciding which type of asbestos removal project best meets your needs, will involve a thorough risk assessment.

Full guidance on this subject can be found at the HSE website. Scientific Services can also provide further advice and a full project management service.

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