About Encasement

In Place Management vs. Removal and Replacement
 

Encasement = Abatement

The term "Abatement" is often thought to mean removal when in fact the term abatement means any set of measures designed to reduce or eliminate a hazardous condition or hazardous materials from a building or structure.

Dictionary Definition:  To lessen in amount, degree or intensity.

EPA Definition:  Reducing the degree or intensity of, or eliminating, pollution.

GLOBAL Encasement, Inc. non-toxic, low VOC, environmentally friendly Green Coatings for in place management are your best value investment for encasement and encapsulation of Asbestos Containing Materials and Lead-Based Paint

 

VS

The EPA has been recommending in place management and encapsulation/encasement whenever possible as the preferred abatement method for Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) and Lead-Based Paint (LBP) since 1990. They have concluded that the optimum solution is a system that prevents asbestos fiber and lead dust release, conforms to safety measures for installers and occupants of dwellings during implementation of corrective actions and lasts for the life of the building.

Since the early 1980s, four major methods have been used for the abatement of Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) and Lead-Based Paint (LBP).

  • Encapsulation (covering the ACM or LBP with a sealant to prevent fiber release)
  • Enclosure (placing an air-tight barrier around the ACM or LBP)
  • Encasement  (covering the ACM or LBP with a hard setting sealing material – long-term solution)
  • Removal (only required if renovations will displace the building component or the building is being demolished)

During this time, the primary focus by building owners, safety engineers and insurance companies was on variables such as direct and indirect costs, abatement time and potential problems from applications and long-term performance.  

Here are a few of the major Pros and Cons of encasement as a in place management alternative to removal.

ENCASEMENT

PROS

  • Installation does not disturb asbestos fibers or lead dust
  • Conforms to safety measures for installers and occupants of dwellings during implementation of corrective actions
  • Lasts for the life of the building
  • Minimal to no relocation of building occupants
  • Can be installed after work hours thereby limiting downtime in an organization
  • Does not affect the fireproof rating of the structure
  • Retains the superior fireproofing qualities of  asbestos
  • Prevents lead leachate
  • No need to scarify surfaces, remove walls or trim
  • Non-destructive -- permits preservation of architectural features (wood, plaster, metals, etc.)
  • Excellent protection and preservation
  • Water-based (safe), non-toxic, low VOCs
  • Can be custom tinted
  • Protects surfaces from damage
  • Hazardous waste in place management eliminates hazmat waste transport and disposal

CONS

  • The hazardous materials are safely managed in place, still in the building doing what they were originally intended to do.
 
REMOVAL

PROS

  • The hazardous materials are permanently removed from the premises yet the building owner and/or contractor owns the waste for life while stored at a landfill; and can be billed for its transport to another location when the landfill is moved or closed.

CONS

  • Project costs are 50-75% higher than with encasement
  • Removal of ACM or LBP causes the release of asbestos fibers and lead dust that can become airborne
  • Increases risk of fiber release subjects installers and/or occupants to the risk of inhaling the particulate matter
  • Requires certified and insured abatement professionals
  • Requires moving building occupants
  • Requires arranging alternative space for building occupants during the removal work
  • Requires restoring the building after removal is completed
  • Requires regulated disposal of hazardous waste which, alone, can amount to 30% of total abatement costs
  • Incurs hazmat transport fees
  • Incurs landfill fees
  • Building owner and/or contractor maintains ownership of the waste while it is stored in the landfill
  • The process is time consuming
  • Carries high insurance costs

Removal/Replacement - removal of ACM or LBP causes the release of asbestos fibers and lead dust that can become airborne subjecting installers and/or occupants to the risk of inhaling the particulate matter. Based on industry trends, the increased risk associated with this method has led building owners and contractors to select this as the least preferred method and a last resort unless the ACM is in a friable condition. Due to its high cost and risk factors, only certified and insured abatement professionals should perform this method. If a party is exposed to these risks and are affected, symptoms of various diseases such as asbestosis (a scarring of lung tissue that leads to difficulty in breathing and mesothelioma (an always fatal cancer of the lung’s external lining) may not appear for 15 years. In addition, removal and replacement is time consuming, carries high insurance costs, causes building use downtime and requires relocation of occupants. It also requires the disposal of the hazardous materials which, alone, can amount to 30% of total abatement costs. Consequently, an ever-increasing number of building owners choose alternative in place management methods.  

Encapsulation - this method involves spraying encapsulant material directly on the surface of ACM or LBP. Most encapsulants are thin liquids consisting of 50% water by nature. This method uses penetrating and bridging encapsulants that harden the Asbestos preventing fiber release. This can be an effective method because encapsulant products are applied like paint and seal the specified surface.

Enclosure - typically involves the installation of material such as Gypsum board and/or plywood that is placed around the ACM or LBP. The inherent problem with this method is that it temporarily protects the occupants because it only prevents direct contact and does not protect the installer or occupants from indirect contact through the continual release of asbestos fibers or lead dust. This method is considered a short-term remedy because most states require encapsulation prior to enclosure to lock down the hazardous materials. Therefore, using enclosure is not a cost effective alternative.

Encasement - is defined by the EPA as a, "Spray applied enclosure" abatement method that safely and economically seals and encloses exposed hazardous material surfaces. Encasement differs from encapsulation in that it is a long term solution; the materials are thicker, applied from 7 to 40 mils depending upon surface conditions, building use and desired warranty, are impact resistant and can allow for mechanical fasteners to be adhered to the surface. Materials used for this method should be water-based and must possess elastomeric properties.   The outer shell of the encasement is highly resistant to damage from ultra-violet light, heat, water, acids, accidental or direct impact, seismic and mechanical occurrences. This method is installed without disturbing the asbestos fibers and lead dust, requires minimal to no relocation and can be installed after work hours thereby limiting downtime in an organization. Most importantly, GEI's Encasement systems do not affect the fireproof rating of the structure while simplifying in place management monitoring requirements.