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Posted: Wednesday 25 September 2019
If you’re planning a construction project (either domestic or commercial) in the near future then you’ll need to decide whether you invest in your own scaffolding or decide to rent From a reputable local scaffolding firm. Below, we’ll explore the factors you might want to consider when making the first crucial decision.
If your job is going to be relatively brief (perhaps a week or two) then the cost of buying simply doesn’t make sense. If you are starting on one project and are not sure how many more projects will be coming your way in the future (or how frequently) then it’s also a much safer bet to rent scaffolding. In fact, most smaller contractors will rent scaffolding as they generally work on more short-term projects.
You should only start to consider buying your own scaffolding if you will regularly be working on jobs for a few months or more, particularly if you foresee a raft of similar jobs in the future where you can reuse the equipment. The middle-ground (between a month and three months) is where you really need to ask yourself whether the rental fees would stack up or if the scaffolding would pay for itself. And that's a question only you can answer.
If you are not properly trained in the erection and dismantling of scaffolding and its various assorted accessories then even if you own the scaffolding itself, you’ll need to hire skilled workers to put it up and take it down for you. If you have several years worth of experience within the industry and have the requisite certifications to your name and up-to-date knowledge of the latest OSHA regulations, then buying your own scaffolding might be a wise move.
Ultimately, it’s about safety. Scaffolding is serious equipment that can prove deadly in the wrong hands, particularly if it hasn’t been assembled and dismantled properly. Utilising a third-party scaffolding rental company means you’ll have the expertise of their team to rely on and there will be far fewer safety risks to contend with.
Next, consider the actual volume of scaffolding that will be required to complete the job ahead of you and any potential jobs further on in the future. If the job is a particularly large and ambitious one then you’ll probably need a lot of scaffolding and if you need a lot of scaffolding then you’re going to need somewhere to store it.
Storage is a consideration that is seldom mentioned but storage costs can build quickly if you don’t have a large or secure enough space set aside. Buying scaffolding isn’t just an investment in the scaffolding itself but in all of the manpower needed to not only inspect and maintain it but to move it from storage and erect/dismantle it too.
Finally, renting scaffolding equipment is far more affordable than buying your own on a per project basis. For example, scaffolding that costs £40,000 to purchase might only cost around £2,000 to rent for a month. Determine the budget for your project and make your decision accordingly.
If your project is due to take a couple of years to complete and you only have £40,000 in the budget, then purchasing might be the better option. If, however, the job is only set to take a month or two, then you’ll be left with £36,000 to invest in other areas of the project. It’s all about having a clear picture of your needs, your experience and your budget and using that picture to make an informed decision.
Posted: Wednesday 18 September 2019
Scaffolding has been utilised for decades in the world of construction, forming safe and flexible platforms from which workers have navigated and built countless towering constructs. However, once the build its complete and everyone has been sent home, what happens to the leftovers? Commercial scaffolding can generally be reused in a variety of applications, but one part of the build that generally cannot be reused is the wooden boards that are mounted between the scaffolding, creating the walkways and paths that make modern construction possible.
However, wood is a dependably reusable material, so once the project is finished there are several ways these planks can, and have, been reused. Below, we’ll examine some of the more obvious options, which might hopefully ignite some inspiration within anyone looking to repurpose reclaimed scaffold board wood that might otherwise end up on the scrap heap.
Shelving - Reclaimed scaffold board is the perfect width for more substantial shelving and as it’s been manufactured to withstand burly construction workers it is more than capable of handling your plates, cooking equipment and assorted gods. With a little makeover (sanding and varnishing can give any old piece of wood a stunning new lease of life) you’ll be left with a useable and unique piece of wood that can comfortably hold just about anything. It can also help bring that rustic ‘cottage’ look to any modern home with minimal effort and make a genuine ‘statement’ for a very minor initial cost.
Gardening - Wood is naturally at home in the garden and scaffolding boards are made from a particularly strong and sturdy wood that can be used in all manner of gardening projects. As it’s boarding that was designed to be walked over, it makes ideal and affordable decking. Scaffold boards are also wider than conventional decking so you’ll need less of them to fill the space and the results will be far more subtle and natural-looking than generic decking bought from a local hardware store. With a little creative flair, you could also use scaffold board to build some rustic garden planters and bring new life out of something that would otherwise have been thrown away.
