Licensable work with asbestos


The employer of anyone whose work might involve asbestos is responsible for deciding if the work requires a licensed contractor.

This page explains what licensable work is. We have more guidance to help employers when deciding if the work must be carried out by a licensed contractor.

The page also provides advice for licensed contractors on:

  • when they will need a licence and how to apply for one
  • how to notify the right enforcing authority of any licensable work

Work with asbestos that needs a licensed contractor

Most higher-risk work with asbestos must only be done by a licensed contractor.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations define licensable work as follows:

  • where the exposure of workers to asbestos is not sporadic and of low intensity
  • the risk assessment cannot clearly demonstrate that the control limit will not be exceeded
  • work on asbestos coating
  • work on asbestos insulating board or asbestos insulation for which the risk assessment demonstrates it is not short duration work, for example:
    • it will take no more than 2 hours in any 7-day period, and no person works for more than 1 hour in that 2-hour period

Examples of types of licensable work are provided below. However, any decision on whether a particular work activity is licensable or not must be based on the risk.

Examples of licensable work

Licensable work includes:

  • removing sprayed coatings (limpet asbestos)
  • removal or other work which may disturb pipe lagging
  • any work involving loose fill insulation
  • work on asbestos millboard
  • cleaning up significant quantities of loose/fine debris containing ACM dust (where the work is not sporadic and of low intensity, the control limit will be exceeded or it is not short duration work)
  • work on AIB, where the risk assessment indicates that it will not be of short duration

Find a licensed asbestos contractor

Information for licensed contractors

If the activity is licensable, you will require a licence if you are working with asbestos as an 'asbestos contractor' on someone else's premises, or within your own premises using your own employees.

A licence may include conditions requiring the licence holder to achieve specific objectives or restrict the licence holder to specific work, for example:

  • for an ancillary task such as scaffolding where the work is licensable
  • maintaining air extraction equipment where the work is licensable
  • supervisory work with asbestos where the work is licensable

All licensable work must be notified to the appropriate enforcing authority using the ASB5 form at least 14 days before the work starts.

Enforcing authority to notify based on the type of premises/activity
Type of premises/activity Enforcing authority
Shops, offices, separate catering services, launderettes, sport, entertainment and recreational activities, exhibitions, church or religious meetings, hotels, camping and caravan sites, wholesale and retail storage LA (Local Authority)
Factories and factory offices, civil engineering, construction and demolition sites, hospitals, research and development establishments, local government services and educational establishments, fairgrounds, radio, television and film broadcasting, sea going ships, docks, transport undertakings, domestic premises, quarries, farms (and associated activities), horticultural premises and forestries, and offshore installations HSE (Health & Safety Executive)
Licensed nuclear sites Office of the Nuclear Regulator
Railways, railway lines, signal boxes ORR (Office of Rail and Road)

Please note: It is an offence to carry out licensable work with asbestos without a licence and you could be prosecuted.

If you wish to apply for a licence, or renew an existing licence, and believe you have the required competencies to work with asbestos details on applying can be found on the application pages.

Important: We will only grant a licence to those who plan to do licensable work.

Non-licensable work

As with licensable work, any work that is non-licensed must still comply with the general requirements in the Control of Asbestos Regulations to prevent exposure to asbestos.

Information on notifiable non-licensed work

Information on non-licensed work

Is this page useful?

Updated 2024-05-22