Is it Licensed, NNLW or NLW?

First you need to decide whether the works are classified as licensed, notifiable non-licensed works (NNLW) or non-licensed works (NLW). To put it simply, work on high risk or friable asbestos containing materials are likely to need a licensed asbestos removal contractor (LARC).

Work on the lower risk or non-friable asbestos containing materials will not necessarily require an LARC. If the material is in good condition and will not be degraded by the planned works then it is likely to be classed as NLW. If the material is low risk but in poor condition or likely to be significantly damaged during removal it will most likely be classed as NNLW.

In most cases the asbestos survey report will state whether the recommended remedial works require a licensed contractor. The survey provider should also be able to assist you in compiling a suitable specification and may even have an approved list of contractors that they can approach on your behalf. If you have no experience of the asbestos removal this may be your best option.


Any company removing or working on asbestos must have appropriate controls in place as well as supplying staff with correct information, instruction and training. A company specialising in NLW and NNLW will need to be able to demonstrate that they meet the above requirements but won’t necessarily be audited to ensure compliance. They are also unlikely to have the same level of training and resources as a licensed asbestos removal company although this is not always the case.

Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractor(LARC)

A licensed asbestos removal company is one that has been assessed by HSE as being competent to work with the more friable, higher risk asbestos materials. As part of the assessment the HSE will look at:

  • Health and safety management including
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Training and competence
    • Worker involvement
  • Formal assessment of understanding and knowledge of specific asbestos matters
    • Training
    • Medical certification
    • RPE including face fit testing
    • Hardware including maintenance records and suitability

As well as selecting the right contractor it is also important ensure that the specifications of the removal are well documented and fully understood by all parties. Asbestos removal work conducted to a poor specification can cause more problems in the long term.

Certifying asbestos removal has been completed to the necessary standard

Where licensed asbestos removal work has taken place, an independent Analyst will need to be employed to conduct visual inspection and air testing to check the work has been completed to the necessary standard. If this testing proves to be satisfactory the Analyst will issue a certificate of re-occupation which must be retained for future reference.

If not instructed otherwise, the LARC will appoint their own preferred analyst. It is preferable if you can appoint your own Analyst as this ensures independence. Vintec can undertake the analytical work on your behalf or alternatively you can find a list of accredited Analytical firms on the UKAS website by clicking  UKAS – Asbestos testing organisations

Below is a list of examples of works that fall into each of three categories mentioned above.

Examples of work requiring a licensed contractor

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

Any of the above will require formal 14-day notification to the HSE. This will be arranged by the LARC.

A full list of LARCs is available on the HSE website by clicking HSE – Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractors

Examples of Notifiable Non-Licensed Works (NNLW)

  • work on or removal of asbestos cement products (eg roof sheeting) where the material will be substantially damaged or broken up (eg as a result of fire or flood damage)
  • asbestos cement products (eg roof sheeting) where the material will be substantially broken up
  • removal of asbestos paper and cardboard products
  • large-scale removal of textured decorative coatings using steaming or gelling methods

All the above will need to be notified to the relevant enforcing authority. Unlike notification of licensed works there is no requirement to give 14-days’ notice.

Examples of Non-Licensed Works (NLW)

  • drilling of textured decorative coatings for installation of fixtures/fittings
  • encapsulation and sealing-in work on asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) that are in good condition
  • maintenance of asbestos cement products (eg on roof sheeting, tiles and rainwater goods)
  • maintenance work on asbestos gaskets or asbestos rope if this can be done without substantial breakage
  • removal of asbestos-containing thermoplastic and vinyl floor tiles, bitumen roof felt, shingles, damp-proofing coatings, and mastics
  • removal of asbestos-containing felt and paper
  • painting/repainting AIB that is in good condition
  • removal of asbestos cement products, (eg roof sheeting and rainwater goods) provided the material is carefully handled/removed without breaking up
  • removal of small areas of textured decorative coatings using suitable dust-reducing methods, to support other activities such as installation/replacement of smoke alarms and light fittings
  • removal of textured decorative coatings provided that this can be done without deterioration of the material, (eg if the backing board is carefully cut around to achieve virtually intact removal)


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