Furniture - Upcycled furniture is all the rage right now amongst the kind of people who like to share every minute facet of their lives on Instagram. However, just because it’s a current hipster trend that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad idea. After all, hipsters also love craft beer and street food. Once again due to its strength and natural character, scaffolding board is ideally suited as a building material for boutique furniture. Coffee tables and benches are an obvious fit, but with enough ambition, you could quite feasibly use it to build anything from a door to a bathroom cabinet. Some enterprising carpenters have even been known to build dining room tables out of scaffold boards. It’s also wonderful as a work surface when used in the kitchen. It will take a lot of sanding and staining to get the desired effect, but the results might just astound you.
Reclaimed scaffold boards can often be purchased directly from your local scaffolding supplier. Simply give them a call and ask if they have any used boards that they’re looking to get rid of. You might be able to get a cracking deal. Indeed, if they are particularly wealthy with boards they might even decide to give you them free of charge! Failing that, you could always check out online auction sites like eBay and sites like Gumtree or even Freecycle. You can also, of course, buy scaffold boards brand new from most major hardware stores, but why buy new for an inflated price when you can bring fresh life to an old board instead?
Posted: Wednesday 11 September 2019
There are hundreds of major events held across the UK every year and one of the key considerations that all event planners have been putting a greater emphasis on in recent years is event accessibility for disabled attendees. Whether you’re planning a food show, a large-scale concert, a beer festival or a major street gathering; if your event wants to be a unifying true beacon for the community and attract as many guests as possible then accessibility has to be so much more than just an afterthought.
Scaffolding is an incredibly flexible temporary support system that has been helping the construction industry in one form or another for hundreds of years. It’s so flexible and affordable, in fact, that it can also be used as an ideal platform for making your events more accessible without having to build anything permanent or immovable. Below, we’ll examine four ways that scaffolding can be used to make your event more accessible.
Ensure that delegates can easily travel to and from your event location, as well as within it, without feeling like they are having to overcome any hurdles. Many people also rely on public transport, so consider locations that have decent transport links alongside accessible parking. The NEC in Birmingham includes not only accessible toilets and excellent transport links plentiful lifts and ramps. Great recent strides have been made in digital wayfinding too, with a recent investment of over £4 million in new digital displays. Of course, not all venues are quite as well featured, in which case, scaffolding can be used to quickly and affordably create structures that can transform a venue into a disability-friendly location.
Make sure that your stand is accessible to all and provide comfortable seating for those unable to stand for long periods, particularly if your event involves a stage or viewing area. According to Eventbrite, you should not only be reserving seating for disabled delegates, but also enough room for their companions so they don’t need to be separated from their parties. Eventbrite adds: “These reserved seats should have excellent sightlines to the main attraction, which may mean placing reserved areas in the front or sides of the audience.” Commercial scaffolding is ideal for creating these makeshift platforms and can be erected and dismantled as necessary.
Provide as many visual and aural aids as possible, but also try to include quiet areas for those who struggle with too much noise. When it comes to signage, too much is better than not enough as long as it’s not blocking a path or anyone’s view of the stage/stand. Use more legible typefaces and make sure signage is visible at various heights. Lighting is also key. Industry research shows that lighting can increase stand awareness by up to 50% and it’s not going to set you back a fortune. Scaffolding can be combined with a stage truss to create a clear, helpful and elegant lighting display.
Train your staff to support delegates and make sure they are prepared to help attendees with accessibility needs. This can involve anything from training them to ask guests if they require assistance (instead of assuming they require it) to using rudimentary sign language that will help point delegates in the right direction. Where scaffolding is being used, scaffolding safety sessions should be held with all staff members as there are specific considerations where scaffolding is involved. Also, remember that only trained professionals should be allowed to erect and dismantle scaffolding.
Posted: Wednesday 4 September 2019
Due to the nature of the construction industry, builders are asked to scale dramatic heights every day and it’s only thanks to builder’s scaffolding that they are able to do so safely and effectively. These structures provide them with support, provide safe access to higher working areas and also have the added benefit of concealing the work from the general public.
