What Are The Different Types Of Scaffolding And Their Uses?
Scaffolding is essential to any construction, renovation, or maintenance project. It provides a safe, secure, and reliable platform for workers to access hard-to-reach areas of a building or structure.
Unfortunately, scaffolds are also among the leading causes of workplace injuries. These accidents are often caused by negligence. After conducting site visits in 2021, SafeWork NSW found that workers in 49% of the sites accessed incomplete scaffolds.
But that’s not all. Using the wrong type of scaffolding is another cause for concern. Remember, these tools are designed for varying work conditions. Choosing the right one can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while protecting the building from damage. It’ll also improve efficiency at the construction site.
How To Choose The Proper Scaffolding
When choosing the ideal scaffolding for your project, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Project Requirements: This includes the type of work to be done, the number of workers, and the duration of the project. The project’s height, weight, and size will also determine the scaffolding required. For instance, a high-rise building project will require a different type of scaffolding than a small-scale renovation project. The scaffolding should be able to support the weight of the workers, equipment, and materials required for the project. Lightweight, medium-weight, and heavyweight scaffold working platforms can handle up to 225 kg, 450 kg, and 675 kg, respectively
- Height: The height of the scaffolding is another vital consideration. The scaffolding should be tall enough to reach the required height of the project while providing a stable working platform.
- Working environment: This includes factors such as temperature, humidity, the presence of hazardous materials, and the working area’s size and shape. For example, if the project is in a high-wind area, you must choose scaffolding that can withstand strong winds. Similarly, if the project is confined, you must select scaffolding that can fit into the space.
- Safety features: Safety should be a top priority when selecting scaffolding. Choose scaffolding with safety features such as guard rails, toeboards, and non-slip surfaces. You can also consider the ease of assembly and disassembly, mobility, and adaptability to different project requirements.
- Cost: The cost of scaffolding is another critical factor to consider. When comparing the price of different types of scaffolding, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, transportation, and storage costs. Select the one that offers the best value for your money.
- Hire Or Buy?
When deciding whether to buy scaffolding or go for scaffold hire, consider the length of your project and your budget. Buying scaffolding may be more cost-effective in the long run for long-term projects, but scaffolding hire solutions can be more practical for short-term projects or if you don’t have the budget for a large upfront investment.
With scaffold hire, you get access to high-quality equipment that is regularly inspected and maintained by the hire company, along with expert advice on the best type of scaffolding for your project. If you buy scaffolding, you have the advantage of owning the equipment and can use it for future projects, but it requires a larger upfront investment and ongoing maintenance costs.
Types Of Scaffolding
In this section, we will discuss the different types of scaffolding available in the market. Understanding the different types of scaffolding will help you choose the right one for your project.
- Suspended Scaffolding
As the name suggests, suspended scaffolding hangs from a structure. It’s often suspended from the ceiling; you’ll see it in residential renovations on high apartment buildings.
Workers use this type of scaffolding to access areas that are out of reach. It’s also ideal for tasks requiring high flexibility and movement, such as painting or cleaning windows.
- Trestle Scaffolding
Trestle scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is supported by movable tripods or ladders. It’s ideal for indoor projects, such as painting or plastering.
Trestle scaffolding is easy to set up and move around. As such, it’s a popular choice for small-scale projects.
- Cantilever Scaffolding
Cantilever scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is used in situations where an access platform cannot be based on the ground. It is also known as needle scaffolding, as it is angled out from a construction structure, such as a building or another scaffold.
Beams or trusses support it and operate as a temporary platform that is used to support workers and materials during construction, repair, and maintenance.
- Single Scaffolding
Single scaffolding is also known as bricklayer scaffolding. It is used for brickwork and is built parallel to the wall. It is not suitable for high-rise buildings, as it is not strong enough to support the weight of the structure and the workers at great heights.
- Double Scaffolding
Double scaffolding is used for stone masonry and is built parallel to the wall with two rows of frame. It’s ideal for high-rise buildings and provides a stable working platform.
- Frame Scaffolding
Frame scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is made up of frames and cross braces. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble, an advantage for small-scale projects.
- Steel Scaffolding
Steel scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is made of steel tubes. It’s solid and durable, making it ideal for heavy-duty projects.
- Modular Scaffolding
Modular scaffolding is made up of prefabricated components. Modular scaffolding is often used when traditional scaffolding cannot be used due to space constraints or other limitations. For example, modular scaffolding can be used in narrow or confined spaces or in areas where there is limited access.
- Kwikstage Scaffolding
Kwikstage scaffolding is another type of scaffolding that is made up of prefabricated components. Though it is more complex than modular scaffolding, it is easier to assemble and disassemble, making it ideal for small-scale projects.
- Stair Access Scaffolding
Stair access scaffolding provides access to different levels of a building. It is commonly used in high-rise buildings and is easy to assemble and disassemble.
- Ringlock Scaffolding
Ringlock scaffolding is gaining popularity in the construction industry due to its versatility, ease of use, and durability. It is made up of a series of prefabricated components that can be easily assembled without the need for specialised tools or equipment.
The bars of this scaffolding have a series of rings welded onto them at regular intervals, which allows the ledgers to be locked into place at various heights to form a stable working platform. This makes it easy to adjust the size of the scaffolding as needed and allows for multiple configurations to be created, including straight, curved, and circular structures.
- Mobile Scaffolding
Mobile scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is easy to move around. It is commonly used in minor construction or renovation projects, and you can quickly relocate it to different areas as needed.
- Mast Climbing Scaffolding
Mast climbing scaffolding is quite common in high-rise buildings. It consists of a platform that can be raised and lowered vertically, supported by a mast or tower, and can quickly move up and down the building.
Choosing the correct type of scaffolding is essential for ensuring your team’s safety and the working platform’s stability. When selecting a type of scaffolding, consider factors such as the height and duration of your project, the weight it needs to support, and the specific tasks you need to perform. It’s important to choose the right type of scaffolding, as each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice could greatly affect the efficiency of your project.
Regardless of the type of scaffolding you choose, always prioritise safety by following best practices, such as wearing proper personal protective equipment, securing the scaffolding to prevent collapse, and using a qualified team to assemble and disassemble the scaffolding. If you’re unsure which option is ideal for your tasks or don’t know how to set up your scaffolding, consult the experts at your local scaffold hire company, or seek advice from a qualified scaffolding contractor.