- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 11 Oct 2020
Scabbling in construction
Traditionally, the term ‘scabbling’ or ‘scappling’ referred to the use of axes or hammers to shape a stone. It now generally refers to the process of removing a thin layer from the surface of concrete or sometimes masonry.
This can be necessary in order to:
- Roughen surfaces to give better grip.
- Create decorative effects.
- Prepare surfaces for repairs, grouting, painting, sealing or coating.
- Remove adhesives, coatings, markings, laitence or surface contamination.
Typically, scabbling is carried out with pneumatic devices that pound the surface with pointed rods. However, rotary devices that ‘flail’ the surface may also be used, and more recently, water Jet techniques using high-pressure water.
Scabbling concrete or other construction materials can produce high levels of silica-containing dust. Silica dust (known as Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS)) can be inhaled and can lead to silicosis, a lung disease that causes permanent disablement and early death. As a consequence, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) categorise scabbling as high risk. Effective control is necessary, involving assessment, prevention and controls such as on-tool extraction and Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE).
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Heritage on the edge?
Prioritising tax considerations.
The four D creative process: discover, define, develop and deliver.
National Cyber Security Centre initiative is announced.
Reviewing trends and projections.
Legislation will establish initiatives to move towards net zero.
How to document contractor employment status.
Tech tools to help manage people and space post-pandemic.
A style that ranges from mock Tudor to arts and crafts to the 'Wrenaissance'.
Free guide from Secured by Design.
BREEAM strategy for sustainability and the circular economy.
Free tool to improve the construction programming process.
Are buildings doing what they're supposed to be doing?
Cities with quick access to everything by foot or bike.