But it’s not only during industrial construction that scaffolding can prove useful. Its strength and flexibility make it an ideal solution for a number of situations, which we’ll explore below.
Window cleaning - Whilst a full commercial scaffolding rig might seem like overkill for domestic situations when it comes to larger-scale properties (hotels, retail stores etc) then it might not only be the safer option, but it could expedite the process too. With larger chains, it’s important to keep windows looking spotless in order to entice clients and customers whilst conforming to brand values. The particularly true when the property in question is surrounded by glass (we’re looking at you Apple). Scaffolding for window cleaners is generally easy to erect and dismantle and will allow them to work at height safely and efficiently.
Film and TV - Step on to any major Hollywood movie set and you’re likely to see almost as much scaffolding as you would on a construction site in Wigan! Indeed, there is an industry within an industry dedicated to designing scaffolding and rigging for use on film and TV shoots. From building scaffolding to help cameramen reach difficult, high angled shots, to temporary stages framed by green screen and even whole sets.
Live music and theatre - Similarly, scaffolding is often used during live music performances to display sound and lighting rigs. This scaffolding was once often seen flanking the stages at arena and stadium gigs, with roadies swinging from the rafters. Today, scaffolding safety standards are much higher, but scaffolding is still used to erect and dismantle large stages and productions.
Painting and decorating - Many painters and decorators working outdoors and at height assume that a ladder will suffice, but the support offered by a ladder is minimal at best and provides little help when working for long periods or in high winds. Scaffolding can be erected with additional handrails to allow painters to support themselves and hang their paintbrushes and paint cans. A single scaffolding rig outside a building will also take very little time to erect and will also provide the painters with that much more room to work comfortably, hopefully resulting in a more professional job.
Home improvement - if you’re planning a large-scale home improvement job such as an extension or a loft conversion, it’s unlikely you’d be safely able to complete the project without the support of scaffolding. The doesn’t need to be full industrial scaffolding either. Lightweight access platforms can be put up quite safely and easily around any home property and for more difficult indoor jobs, scaffolding is flexible enough to be constructed above staircases.
Building inspection/Civil engineering - When engineers are inspecting and surveying a site build, it’s imperative that they have secure scaffolding in place to allow them to inspect the work safely. Similarly with building inspectors, once the building is down - safety checks on certain buildings will require observations from hundreds of metres off the ground and that kind of inspection will obviously require a scaffolding rig.
Repairs and maintenance - Finally, any maintenance or repair work that requires working from a height will require scaffolding in order to ensure workers are not directly exposed to the existing faults in the building structure.
Whatever the situation, of course, safety is always of paramount importance with any ‘working at height’ situation. So, even if your job doesn’t conform to those listed above, you might want to give your local professional scaffolding company a call to see if they can help you achieve your goals safely and effectively.
Posted: Wednesday 28 August 2019
Whilst it might traditionally be seen as something of an industry of ‘traditionalists’ there have been some major innovations taking place and taking shape throughout the construction industry this side of the 21st century. Here, we’ll explore just a few of the ways the sector has evolved and is continuing to evolve as technology finally begins to catch up with the ambitions of one of the world’s largest industries.
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of digital technology is that it has allowed for more streamlined approaches in construction. Primary amongst these advanced has been the rise in off-site construction, which (as the name suggests) allows building work to take place at the factory before being transported to the site, significantly cutting down in construction times, not to mention limiting the required manpower.
Whilst the benefits of offsite construction are widely understood, the adoption rate is still relatively low worldwide, due in part to a degree of apprehension and the perceived risks of using unfamiliar methods. However, it is becoming increasingly common in the UK, particularly in the school, hotel and student residential sectors, where more modular styled building approaches have always been more popular. Digital planning technology also makes offsite construction that much simpler, as companies can better (and more quickly) communicate ideas with each other using BIM tools.
Another important area in which the construction industry has evolved in recent years (at least in the UK) is in its eco-footprint. A recent government survey revealed that the UK has focused on green building in the public and private sectors for a while now, with a 14% growth in the number of construction stakeholders who expect more than 60% of their projects to be green.
