Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Essential Safety Measures When Working on Scaffolding

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Accidents can happen when working on scaffolding. Someone could get hurt or worse get killed while a scaffolding is in use. However, these things can be prevented if essential safety measures are taken prior to and during the process of construction.

Scaffolding is an important part of any construction job. This temporary work platform helps support workers, materials and equipment in a way that ladders would not allow. Despite its straightforward use, though, scaffolding is one of the highest-risk areas for construction workers because they are working off the ground. In fact, a lot of injuries and deaths involving scaffolding happen every year.

Fortunately, such fatalities can be prevented if employers, contractors and workers take safety precautions prior to and while working on the platform. Hence, if you are involved in a construction project, carefully follow the safety measures outlined below to ensure the safe use of scaffolding.

Ensure all workers are properly trained

As per industry standards, scaffolding should only be erected, dismantled or accessed by workers who have been properly trained under the supervision of an industry expert. Everyone who will be working on the platform  should have a clear understanding of its design and operations and should also know safe work practices, including correct procedures when dealing with electrical and fall hazards, use of personal fall arrest systems and the load-carrying capacity of the scaffolding being used.

Do not skip on the prep work

Proper preparation is the key to ensuring a safe and stable scaffolding. So before using the platform, be sure that its base is level and properly adjusted and its legs are stable. This will help minimize the risk of workers losing their balance. The entire structure should also be adequately secured to the building where work will be done and proper access points should be provided. The right locking mechanisms should also be used and should never be replaced with nails or other miscellaneous parts to avoid them from dislodging. Equally important is that the platform has secure guardrails in place. As a rule of thumb, there should be guardrails on three sides facing away from the building, with each side having top, middle and bottom rails.

As for the ground condition, the area on which the scaffold stands should be clear of slopes or surface elevation and it should not be obstructed by overhead utility lines to avoid problems later on.

Respect the load capacity

Special attention should be given to the loads to which the scaffolding will be subjected to. Scaffolding has a maximum intended load carrying capacity and this should be followed with great care. Do not to overload the platform with equipment and materials and never attempt to fit more workers than it is capable of handling to prevent the structure from collapsing.

Use the right protection and use common sense when working on scaffolding

Anyone working on scaffolding should wear the right protective gear. This include head protection, non-slip protective footwear and fall arrest system. Also, while working on the platform, it is best move around slowly to maintain balance. All the materials and equipment used on the scaffolding should be properly stored after a day’s work as they can become trip hazards if left lying on the platform.

This article was contributed by Ericka for www.steelbuildingsuk.co.uk. Ericka is an avid writer who has written a number of posts regarding a wide variety of topics. However, she is particularly interested in writing about home improvement and general construction.

Scaffolding Designs Are Important In Construction

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

 Scaffolding

Scaffolding engineering companies are in the business of designing scaffolds that are tailored to meet the specific requirements of their clients. Scaffolding is particularly important in building construction, as it enables the workers to effectively carry out a variety of functions like painting, cleaning, and repairs among others. It offers flexibility and safety while moving and performing the various construction-related duties. Scaffold structures are mostly made of steel or timber. There are various types of scaffolding designs, which can be tailored to fit the diverse kinds of buildings irrespective of their height or shape. Below are some common types of designs that are offered by scaffolding engineering firms.

Independent or Birdcage Scaffold Design

This type of scaffold is constructed together with a building. It has rows of standards or vertical poles that are connected by horizontal ledgers or pieces and transoms. Since an independent scaffold has uprights or standards on the sides of the working platforms, it is able to remain upright without any support from the structure or building under repair or construction. However, extra support can be provided by tying or securing the scaffold to the construction building at different intervals. This type of scaffold is designed to be used on one level only, like in ceiling jobs.

Single Pole Scaffold Design

This scaffold design features one row of standards or poles. A single pole scaffold depends on the structure under construction or repair for much-needed support.

Mobile Scaffold

This is a kind of independent freestanding scaffolding engineering design. The scaffold is mounted on wheels or castors that swivel. This allows the structures to be moved around easily from one place to another.

Swingstage or Suspended Scaffold Design

This type of scaffold design has a free hanging or suspended platform that can either be lowered or raised. This design is commonly used to clean the outer parts of windows on tower blocks or high-rises.

Hanging Bracket Scaffold Design

This scaffolding design has a somewhat complex framework made of horizontal components that are held up or supported by the building’s floor or other structures under repair or construction. Hanging bracket scaffolds must be designed by a professional engineer, as part of their construction involves load testing among other safety checks.

Firms challenged to beat Scaffolding world record

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

A Glasgow-based construction firm has laid down the gauntlet to fellow industry competitors to beat a 17-year old world record for assembling scaffolding.

Turner Access created a Guinness World Record in 1995 when they erected a 100sqm scaffolding structure in just 26 minutes and now the company are inviting challengers to beat their long-standing accomplishment.

