All AIB work that is not short duration work requires a licence. Short duration work is when work with these materials will take no more than two hours in any seven day period, and no one person works for more than one hour in that two hour period. Work with AIB that is short duration but is still likely to release a high level of asbestos fibres is also licensed.

Assessing the risks from work with AIB will often require a degree of judgement. AIB sits in the mid-range of the spectrum of friability on disturbance so it is reasonably likely to release asbestos fibres when it is worked on (high friability means very likely to release many fibres, low friability means less likely to release significant numbers of fibres).

Therefore, you need to decide what form and condition the AIB is in and how well it is bonded within a matrix, eg how well the AIB is coated, covered or contained within another material, such as paint or other covering, and the nature and extent of the work you need to do, as this will affect the level of controls you need in place to do the work.

Licensed work with AIB:

  • work on AIB in poor condition, eg exposed and crumbling or with loose dust/fibres; de-laminated, unsealed or damaged in some other way
  • maintenance work with AIB that is not short and non-continuous
  • major removal of AIB

Notifiable non-licensed work with AIB:

  • minor removal work involving AIB, when short duration and as part of a refurbishment project, eg removing AIB panels fixed with screws following water damage
  • entry into the roof space above an AIB tiled ceiling, when no decontamination or cleaning has taken place

The removal of nailed AIB panels poses a problem in that breakage of AIB due to a bent or difficult nail is more likely and may lead to substantial local fibre release and breakage. Sheet A4 of Asbestos Essentials describes unlicensed removal of a single AIB board (less than 1m2 in area) but this requires an enclosure if the panel is nailed. Therefore in this situation, where a panel is nailed and so an enclosure is necessary, this must be treated as notifiable non licensed work. If several panels need removing, eg more than 2 small panels a week; this would need a licensed contractor. If an AIB panel is very heavily nailed, a competent person’s judgement, using Asbestos Essentials work sheet A4 as a guide, should decide that a licensed contractor is needed to do the work.

AIB ceiling tiles that are unfixed and loose laid in a false ceiling (where the ceiling’s upper surface has not yet been competently cleaned of loose fibre – normally by a licensed contractor) can be lifted for inspection purposes without needing a licence or notification. However, full body entry to an uncleaned space above AIB tiles is notifiable non licensed work as a minimum.