Britain’s new target for the immediate future is ambitious too, with the CCC recommending that Britain should aim to stop emissions of not only carbon dioxide but all greenhouse gases. As a sector that consumes around half of the planet’s raw material output and contributes around 50% of European carbon emissions, the construction industry has its work cut out, but it’s certainly not an insurmountable hurdle by any stretch of the imagination.
Large scale construction projects and large offsite manufacturing facilities both require stable communications. The most obvious way of improving these communications is through digital services. When you’re having to fight against patchy connectivity, it can lead to miscommunication, which can result in poor productivity and an unsafe construction work environment. With so much vital information being passed between so many people every day, everyone from the project managers right down to the floor crew needs proper support and to be able to receive the right info at the right time.
Inconsistent communications tools mean that problems on the ground might not always be fed upwards. This often leads to onsite teams developing workarounds without consulting project managers and systemic problems are ignored or skirted over as a result. Effective management of data, meanwhile, could help with the identification and communication of serious problems on both a micro and macro level.
There is a growing demand across the globe for industrial automation, with that demand reaching $158.5 billion in 2018. Many organisations are already exploring the possibilities of utilising the latest tech to make construction work less wasteful, more cost-effective and safer. Many construction sites today, for example, are employing robotics to lay bricks, 3D print buildings and even monitor the construction site (using drones).
Where robotics are looking to make a major impact, however, is in the world of commercial scaffolding. The scaffolding robot designed by Kewazo and Infineon Technologies moves along a bespoke track and tube system and using an AI algorithm to allow it to learn its surroundings and assist human workers in the most efficient way possible. Kewazo is also currently working on several automated assembly ideas that could save the industry at least 33% in labour costs and increase speeds by as much as 42%.
Not all innovations have to be so ambitious, of course. App tech, for example, could really benefit the industry as long as it’s implemented smartly. Bespoke, mobile digital services could mean the crucial difference between a project running smoothly and quickly and a project falling apart completely and apps are also being used by everyone from project managers to bricklayers to plan builds, track shipments, draw floor plans and plenty more besides.
On construction body paving the way (no pun intended) is Highways England, which recently appointed a chief data officer to prepare a data and information strategy that better utilises asset condition data to predict and optimise maintenance programmes. The strategy also tests out new digital applications using its Innovation Designated Fund to fund trials. These include the use of wearable technology, which could feed data about the location of site workers back to a hub, potentially sending them an alert if they step outside of safe working zones.
With the right approach, there is also hope that digital could play a key role in helping the industry become more sustainable. The key is in embracing digital disruption and remaining nimble enough to adapt to the latest developments as and when they reveal themselves. Only then can the construction industry truly love up to its reputation as an industrial trailblazer.
Posted: Wednesday 21 August 2019
In our last post, we explored the many benefits of improving diversity within a construction or scaffolding team as a business owner - including greater profits and a more successful, inclusive, and ethical business.
However, supervisors and business owners of scaffolding teams are not the only people with important and valued roles to play as members of a scaffolding or construction business. If you’re a team member yourself, you always have lots of influence and can choose how you wish to inspire greater confidence and inclusion for less diverse groups.
In addition, if you are a member of a minority group yourself and you work within a construction or scaffolding business, you’ll always bring your own valued, unique strengths to the team and may face a number of struggles - your wellbeing is important.
In this blog post, we lay out some key ideas we can implement to help improve diversity in the field if you are a scaffolding or construction team member.
As a team member, you can also support diversity as well. One of the key ways you can do this is by taking an interest in human rights and struggles of minority groups – including every group in this list: lesbian, gay, transgender, bi-sexual, queer, and gender fluid people (frequently referred to as LGBTQ people), women, members of other ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and people who are older or younger than the rest of your team.
Actively listening to their stories and reading and sharing what you hear with open discussions in the workplace is a great place to be an ally.
As a member of a minority group, you can find out about supportive organisations online who can help support you if you suffer any discrimination within the workplace. It can feel stressful and overwhelming to go through this, but there are many people out there who will offer support – you are not alone.
Both members of these groups can help by speaking out against discrimination if they see any discrimination happen – whether through the treatment of fellow team members or customers. The law is on your side and many people will want to hear what you have to say and will be there to support you, even though it can feel like a difficult area.
