Licence application

Stage 1 - Application

Stage 2 - Assessment

Stage 3 - Decision

Unsuccessful assessment - licence not issued

Q. When do I need a licence to work with asbestos?

A. Regulation 2 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, defines licensable work with asbestos:

Regulation 8 requires an employer to be granted a licence in order to undertake licensable work with asbestos.

This means that an employer must hold a licence granted by HSE before undertaking higher risk work with asbestos as defined above.

You will also need a licence to carry out work which is ancillary to licensable work with asbestos such as putting up a scaffold to provide access for licensable work where it is foreseeable that the scaffolding activity is likely to disturb the asbestos.

If you have no intention of working with asbestos you do not need a licence.

Important: We will only grant a licence to those who plan to do work. Although you may not need a licence to carry out a particular job, you will still need to make sure that you comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 to prevent exposure to asbestos.

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

Q. What is the application process?

A. This falls into 3-stages:

  1. Stage 1 - application: you complete an ASB1 application form , return it to us, and pay the appropriate licence
  2. Stage 2 - assessment: one of our inspectors will formally assess you
  3. Stage 3 - decision: we will grant a licence or explain what more you need to do to get a licence

Stage 1 - Application

Q. How do I apply for a licence?

A. You must first read the guidance notes on the licence assessment process before applying. You can then make an application for a licence by contacting HSE. Please use this for asbestos licence applications only.

The ASB1 is an online Business Form. It should be completed online and submitted electronically.

The form will be sent to you electronically when you request it, using the Contacting HSE link above. The form cannot be partially saved and accessed at a later date. Therefore, before completing the form, you must read the guidance notes and ensure that you have all the necessary information to hand to enable you to complete the form.

Important: Once you receive the ASB1 application form, please make sure that you read and complete the form carefully. The form is a legal document and must be submitted by someone with authority within your company, such as the Managing Director or another Director. If you are an English or Welsh partnership, all of the Partners must be declared on the form, and one of those Partners must submit it. Please state your correct legal name if you are a limited company, a PLC or a limited liability partnership.

Please note: It is a criminal offence to make a false declaration.

Q. How long does this process normally take?

A. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) aim to process your application in 8 weeks. HSE's Asbestos Licensing Unit (ALU) send out reminder letters to renewal applicants 4 months in advance of licence expiry. Renewal applicants should re-apply immediately on receipt of this letter. Failing that, you should re-apply and pay the licence assessment fee no less than 8 weeksprior to licence expiry (remembering the statutory 14-day notification period for any work you wish to undertake). New applicants should apply well in advance and no less than 8 weeks prior to the date from which the licence is to run.

Please note that your application will not be fully processed and a licence assessment will not be arranged and carried out until ALU receive confirmation of full payment of the licence assessment fee (required by The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2015). The 8 week timeframe will commence on confirmation of payment of the licence assessment fee (regardless of the licence expiry date). This is to allow the HSE sufficient time to process your application, licence assessment fee and properly assess your suitability to hold a licence. However, your application will not be delayed unnecessarily and licences may be granted sooner.

Q. What is the fee for the licence assessment process?

A. The current licence assessment fee is £3,365. When we receive your completed ASB1 form, you will receive an HSE invoice for payment of the licence assessment fee. The assessment process will only commence once full payment has been made. Payment can be made either by Bank Automated Clearing System (BACS), bank transfer or cheque. We cannot accept credit card payments. This fee is non-refundable if your application is unsuccessful or if you withdraw your application following assessment.

Important: We also make a charge for the re-assessment, amendment or replacement of a licence.

1 Fee for re-newal licence 2 Fee for conditional refusal reassessment 3 Fee for amendment of condition, or duration of licence 4  Fee for other amendment, or replacement, of a licence
£3439 £788 £788 £85

Q. Why do I have to pay a fee?

A. A fee is payable by the applicant to to HSE on each application for a licence under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. This payment is for the assessment of your fitness to hold a licence to work with asbestos and must be paid in full on receipt of the invoice. HSE has no power to set fees in its own right. HSE is required by HM Treasury to recover the full costs incurred in regulating permissioning regimes such as asbestos licensing. HSE recommends fees to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions based on the full economic costs incurred

Important: The cost of the fee is reviewed each year and can rise as well as fall, depending on the level of our involvement and our expenditure. The fee process is subject to both internal and external audit.

Q. Do I need a separate application form for different types of licence?

A. No. The ASB1 is the general form used for all licence applications and you can use this to apply for a licence to carry out licensable work with asbestos.

Stage 2 - Assessment

Q. What will the inspector assess me on?

A. You will undergo a formal assessment involving.

A formal assessment of your understanding and knowledge of asbestos specific matters, including your experience of working with asbestos. This will include:

Following the assessment, the Inspector will complete an ASB4 form which will record matters discussed.  

Important: You will not get a licence without being able to demonstrate management/supervisory competency, including recent training. Also, employees must have appropriate training, RPE, face-fit testing and medical surveillance (where necessary) before any work with licensable material is carried out.

Please note: If you are at all unsure, you may wish to postpone the assessment until you are confident that you are able to study and understand these requirements.

Stage 3 - Decision

Successful assessment - licence issued

Q. What should I do with my licence when I receive it?

A. Keep it in a safe place.

Important: You should also display a copy of the licence at every site where you are working.

Q My company structure/name has changed, or I have moved to new premises, how can I get my licence details updated?

A. All changes either to a company structure or name/address details should be notified in writing to ALU. A fee is payable for this which varies depending on the exact circumstances. Details of the current fees are noted in the fee table above.

Q. How long does my licence last for?

A. Licences may be granted for any period up to a maximum of three years. Your first licence will (normally) last for one year.

Important: If you have a licence but did not carry out any work during the licence period, we will explore the reasons for this with you. We will normally only issue you with a one-year licence on renewal, subject to successful assessment. (Remember, if you do not intend to do any work with asbestos, then we will not grant you a licence).

Q. Will my licence have any special conditions?

A. Yes. Although your licence may have more, almost all licences have 3 standard conditions on them, summarised as:

  1. you must display your licence or a copy of it, at every work site
  2. you must notify the relevant enforcing authority (HSE or your local authority) at least 14 days in advance that you intend to work with asbestos
  3. you must send a suitable and sufficient plan of work and equipment specification if requested by the enforcing authority

Important: We also have the power to amend, alter or revoke your licence depending on your performance.

Please note: Some conditions on licences issued to 'recruitment agencies' may be slightly different. These agencies are organisations that don't actually do work with asbestos themselves but supply trained asbestos operatives to other licence holders licences.

Q. How do I renew my licence?

A. You will need to complete another ASB1 form and submit it to us. ALU will write to you 4 months before your licence expires to remind you that your existing licence is about to run out, with a link to the electronic ASB1 form. When we receive your completed ASB1 form you will receive an HSE invoice for payment of the licence assessment fee, and the assessment process will start on receipt of payment. Please ensure you complete the ASB1 and submit payment promptly to allow sufficient time for an assessment to be carried out and avoid a gap between the expiry of your current licence and the start of your new licence.

Unsuccessful assessment - licence not issued

Q. If I am unsuccessful, what happens next?

A. We will write to you explaining why we are not giving you a licence.

Please note: There is a charge for reassessments.

Q. Where can I see more details about the licensing process?

A. Please see the Asbestos Licence Assessment, Amendment and Revocation Guide (ALAARG) for more information. The guide provides information on the asbestos licensing regime and sets out the standards required by the applicants.

Updated 2021-07-19