Completing such work would usually take anywhere up to 16 hours but two scaffolders defied the odds almost two decades ago to significantly reduce the standard construction time.

Gary Gallacher, Turner Access’ managing director, claims that the success of this year’s London Olympic Games has been the inspiration behind the renewed attempt to beat the existing scaffolding record.

“We arranged this competition in connection with Guinness, to see how long it would take our scaffolders to build it up,” he told STV.

“We erected our [1995] 100sqm structure in around 20mins that would usually take 16 man hours.

“The only problem was that back then there wasn’t the same stringent need for harnesses as there is now so, in the spirit of the Olympics we’re going to do it again this year.”

The new competition has also been prompted by changes in the regulations of scaffold building. In 1995, the challengers were allowed to arrange the scaffolding without considering certain health and safety procedures that are compulsory today.

Which Type of Scaffolding Tower Is Best For You?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Scaffolding helps to shape some of the major construction or repair plans of buildings and provides the formwork for the materials that will keep such structures in place.

Without scaffolding we wouldn’t have such glorious architecture in place in our society today. One particular form of scaffolding comes in towers – these are designed for construction workers to make changes to structures above the ground. Hence the appearance of a vertical framework against the side of a building and the name ‘tower’.

Scaffold towers come in three different formats and each has different attributes to them that make them appealing for various construction jobs.

Aluminium Scaffolding Towers

Aluminium scaffolding towers are lightweight and designed to be easy to use – making them an ideal solution for residential structures and tasks such as painting or installing a window. Typically, scaffolding can be made of steel but the aluminium structure is a much more practical answer if you’re looking for mobility. While aluminium scaffolding can be more expensive than steel, it is more durable and rust free.

Fibreglass Scaffolding Towers

Fibreglass scaffolding towers are developed to provide functionality while prioritising safety. Because the structure is made of fibreglass, it can prevent hazards such as electrocution – making it the only solution for environments where electricity is present. Durable and easy to use, the fibreglass scaffolding tower is the most expensive type of scaffold tower on the market. These units come with straight forward setup instructions and are built by simply piecing them together. This also makes them a fantastic portability option – some structures even come with wheels so you don’t have to dismantle them.

Steel Scaffolding Towers

Steel scaffolding towers are the most traditional and common type of formwork structure on the market. Noted for being extremely durable, steel scaffolding towers are predominantly used when workers are dealing with large, heavy and articulated materials. However, these structures are difficult to move – mainly because of their excessive weight – and therefore should only be used for specific jobs that don’t require mobility. For all operations that require the use of heavy-weighted materials, steel scaffolding towers really are the only answer to your problems.

The Effect of Britain’s Recession on Manufacturing

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The state of Britain’s manufacturing sector remains on the downward spiral after it was revealed that there had been a drop in output.

Earlier this month, data was published by the Office for National Statistics showing that there had been a 0.7 per cent drop in manufacturing output between March and April 2012.

This came as an unexpected disappointment with a previous report showing a 0.9 per cent increase in the output.

The statistics confirms that Britain is still very much in a recession that could extend throughout the summer and beyond.

While a 0.9 per cent decrease doesn’t sound particularly significant, the statistic becomes all the more concerning when you consider that industrial production – of which two-thirds is made up of the manufacturing sector such as formwork and scaffolding suppliers – had been boosted by weather factors.

As previously stated, the results come as a blow after business data from April had hinted that Britain’s factories were in line for an increased run of production that would in turn help the country’s economy.

However, this predicted has failed to come to fruition and now Britain faces a further drop in the value of gross domestic product.

It had been hoped that the manufacturing sector would provide the formwork for a move away from the recession as it had been in the 1980s and 1990s. However, in spite of a 25 per cent reduction in the value of the British pound, the manufacturing sector has failed to become the same catalyst this time around.

Figures seem to confirm this with the sector 8 per cent below its pre-recession peak.

To make matters worse, the North Sea – which can act as a compensator for manufacturing – is running dry with oil and gas extractions down by a staggering 41 per cent from this time four years ago.

With the manufacturing area struggling, it could be down to other industry sectors to help Britain come out of the recession.

Things You Might Not Know About The Olympic Stadium

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

The 80,000 strong Olympic Stadium may be in the midst of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this year but have you ever stopped to think what will happen to the structure after the event comes to a conclusion and what makes it such an attractive proposition?

One thing is almost certain, the stadia won’t remain as an 80,000-seater venue with proposals from football clubs West Ham United and Leyton Orient suggesting reductions to respective 60,000 and 25,000 capacities.
The Olympic Legacy Company is the institution who makes the decision regarding the future of the Olympic Stadium but a number of legal wrangles between the aforementioned West Ham, Leyton Orient and another professional football side, Tottenham Hotspur, have halted the race to win the keys to the ground in 2013.

Whatever the outcome, the Olympic Legacy Company will be desperate to avoid a situation similar to their Greek counterparts which has seen their stadium equivalent described as a place of “desolation and despair”.