Note (legal disclaimer): we aren’t attorneys and this isn’t legal advice – if you would like legal advice, then we recommend speaking to someone who works within the law, rather than solely taking on board our advice.
We hope you found this post on improving diversity within the construction industry helpful as a team member. Our next post, we’ll explore how diversified can be improved within the construction level on a societal level.
Posted: Wednesday 14 August 2019
In our last post, we explored the many benefits of improving diversity within your construction of scaffolding team. Key among the benefits are that a diversified team tends to perform far better than competitors - bring in more money for scaffolding teams. This expands your customer base and skyrockets you profits.
Teams including more women and well-representing people of each ethnicity is a great way to build your business and show yourself a leading company in forward thinking and integrity-driven business practices.
We know the benefits of a more diversified team are many, but how can we go about improving diversity in the field? In this blog post, we lay out some key ideas we can implement to help improve diversity in the field.
Diversity in construction covers several key groups:
It is important that each of these groups are represented well within the construction industry, which has traditionally been made up of white, straight, able-bodied men. While diversity can be a sensitive and emotional topic for many people, a more diversified team represents all people who wish to work in the industry and can help grow your business and your income year on year.
As the head of a scaffolding or construction team, there are a number of things you can to support diversity among your team. First and foremost, you can support diversity by branching out in your hiring practices – to hire members from minority groups. Think broadly and consider every person on the above list when it comes to hiring new members for your team, to ensure that everyone is well represented.
You can enhance this supportive atmosphere further by being a strong leader with integrity, who seeks to create a culture of respect in which bullying, harassment, or other derogatory behaviour isn’t tolerated.
We hope you found this post on improving diversity within the construction industry helpful as a supervisor or boss of a construction or scaffolding team In our next post, we’ll explore how diversity can be improved within the construction and scaffolding sector by team members themselves.
Posted: Wednesday 7 August 2019
Construction and scaffolding are best known as a working man’s job, and the field can sometimes suffer from lack of diversity and inclusion. As with all sectors of work, diversity and inclusion is an important issue, as new roles are providing for every person within society.
Beyond the ethical benefits of improving diversity in the field, there are also a number of economic and social benefits to developing a more diversified culture within the field of construction and scaffolding. Below, explore the benefits offered by working towards a more diverse construction or scaffolding team.
Many studies show that the more diversified your team, the better it performs. Different people have different life experiences that can contribute to new ways of approaching a problem and can provide new solutions in a team used to doing things a certain way. As noted by the National Centre for Diversity:
“We know that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Research has shown this to be the case time and time again, including this report from McKinsey that shows that gender-diverse companies are 14% more likely to perform better than non-diverse companies, with ethnically diverse companies 35% more likely to perform better.”
As a scaffolding or construction business, how would you like to build you profits? One simple way to do this is by ensuring you have a more diversified team behind you.
Diversified teams, those with both men and women and teams that include a mix of different ethnicities see their profits soar. McKinsey reports that diverse scaffolding and construction teams outdo their competitors and bring in more profits - up to 33%.
One of the biggest draws of having a more diversified team is that you’ll appeal to a broader set of customers. For example, a female customer may feel a lot more comfortable and safe with a team made up of male and female members - as it shows the team has respect and confidence in both women and men.
The same would be true when appealing to customers of different ethnicity. Customers like to feel well represented and confident that someone can understand the concerns and worries that are experienced by people of their ethnicity, gender, or orientation.
In addition, you’ll also immediately show that you are an ethical and socially aware business that is inclusive to all kinds of people - not just one group.
More and more teams in the scaffolding and construction sectors are becoming more and more diversified as they recognize the many social, ethical, and economic benefits of doing so. As a scaffolding or construction company, you don’t want to be left behind by your forward thinking competitors.
But how do you go about building a more diversified scaffolding and construction industry? Stay tuned for our advice on how to do this on both the individual and societal level.
Posted: Thursday 1 August 2019
In our last post, we explored the starting points of all good scaffolding safety: weather awareness, all the correct safety gear, and ensuring the construction of scaffolding structures follows all of the right rules and regulations - as outlined by the UK government. In this post, we dive into more of the ins and outs of scaffolding safety in the UK. Let’s dive in.
