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Below is a summary of some of the key regulatory information regarding asbestos management in New Zealand. For full information, please refer to the WorkSafe NZ website and the Asbestos Code of Practice.


As a tradesperson or business owner, you have a responsibility to identify asbestos or asbestos containing materials in the workplace as per section 6.2 of the Asbestos Code of Practice.


"If a workplace PCBU knows, or ought to reasonably know, there is a risk of exposure to respirable asbestos fibres in their workplace, it must make sure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all asbestos or ACM in the workplace relating to the risk is identified."

What is a workplace?

A workplace is a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to conduct work.  A workplace may be a home or property that is undergoing renovations, maintenance or demolition.  A worker may be a tradesperson engaged to conduct work on a domestic property.

Who is a PCBU?

If you are providing a service as a tradesperson in someones home or business then you are a PCBU as defined by the HSWA section17-2.1. A home occupier who employs or engages another person to do residential work (domestic work done in the home, or other work on the home itself) is not a PCBU.

"A PCBU is a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’. While a PCBU may be an individual person (eg a sole trader) or an organisation, in most cases the PCBU will be an organisation (eg a business entity such as a company). A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, and that other persons are not put at risk by its work – this is called the ‘primary duty of care’."

Who can remove and dispose of asbestos containing materials?

There are two types of asbestos removal licences - Class A and Class B.

  • Class A Licence holders can remove all types of asbestos including friable (crumbling)

  • Class B Licence holders can only remove non-friable asbestos (solid)

Removal over 10SQM

As of the 4 April 2016, if more than 10sqm of non-friable asbestos has to be removed over the whole course of the project and the life of the site, it must be done by a licensed asbestos removalist.

All friable asbestos removal work, regardless of the amount, must be carried out by a licensed asbestos removalist. This includes work on asbestos lagging, asbestos insulation and damaged asbestos board. A licensed asbestos removalist can be a person holding a current Certificate of Competence until April 2018.

Types of asbestos found in properties

There are two types of asbestos found in New Zealand building materials - friable and non-friable.

Non Friable Asbestos

Which is any material (other than friable asbestos) that contains asbestos. Non-friable asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry

Non Friable Asbestos

Which is any material containing asbestos in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.  Non-friable asbestos can become friable if damaged through renovation work, or is unsealed or  exposed to weather elements. 

Only Class A Licensed asbestos removalists can removal friable asbestos 

no matter what quantity is involved.

The only way to know if a product or material contains asbestos is to have it tested by an accredited laboratory.​

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