Why We Use Scaffolding in the Construction Industry

Published On: 9th May 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.