First and foremost, scaffolding teams that are protected by safe practices must always be under the watch of a well-trained, licensed, and experienced supervisor. Supervisors must be there at all times to ensure that the work undertaken by workers matches their skill set and experience.
Supervisors can also make sure that workers are each falling in line with correct safety procedures as they go about their work. For example, supervisors can make sure that scaffolders on site are wearing the correct safety equipment, such as hard hats and workman boots.
Safe use of scaffolding requires that scaffolding workers are always adequately trained, and have the qualifications to back this up. How can scaffolding training help protect scaffolders at work? First and foremost, training will show scaffolders which types of scaffolding, as well as the height of the scaffolding, is required in each situation.
In addition, scaffolding training can help scaffolders identify potential safety hazards on site - for example, such as guidance on what to do if they injure themselves through a fall. Moreover, as the field is in a state of constant evolution and flux, and new forms of scaffolding are used - as well as new safety hazards arise - scaffolders must continually undergo professional training and make sure their license and knowledge up to date in this vital area.
Scaffolding safety relies on teamwork. Scaffolding is not a lone man (or woman’s) job, scaffolders work in a team to ensure the job gets done. As such, scaffolding workers themselves can rely on the eyes of each other to look out for any safety hazards. Team members can advise and inform other members of the group if they see that they may be at potential risk - such as if they see another team member using equipment incorrectly.
In addition, scaffolding safety is not just about what you should do - it’s also about what you need to be mindful of never doing. Scaffolders should always inspect scaffolds - before any work to make sure that the scaffold has not been damaged. For example, following some stormy weather, scaffolds may be damaged and planks or other items may be damaged. As such, workers should make sure that this is not the case before they begin their work.
Posted: Wednesday 24 July 2019
Scaffolding can be a risky business, every year, thousands of scaffolding workers are badly injured due to the avoidance of following key safety regulations. Whether it comes to setting up the scaffolds, to undertaking the work on unsteady scaffolding structures, there are any ways that something can go badly wrong on the scaffolding site.
But which scaffolding rules matter most when it comes to working on a scaffolding project? In this post, we dive into the most important scaffolding safety rules you need to follow for every single scaffolding project you undertake. Find out more about them, below.
A scaffolding structure is only as good as its design. This is why all scaffolding structures used in the UK need to follow stringent guides, matching certain formations, reaching particular heights, and falling in line with the right construction materials. Here’s what the government had to say about getting this aspect right:
“It is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 that unless a scaffold is assembled to a generally recognised standard configuration, eg NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds or similar guidance from manufacturers of system scaffolds, the scaffold should be designed by bespoke calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength, rigidity and stability while it is erected, used and dismantled.”
If you’re working on a scaffolding project, how can you ensure that the contractor you hire falls in line with these regulations? Firstly, ensure that you give them all the details they need to make sure they have the correct scaffolding structures to do the job. Things to include in your initial briefing of scaffolding businesses, may include the height and size of the building. With the right information, scaffolding contractors will come back to you to outline how they are going to fulfill the right regulations for the project.
Of key importance is using the right safety gear. Professional scaffolders will always come equipped with the right gear to protect themselves in their work, from hard hats to hi-vis work vests. Most importantly, scaffolding workers should always wear hard hats on site. Hard hats are a legal requirement, to protect workers from injury. The classic toe-capped boots also work well to protect feet working at height.
Smart contractors in the scaffolding sector always have an awareness of the weather conditions and how this will impact their job. Poor weather conditions can really threaten the safety and security of scaffolding contractors as they go about their work. Severe rain, snow, or frost can all make completing a project difficult and can bring a strong element of danger to the job.
A responsible team takes on the role of ensuring they are fully aware of weather conditions and may opt to postpone work until a brighter, clearer day to undertake work adequately and protect the safety of their team.
These starting points show you what needs to be put in place to ensure scaffolding is safe. In our next post, we dive further into the safety of scaffolding.
