Asbestos removal

Identified asbestos in your workplace? Find out what you need to do if you need to remove asbestos because it’s in a poor state, or because you are planning renovations.

Removing asbestos from your workplace

If you have identified asbestos in your workplace and if it needs to be removed because it’s in a poor state, or because you are planning renovations then you are likely to require the services of a licenced asbestos removal company. 

The only exception is if the removal:

  • is 10m2 or less of non-friable asbestos or asbestos contaminated dust (ACD) associated with the removal of the non-friable asbestos over the whole course of the removal project, or
  • ACD that is not associated with the removal of friable or non-friable asbestos and is only a minor contamination.

In this case, you must ensure that the contractor that you employ is sufficiently qualified to carry out the asbestos removal work.

Asbestos types

Asbestos falls into two categories, friable and non-friable.

Friable: asbestos that’s in a powder form or able to be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. While all asbestos has the potential to become airborne, friable is more likely to become airborne. 

Non-friable: asbestos that’s not in a powder or cannot be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry. It is usually in a bonded form, such as asbestos cement sheet in good condition. 

Employing an asbestos removalist

Before employing a removalist you should have conducted a survey – that includes sampling by an IANZ accredited laboratory – as this is the only sure fire way to know if the asbestos you want removed is friable or non-friable.

If the laboratory confirms that it is asbestos and you decide that removal work is required, you must employ a contractor who is suitably qualified and experienced to do the job you require.

Removal work is broken into Class A and Class B work. Much like your drivers licence, the class dictates what work the removalist can do:

  • A Class A licenced removalist can do friable and non-friable removal

A Class B licenced removalist can only remove non-friable asbestos To find a licenced removalist, refer to the asbestos licence holder register.

All removalists must hold the appropriate training certiifcates for the type of asbestos removal they are to undertake. For more information see our Training page

When work is under way

You must follow the directions of the asbestos removalist, and as far as possible, ensure that no one other than people directly involved in the removal work has access to the removal area.

There is a duty to communicate if asbestos work is to be carried out. In practice this means ensuring that your workers, other tenants at the premise and neighbours are informed of the works.

Your removalist will prepare a removal control plan that should be given to you. This plan should also be shared with the interested parties. If the work is Class A, there is a duty to have air monitoring undertaken by an independent licensed asbestos assessor.

It is your responsibility to share the results of the air monitoring with:

  • Your workers and their representatives
  • Any other PCBUs at the workplace
  • other persons, as far as possible, living or working in the area of the workplace if it is likely they may be affected by contamination.

Returning to your site

If the removal was Class A, then you must be provided with a clearance certificate from an independent third party, and from 4 April 2018 it this must be a licenced assessor. This certificate is your proof that the site is clear of asbestos and is safe to reoccupy.

Duties for licenced removalists

View the Approved Code of Practice: the management and removal of asbestos which outlines the information that removalists need to know.