A Complete Guide To Types of Mobile Scaffolding
The global scaffolding market is rapidly growing, thanks to the demand in the construction industry. It’s projected to reach over AUD$130 billion by 2030, increasing at an average of 5.5% annually.
Different scaffolds are needed to complete various tasks as the construction sector continues to evolve. One of the most popular types is mobile scaffolding. This article will discuss everything you need to know about these scaffolds.
What Is Mobile Scaffolding?
Also known as movable scaffolding, this scaffold is designed for easy mobility. It consists of a stable platform supported by wheels or casters, which allow workers to move the scaffold to different locations without disassembly and reassembly.
Here are the main types of mobile scaffolding for different project needs:
- Single-Width Scaffold. This mobile scaffolding is comprised of a single-width platform supported by four wheels or casters. It is compact and easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces, making it suitable for indoor construction, maintenance, and other tasks that require frequent mobility.
- Double-Width Mobile Scaffold. This provides a broader platform compared to the single-width scaffold. It typically consists of two single-width platforms, which provide more space for workers and equipment. A double-width scaffold offers increased stability and is commonly used in larger construction projects or applications that require more workspace.
- Folding Mobile Scaffold. This is designed to be easily folded and unfolded for transportation and storage. It has hinges or folding mechanisms that allow the scaffold to collapse into a compact size. This type of mobile scaffolding is convenient when space is limited or when frequent transportation is required.
- Podium Steps. These are a specific type of mobile scaffolding designed for low-level access tasks. They typically have a single platform with guardrails and are equipped with a locking system to ensure stability when in use. Podium steps are commonly used in retail stores, warehouses, and other settings where workers need to access shelves or perform tasks at low heights.
- Stairway Mobile Scaffolds. These are specialised mobile scaffolds that incorporate stair units. These scaffolds provide safe access to elevated work areas where workers need to ascend or descend multiple levels. They’re common in construction projects, event setups, and other applications where frequent movement between different levels is required.
- Adjustable Mobile Scaffolds. These allow for height adjustment of the platform to suit different working heights. These scaffolds typically feature telescopic legs or adjustable frames, providing flexibility to adapt to various job requirements. These scaffolds are versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications, including painting, electrical work, and general maintenance.
There are different types of mobile scaffolding available, and it’s important to be familiar with them before deciding on one for your project. Choosing the right type of mobile scaffolding is crucial for safe and efficient work at heights.
Safety Considerations For Mobile Scaffolding
Inasmuch as this equipment enhances your construction project, it can also lead to severe accidents. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 3.5% of work-related injuries are due to falls from heights.
To prevent this from happening to your workers, prioritise the following safety measures when using mobile scaffolding at your job site:
- Stability. Mobile scaffolds rely on a stable base to provide a secure and safe working platform. Uneven or unstable ground can lead to an imbalance in the scaffold, increasing the risk of tipping or collapsing. It is essential to assess the ground conditions where the scaffold will be placed and ensure that it is firm and level.
- Ground Inspection. Before setting up the mobile scaffold, inspect the ground for any irregularities, such as holes, loose soil, debris, or slopes, and clear away any obstacles that could affect the stability or cause tripping hazards. If significant irregularities exist, level the ground or use appropriate levelling equipment, such as base plates or adjustable legs, to ensure stable footing.
- Weight Distribution. Mobile scaffolds have weight limits specified by the manufacturer. Even on level ground, exceeding the recommended load capacity can compromise the scaffold’s stability. Be mindful of the weight of workers, tools, and equipment on the scaffold, ensuring it does not exceed the maximum allowed load.
- Locking Wheels. Most mobile scaffolds are equipped with wheels or casters for easy mobility. However, it is crucial to ensure the wheels stay in place once the scaffold is in position. Lock the wheels securely to prevent unintended movement or shifting, providing stability during work activities.
- Levelling Adjustments. Mobile scaffolds often have adjustable legs or mechanisms to compensate for uneven ground. Take the time to adjust the scaffold’s levelling components properly to ensure that all four sides of the scaffold have equal support and eliminate any tilting or rocking motion.
- Regular Inspections. Throughout the duration of scaffold use, periodically check the stability and levelness of the scaffold’s footing. Conduct routine inspections for signs of ground settling or any other factors that may affect stability. If any issues are detected, promptly address them before continuing work.
Following the safety considerations above can help prevent accidents and ensure safe and efficient work at heights when using mobile scaffolding. By prioritising stability, weight distribution, and regular inspections, you can create a secure and safe working platform for your construction project.
How To Choose The Right Mobile Scaffolding
To ensure safety and efficiency, here are some guidelines to help you choose a suitable scaffolding system:
- Assess Your Requirements
Start by understanding your specific project needs. Consider the height and size of the structures you need to access, as well as any unique site conditions that may affect your operation.
Also, determine the maximum weight the scaffolding needs to support. Take into account the combined weight of workers, tools, equipment, and materials that will be present on the platform. Choose a mobile scaffold with a weight capacity that exceeds your estimated requirements to provide a safety margin.
- Compliance With Regulations Ensure that the mobile scaffolding you choose complies with local safety regulations, industry standards, and codes. This will help you maintain a safe working environment and avoid penalties or legal issues.
- Mobility And Stability Look for scaffolding with sturdy wheels and locking mechanisms that allow for easy movement and stability when in use. Consider the terrain and surface conditions of your construction site to ensure the wheels are suitable for the environment.
- Ease Of Assembly And Disassembly Choose mobile scaffolding that is easy to assemble and disassemble, allowing for efficient use of time and resources. Look for systems with quick-lock mechanisms or modular designs that facilitate rapid setup and takedown.
- Durability And Material Quality The materials used to design the scaffolding determine its longevity and resistance to wear and tear. Look for options made from robust materials like steel or aluminium, which offer strength and stability.
- Safety Features Prioritise the safety features incorporated into the scaffolding design. This may include guardrails, non-slip surfaces, secure locking mechanisms, and stability braces. These features enhance worker safety and reduce the risk of accidents.
- Manufacturer Reputation And Support Research the reputation and reliability of the manufacturer or supplier. Read customer reviews and testimonials to gain insights into the quality of their products and the level of customer support they offer.
- Budget Considerations Set a budget for your scaffolding purchase or rental and choose options that best balance cost and functionality. Avoid compromising safety and quality for the sake of saving money.
Mobile scaffolding is popular in the construction industry today because of its flexibility and ease of use. It allows workers to access hard-to-reach areas and provides a stable platform for them to work on. When choosing a suitable scaffold system, it’s essential to consider your job requirements, including the height and size of the structures you need to access, the weight capacity, and the terrain and surface conditions of your construction site. Additionally, prioritise safety features, compliance with regulations, durability, and material quality over cost. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and efficient working environment for you and your team.