Posted: Wednesday 17 July 2019
Your commercial building may be in need of some renovations at height, or your home may be in need of some TLC. Whether it’s a paint-job you require, or you need to have your whole roof repair or replaced, scaffolding can help you reach the top of your property in order to get a worse-for-wear roof looking brand new again.
However, before you kickstart your renovations, you need to be mindful that you are following the correct regulations. From ensuring your scaffolding team is decked out in the right safety gear, to making sure you have all the correct licenses to undertake the work you need to do on your property: there are several rules and regulations that hold you accountable when it comes to scaffolding. Below, we dive into to the rules and regulations you need to take into account before you begin the work you need to do on your property.
Before you begin your scaffolding work, you may take it for granted that you have the permission you need to undertake the work you want to do on your building. However, you need to ensure that this is the case.
The government requires you to work with a scaffolding company who have the correct license they need to undertake the work. Before you hire a reputable scaffolding company to do the job, and you let the work on your property commence, check to make sure they are fully licensed to do the work.
When it comes to safety you have two areas you need to carefully consider before you begin scaffolding work. Firstly, you need to consider your safety and the safety of other people who will be in the vicinity of the building while work is taking place.
According to the government’s website, you need to consider whether you need to undertake scaffolding work at less busy times of the day - such as during the workday, as opposeD to rush hour or the lunchtime rush. In addition, you also may need to obtain a highway closure from your local council.
In addition, you also need to regularly check scaffolding to make sure it’s safe - as is required by law in the UK. When do you have to check scaffolding to see if it’s safe use? Firstly, you need to double check it before anyone uses it, to make sure that nobody can hurt themselves while they scale the building to undertake work.
Secondly, the government requires you to also check scaffolding for every 7 days while it’s up. Lastly, you also need to carefully check scaffolding after alterations, damage or very bad weather conditions.
Last but not least, you should always make sure your team are up to scratch when it comes to training, as the government note;
“All employees should be competent for the type of scaffolding work they are undertaking and should have received appropriate training relevant to the type and complexity of scaffolding they are working on.”
Each of the above rules are key to ensuring safety when doing renovations - make sure you comply to the correct rules for a seamless, safe, and easy construction project.
Posted: Wednesday 10 July 2019
In this current series of blog posts, we are covering how scaffolding, construction, and architecture can be made greener to help mitigate the worst impacts of the rapidly changing climate.
In our last post, we explored last week how eco-friendly construction sites are turning to greener production and manufacturing methods in order to help lessen their impact on the wider environment of the planet.
In this blog post, we explore how the scaffolding and construction industry can become more eco-friendly and help save the planet by designing and building greener residential buildings. In our next post in the series, we will explore how greener commercial buildings can be designed, developed, and built across the world.
Every day, we all help contribute to the ill health of our beautiful home by burning energy inefficiently. We overly rely on the heating to keep us warm, the air-conditioner to keep us cold during the hot summer months, we leave lights on in rooms we are no longer using, and we overuse all of our electronic equipment. Not only does this skyrocket our energy bills, costing us money every month, it also has a bad impact on the planet.
While there is lots we can do independently, to help mitigate our own carbon footprints: we look to architects, builders, and designers to design and produce highly energy efficient homes and commercial properties - such as all of our many offices, schools, and shopping centres, to help lessen the worst impacts on the environment.
Green homes begin with good design. Homes designed to benefit the environment with energy saving design features are called ‘smart homes’. Smart homes are designed to be earth-friendly and to conserve on energy.
Smart homes begin with clever design. Homes are designed to maximize the daylight as much as possible through properties that can be fitted with large windows and solar panels. Homes are positioned so that they can be bathed in sunlight. To greenify indoor light, LED lights - which save on energy bills - can be installed.
In addition, smart homes are also designed so that any gaps in the construction are properly sealed: such as the joints, doors, and vents.
Installation also has a role to play in saving on energy, as Stephanie Horowitz, managing director of ZeroEnergy Design (speaking to Forbes) notes, “Low-tech solutions such as continuous insulation and air sealing have a big impact on the energy efficiency of a home — especially in cold climates,” says Horowitz. “These systems don’t break. There is no maintenance. And they have been around for a really long time.”
