- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 02 May 2018
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
The initiative to enhance the environment continues.
Could underused community spaces offer an alternative to working from home?
Keeping workers and workplaces safe in the United States.
A history lesson in geographic information systems.
A low tech, easy to use method of extinguishing small fires.
How can these valued spaces be reused?
Partnership avoids the need for listed building consent.
Connecting building design from inception to completion to operations.
Gregor Harvie predicts interoperability will be construction’s Uber moment.
Expert commentary and insight.
Guidance offered for stained glass window maintenance.
Define need before determining viability.