Asbestos Fibre Counting (PCM) IP403

IP403 Asbestos Fibre Counting (PCM) is the fourth in the suite of international asbestos qualifications. Asbestos analysts have a key role to play in helping to ensure that control measures for asbestos removal and remediation are effective and that buildings are safe for re-occupation after asbestos removal works have been carried out. This qualification covers the full fibre counting process, from preparing filters through to reporting and evaluating findings. 

Who is it for?

The qualification is suitable for anyone who undertakes fibre counting as part of their work (e.g. laboratory analysts). It may also be useful for those who undertake other parts of asbestos clearance procedures (e.g. asbestos assessors) to build their level of knowledge.  


The level of a qualification indicates the relative complexity and depth of knowledge and skills required to attain the qualification.  

This is a level 4 qualification in the BOHS qualifications framework.  

Different countries use different levels, but this qualification is comparable to level 4 in the Regulated Qualifications Framework in England and level 5 in the European Qualifications Framework. 

How is it delivered?

The IP403 course will generally run over two consecutive days and includes 11 hours of study time. This consists of 9 hours taught (teaching and formative practical assessment) and two hours of independent study (in your own time). 

The course can be delivered more flexibly, such as on one day per week over two weeks, but should still include 9 hours of teaching. 

Modules / Learning objectives

Overall Objective

To provide you with theoretical and practical knowledge in the techniques of fibre counting of asbestos air samples, using phase-contrast microscopy (PCM). 


  1. Introduction and setting up of microscope
  2. Filter preparation, fibre counting and outline of air sampling equipment 
  3. Calculation of results, quality control, reporting and communication
  4. Practical work 


You will need to pass three parts within 12 months:    

  • Formative practical assessment 
  • Written Theory examination (WT)
  • Microscope practical examination


BOHS provides: 

  • Further information can be found in the course specification, under the ‘Downloadable Resources’ information box above.
  • BOHS Online Exam information and FAQs - Click here 

In addition, the following supporting documentation will be made available to Approved Training Providers once approved by BOHS:

  • A comprehensive Student Manual, which covers the full range of subject areas included in the qualification.
  • A support pack for tutors which provides sample examination questions and guidance on the written examinations.

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