A Complete Guide To Scaffolds For Demolition Work

June 2, 2023


Demolition work is a hazardous and challenging task. With over 1,050 fatalities among construction workers due to demolition accidents, it’s even more important that workers have the right tools and equipment to perform their tasks safely and efficiently.

One of these is scaffolding. Scaffolds are essential structures that provide workers with a safe and stable working platform when doing demolition work. They come in different types, sizes, and configurations, depending on the nature of the demolition work and the building’s design.

This guide provides an overview of scaffolding for demolition work, including its types, components, safety requirements, and regulations. That way, you can educate your workers on the proper use of scaffolds and the hazards and risks associated with them.

Types Of Scaffolds For Demolition Work
There are several types of scaffolds used in demolition work, such as:

  • Supported Scaffolds: The most common type of  demolition scaffold is the supported scaffold. Supported scaffolds consist of platforms atop load-bearing members, such as legs, frames, or poles, that rest on the ground or any lower level. They’re suitable for demolition work that requires workers to access different levels of a building or structure.
  • Suspended Scaffolds: Suspended scaffolds are another type of scaffolding for demolition work. They contain one or more platforms held up by ropes or cables from an overhead structure, such as a crane or a roof. Suspended scaffolds are best for demolition work that requires workers to access hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rolling Scaffolds: Rolling scaffolds, also known as mobile scaffolds, are another type of scaffold used for demolition. They have one or more platforms supported by wheels or casters that allow them to move horizontally. Rolling scaffolds are suitable for demolition projects that require workers to move around a building or structure.
  • Cantilever Scaffolding: This type of scaffold is used when the ground or floor space is limited or if erecting a scaffold from the ground up is impossible. Cantilever scaffolding consists of standards supported by needles or beams extending from the building’s structure.
  • Steel Scaffolding: From the name itself, steel scaffolding is made of steel tubes and is commonly used for heavy-duty demolition work. Due to its exceptional durability and ability to support heavy loads, it’s ideal for large-scale demolition projects. However, it requires specialised equipment and training to erect and dismantle safely.
  • H-Frame Scaffolding: The H-frame scaffold is designed to be lightweight and portable, making it ideal for small-scale demolition work. It consists of a frame supported by adjustable legs and can be easily moved from one location to another.
  • Trestle Scaffolding: This type of scaffold is commonly used for low-level demolition work, such as painting or plastering. It consists of a platform supported by two or more trestles, and you can easily adjust it to different heights and angles.These are only some of the common types of scaffolds used for demolition work. It’s essential to select the most suitable type of scaffold for the job and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for its safe use and maintenance. If you’re planning to rent scaffolds instead of purchasing them, be sure to procure them from a reputable scaffold hire company.

Components Of Scaffolds

Demolition scaffolding consists of several components that work together to provide a safe and stable working platform. These components include standards, ledgers, braces, platforms, and guardrails.

Standards are vertical members that support the weight of the scaffold and transfer it to the ground or a lower level. They’re generally made of steel or aluminium and come in different lengths and sizes, depending on the height and load capacity of the scaffold. Meanwhile, ledgers are horizontal members that connect the standards and provide lateral stability to the scaffold. They’re also made of steel or aluminium and have different sizes, depending on the scaffold’s width and depth.

Other vital components of demolition scaffolds are the braces and platforms. Braces are diagonal members that connect the standards and ledgers and provide additional lateral stability to the scaffold. The platforms, on the other hand, are the working surfaces of the scaffold where workers stand, walk, or perform their tasks. They’re usually made of wood, steel, or aluminium and come in different sizes and configurations, depending on the nature of the demolition work and the building’s design.

Completing the scaffolds for demolition are the guard rails. These are barriers that prevent workers and materials from falling off the scaffold. Guard rails consist of top rails, mid rails, and toeboards, and they must be installed on all open sides and ends of the scaffold.
Overall, these components are critical to the stability and safety of the scaffold. Ensure all components are in good condition and safe to use before starting demolition work.

Safety Requirements And Regulations When Using Demolition Scaffolds

Scaffolds for demolition work must comply with several safety requirements and regulations to ensure the safety and health of workers and the public. These requirements and regulations include:

  • Design And Construction: Demolition scaffolds must be designed and constructed by a competent person and comply with the Australian Standards for scaffolding. Furthermore, its design and construction must take into account the nature of the demolition work, the building’s design, the load capacity, the wind and weather conditions, and the access and egress requirements.
  • Inspection And Maintenance: Scaffolds for demolition must be inspected and maintained by a qualified person before each use and at least once every 30 days. This ensures the scaffold is in good condition, free from defects, and safe to use.
  • Training And Supervision: Workers who use scaffolds for demolition work must receive proper training and supervision on how to erect, dismantle, and use the scaffold safely. The training and supervision must also cover topics about the hazards and risks associated with scaffolds (e.g., falls, collapses, and electrocution).
  • Fall Protection: Workers who use scaffolds for demolition must wear fall protection equipment (e.g., harnesses, lanyards), particularly if they’re working at a height of two meters or more above the ground. The fall protection equipment should also be attached to a secure anchor point and inspected before each use.

The Bottom Line

Overall, scaffolding is an essential part of demolition work. It provides a safe, secure, and stable platform for workers to access the building that is being demolished. Many types of scaffolding can be used for demolition work, and the type of scaffolding used will depend on the specific project.

Remember to choose a type of scaffolding appropriate for the height of the building, the type of demolition work being carried out, and the weather conditions. Ensure also that the scaffolding is properly erected and maintained to prevent accidents and injuries when working onsite.

By following these scaffolding requirements and regulations, workers can perform their tasks safely and efficiently, and the public can be protected from the hazards and risks associated with demolition work.