The idea behind scaffoldings has been around for thousands of years, with the structures commonly used on ancient construction jobs as a means to help workers get the job done in relative safety.
Today the structures are quite different to how they were in ancient times; the structures are a lot safer and more user-friendly thanks to developments in engineering and are typically made from steel. Yet their function is essentially the same – to help workers safely get to where they need to be.
Benefits of the structures
The two main benefits of the structures are:
Performing maintenance or construction work at a height can be difficult due to the number of hard-to-reach areas like high walls and ceilings. Scaffolding offers a more convenient alternative to a ladder as it provides workers with a solid foundation on which to walk on at great heights. The structures also provide a wide surface so that multiple workers can operate close together without struggle.
One of the biggest risks associated with working at great heights is falling. Scaffolding is a much safer alternative to a ladder as it uses four or more anchor points to lock it to the building or ground. It also has guardrails and a flat, steady base to minimize the risk of falling.
Types of scaffolding
There are a range of different structure types that exist to suit specific construction needs. Some of the most common types you will find are:
The trestle is a working platform held up by a support frame; it may be made of metal or wood. It is typically used for indoor work and can be used up to a height of around 3-5 metres.
Patented scaffolding a readymade structure made of steel and fitted with couplings and frames. The working platform can be adjusted to the level needed for the project.
Steel structures are the most expensive structure but also the most durable and safe, hence why they are so popular. They consist of steel tubes connected by fittings or couplers and are easy to assemble and dismantle.
As the name suggests, suspended structures use platforms suspended in the air by ropes or chains. They are typically used for painting, cleaning and repair work on tall buildings.
Single structures are normally used for brick work and consist of a range of ledgers, standards and putlogs which are parallel to the wall at around a 1 metre distance.
Double structures are typically used for stone work. As it is difficult to make holes in stone walls, the double structure uses two rows to make the structure sturdier.
How to get the most out of scaffolding
When working with the structures it is important to keep the following things in mind:
Quality of the structure
It is crucial that the structure being used is of the highest quality. This means making sure that the structure has been checked for compliance with not only your provider, but their manufacturer and designer. The scaffolding should be made of a strong, durable and reliable material such as aluminium or steel and be structurally sound.
Quality of the provider
Your choice of provider may determine the quality of the structure you receive. Make sure that your provider is professional, experienced and willing to assemble, disassemble and transport the equipment for you. You may be able to get a recommendation for a provider from word of mouth or online recommendations.