To the naked eye, the London Olympic Stadium presents a bowl-like shape with triangular pointing lights that spike out at the top of the structure. However, there is much more to the building of the venue which cost £500m to construct and three years to build using formwork – all of which makes it a worthwhile acquisition to bidders. To demonstrate, here are some things you may not know about the Olympic Stadium.

Second Olympic Stadium
Built in less than a year, the first Olympic Stadium to grace the UK was in 1908 after the country stepped in for Rome who were originally due to host the event. It cost just £60,000 to construct and even incorporated a swimming pool in the middle of the stadium. It was demolished in 1985.

Built in layers
Like the dissection of an onion, the Olympic Stadium can be peeled back in layers. Architects Populous specifically designed the stadium with its long-term legacy in mind. The temporary layers of the structure include the roof, the wrap and the upper tier seats which can all be stripped off to reduce the capacity to a total of 25,000

The roof
The existing roof on the Olympic Stadium is made of PVC rather than more common place materials such as steel or concrete. This decision was made so the roof could be easily dismantled and have a minimal environmental affect while reducing costs.

Black and white seats
You may have noticed the black and white seat design within the stands of the Olympic Stadium. Shaped in jagged shards, the colour scheme is meant to be a tribute towards the London 2012 graphics and logo which also features sharp and cutting edges. The lines of the design are co-ordinated to point at towards the 100m finishing line – representing the point which energy radiates.

Retail
The bars, food areas and information points have all been built as individual pods that are located in and around the stadium which means they can easily be removed without the added hassle of reconstruction to the formwork of the structure.

Formwork helps football tournament score major victory

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

One of the leading manufacturers of formwork in Europe are celebrating after their hard work came to a conclusion at the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

PERI, a German supplier of formwork and scaffolding systems, were a crucial factor in the building of the eight venues at the Euro 2012 football tournament.

The construction company have reasons to be proud of their work with the event playing host to one of the most compelling and exciting football championships in many years.

Five of the eight venues were specifically built for the event while the other three were reconstructed – all of which were aided with the help of formwork and scaffolding.

Stadiums included the Polish venues of Wroclaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Warsaw while Ukraine saw enhancements to Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kiev and Lviv.

The biggest of the new stadiums is that of the National Stadium located in Warsaw which saw development begin in 2009.

Holding a 56,000 capacity, the ground entertained the first game of the championship between Poland and Greece and also hosted the semi-final tie between Germany and Italy as well as three other matches.

England were knocked out of the tournament by Italy in the reconstructed Olympic Stadium in Kiev which now holds over 64,000 thanks to the use of formwork.

Why We Use Scaffolding in the Construction Industry

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

During the construction and repair of buildings, scaffolding is used to support workers and machinery. They are a safe way for materials and people to move along the building and work, especially when it comes to tall buildings.

In the beginning, scaffolding was made of bamboo or wood. Now they are made of metal pipes or hoses and are much sturdier. The most commonly used metals are aluminium and steel. Of the two, aluminium is the superior choice as it can be stored easily and used outside without worry of rust and comes with a lifetime guarantee. If the use of the scaffolding is to do electric work, aluminium or steel or any metal pipes will conduct electricity, so fibre glass frames should be used. Some come inclusive with platforms.

They are usually quite complex structures and need a structural engineer to set it up and have it constructed. If needed, scaffolding may be linked to the building in places. But scaffolding is not restricted to base plates as they may be used without them on other hard surfaces and structures like concrete. A scaffold tower is self-supporting and does not need to lean against a wall or a building eliminating the risk of slipping. They are not, however, used independently.

Initially, scaffolding used to be quite unstable as it was constructed to support workers for a building. However, it has developed into an industry of its own as there is a growing market for it. Now that there is a more professionalism when it comes to scaffolding, there is more sophistication and safety.  There are various different models to suit different application needs. There are also regulations regarding scaffolding so that a certain rather strict standard is met (concerning quality of materials used and safety regulations) especially in the UK and Europe.

Details to watch out for

No matter what material the scaffolding is made of, make sure it conforms to the BS EN1004 standard, or, if it’s being bought elsewhere, an equivalent rating.

It’s always better to get scaffolding with attached platforms that have non-slip texture and give the feet a good grip. Some companies offer frame platforms that are attached with a crimping method. This can come loose over time and become risky to use. Ensure that you get the platforms have double welded joints. These are much more reliable.

Depending on your need, make sure the scaffolding is sufficiently thick and able to bear the weight of the workers and materials involved.

Merry Christmas to all our customers!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

All the staff at Unit Plant Services take this opportunity to wish their customers a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Welcome to the new Unit Plant Website!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Welcome to the new Unit Plant Website where you can find information on our range of form work, scaffolding and access equipment for sale and hire both nationally and internationally.

Make sure you check out our impressive range of scaffolding products on Ebay to find out more.

If you have any questions or would like to place an order check out our contact us page for all the relevant details