Should I Remove Or Encapsulate Asbestos?

When considering the best strategy for Asbestos management, the question of whether to completely remove an Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) or to just encapsulate it is a common problem.

Sometimes there might not be an obvious right or wrong answer and the decision might be based solely on the experience and opinion of a Surveyor or the Duty holder. However, the following considerations can help you come to a suitable decision.


Encapsulation of an ACM usually involves the application of two coats of an Elastomeric Paint such as ET150. This seals the surface of the material and helps to prevent fibre release caused by accidental contact. It will not, however, prevent fibre release if the material is more significantly damaged.
Another form of encapsulation would be to overboard the ACM with timber, or to plasterboard and skim it – this provides more robust protection against damage but can be more expensive. Another consideration is that over boarding effectively hides the ACM; this can create a hazard for the future, therefore any over boarded ACM should be clearly labelled with Asbestos Warning stickers and the property’s Asbestos Register amended accordingly.

Another consideration in respect to the encapsulation of an ACM is the ongoing costs relating to its management and annual re-inspections.


Removal of an ACM is the most effective way of mitigating its risk but can be very costly. Many ACMs are required by law to be removed only by a Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractor and can only be removed under fully Licensed conditions. This type of removal involves the erection of containment under negative pressure and the need for a decontamination unit. Such works can be very disruptive for businesses, especially those in the Care or Hotel sectors. The benefit of removing an ACM is that the risk and future costs for managing the material are eliminated.

Other factors that need to be considered when deciding between Encapsulation and Removal are:

• The type of product/material
• The extent of damage/deterioration
• Its surface treatment
• The Asbestos type and quantity
• Its location, ease of access and likelihood of disturbance

It is only when all factors are taken into consideration can the most suitable management strategy (Remove or Encapsulate) be decided upon.

Should you require any Asbestos related assistance or require assistance in the Management of Asbestos Abatement works, please do not hesitate to contact the Asbestos Team at Marpal on 01332 668877 or email [email protected] for further information.


Marpal - Asbestos Management - Long CTA