A Guide To Assembling An Aluminum Mobile Scaffold
Before we get started, it’s important to note that NSW workplace safety law forbids individuals without a high-risk work licence from setting up scaffolding more than four metres in height. If getting a licence isn’t possible, it pays to enlist the aid of a licenced, professional scaffolder.
For scaffolding below four metres, project managers can elect to set it up themselves. That said, it’s important to get the assembly right the first time, as a single misstep can endanger workers on and around the scaffolding. Here’s an in-depth guide to aluminium scaffold erection.
Familiarising the parts
Scaffolding designs vary depending on a project’s requirements. Even as project managers have the option to do their own setups, a mobile scaffold hire Wollongong can help conceive custom setups that feature additional parts and even assemble them.
Nevertheless, it pays to get a clear idea of a standard mobile scaffolding setup. A common sight in small-scale residential and commercial projects, this setup consists of the following:
- Caster wheels: These wheels give the scaffolding its mobility, offering a host of advantages in construction projects. When setting the scaffold in position, the wheels can be locked in place to prevent the entire setup from shifting. The wheels usually come detached from the standards but can be attached via fastening pins.
- Standards and cross braces: The two standards define the overall height of the scaffolding, connected by a series of cross braces (one pair for every level). They can come as either single-width (around 7 metres wide) or double-width (around 13 metres wide). The latter may need more than two standards to support a wider working platform.
- Horizontal braces: A pair of horizontal braces support the cross braces by stabilising the base of the scaffolding. They connect the standards at the base, perpendicular to them.
- Couplers and clamps: Couplers and clamps are responsible for connecting the scaffolding tubes to form the entire setup. They come in various types, each with a load capacity and adjoining function. Right-angle couplers, for example, connect the tubes at a right angle and can support between 610 and 910 kg in personnel and equipment.
- Access ladder and gates: These accessways can be placed at strategic points along the height of the scaffolding, often next to the access ladder. Workers can keep it closed when not in use, mitigating the risk of falling off the platform.
- Platform: Scaffolds use three kinds of platforms, but the work platform is the most common among all setups. The other two include service and access platforms, the latter being an alternative if the setup’s too tall and wide for ladders to be used safely.
- Guard rails: Guard rails run along the edges of the platform, protecting workers from accidentally falling. Relative to the base of the work platform, the top rail must be no more than one metre, while the mid-rail should be roughly half a metre from the top rail.
Other parts can be installed as the situation demands. For example, a work platform that exceeds the base dimensions warrants installing outriggers to increase the scaffold’s stability. If a mobile scaffold must stand on natural ground, it must have a sole plate beneath to distribute the weight across the surface. Otherwise, the scaffolding should be tied to a stable structure.
Mobile scaffold assembly instructions
Thanks to aluminium’s lightweight and resilience, a sturdy mobile scaffold can be erected in a few hours at the earliest. In most situations, the setup time can last a few days, especially when done by a licenced scaffolder. For DIY assembly, the following instructions on how to assemble aluminium scaffolding should give you an idea:
- Using fastener pins, install the caster wheels at the base of the standards. Lock the wheels to prevent the scaffolding from shifting during assembly.
- Connect the standards with the horizontal braces to let it stand on its own. To improve the scaffolding’s stability further, install a plan brace below the rectangular base.
- Confirm that the scaffold tower is level using a spirit level. Any leaning to one side can present a potential safety hazard.
- Install the access ladder to help with the installation of the other parts. Alternatively, you can place temporary platforms on each level marked by the standards.
- Install the cross braces to help keep the base’s rectangular shape. In preparation for going further up, place scaffold stabilisers to hold the tower in place.
- If using temporary platforms, move them to the next level to repeat the setup process. It’s advisable for each level to be at least two metres high.
- Continue the installation until reaching the desired height, after which install the primary work platform, access gate, and guard rails.
Avoid skimping on personal protective equipment when erecting mobile scaffolding, especially when moving up the tower. Equip workers with fall arrest systems when working at dangerous heights. Consider platforms with toe boards to prevent equipment from falling.
A mobile scaffold contains plenty of parts. It takes installing them in the right places for them to keep the scaffold upright during work. The details in this guide may change based on the kind of scaffolding you’re after, but if you’re looking for a basic setup, the guidelines above can work.
If you’re still lost, give Skelscaff Scaffolding a call now. Visit our homepage to learn more about what we do and how we hasten construction projects with our scaffolding expertise.