Green home design is important for saving energy bills and the planet. There is lots that can be done to help improve the energy efficiency of our homes through smart design. In part four, we show you how we can build eco-friendly commercial properties.
Posted: Wednesday 3 July 2019
In our current series of blog posts, we will explore how scaffolding, construction, and architecture are all becoming greener to help save our planet from the predicted chaos of the changing climate.
As explored last week, in our post on the new eco-friendly materials more and more construction companies are using to construct new property around the world; more and more of us are finding new ways to help save the planet. In this blog post, we explore how construction is becoming more eco-friendly.
One of the key ways the scaffolding and construction industry is going green is by choosing to use low-emission building practices on site.
In our last post, we explored how recycled and low-energy output materials are incredibly helpful in working towards a healthier planet. An eco-friendly environment on a construction site also comes down to the amount of energy we use on the construction site.
For example, the mechanical equipment used by construction workers can contribute to the waste of energy - which is bad for the environment. Mechanical construction equipment should be powered by electric, rather than diesel.
WP Group gives some important tips on how to pick the right mechanical gear for construction on site:
“Choosing the right type of equipment for your site needs is just as important to begin with. When an on-site generator is needed, for example, make sure that the right sized generator is used to cover the required energy usage. Consider using smaller generators for periods of lower energy demand. This may mean hiring more than one, but can help guarantee you’re not over-using energy unnecessarily.”
Travel to and from the site is also key. How we choose to travel to and from our places of work has a huge impact on increased emissions. As such, smart companies opt to ride share; with construction workers carpooling or vanpooling to and from work, and when moving construction materials around.
The greenest among us, looking for increased well being, energy, and fitness also choose to jump on a bike and cycle to the construction site to completely reduce their impact on the carbon emissions of the planet.
In addition, transportation is also a key issue when it comes to transporting materials. If the materials used for building are transported from far-off places, such as other cities and countries, and excessive use of cars and planes are required for their efficient and fast transportation, then this poses an environmental concern.
Transportation, such as planes, cars, and boats - common items used to transport scaffolding and construction materials, are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Shortening the supply chain and using local materials that can be transported more quickly is important for helping to lessen carbon emissions that result from the use of transportation for materials in the industry.
Posted: Wednesday 26 June 2019
The latest reports on global warming are bleak: the top scientists tell us we only have a total of 12 years to curb the catastrophic events that will come with a small rise in the overall temperature of the planet. Mass floods, storms, and forest fires will bring the grand destruction of our homes and communities, and countries across the globe will experience severe effects of the temperature rising.
As such, many communities around the world are striving to curb their impact on our planet. From eating less meat, to biking to work, to changing to green energy sources; individuals, families, and businesses alike are coming up with innovative new ways to lessen their destructive impact on the planet.
In the scaffolding and construction industry, we also realize we can have a large impact on making the world a safer, saner, and greener space for ourselves are future generations by opting for less destructive materials, building methods, and architectural design and functionality.
In our current series of blog posts, we will explore how architecture is becoming greener; from the construction site, to building design, to how buildings are powered. In this blog post, we explore how construction is becoming more eco-friendly.
Beyond construction practices themselves, become more eco-friendly on the construction site, all begins with the materials we use. From bamboo to recycled wood, there are many strong, sturdy, inexpensive, and energy-efficient materials we can utilize when it comes to building new commercial buildings and houses for people to live and work in.
Below, we highlight some of the very best green materials that people around the world are beginning to utilise in their construction of new infrastructure.
When it comes to a greener construction site, first and foremost, we need to look at the materials we use to save on emissions. Choosing eco-friendly materials for constructing building saves energy on their manufacture and production - this reduces carbon emissions. As such, it’s important that we take stock of the materials we use in building.
Many construction companies reduce carbon emission by opting to build with recycled/secondary materials, as opposed to new materials. They also choose to use more eco-friendly materials, such as:
Bamboo: as BroadSword note, bamboo is big news in the world of green construction:
“Bamboo is increasing in popularity as a building material. Bamboo is very sustainable since it grows quickly. While trees such as pine and cedar can be reforested, growing them can take years. Bamboo can be reforested much more promptly and grows throughout the world. Bamboo, like true wood, is a natural composite material with a high strength-to-weight ratio useful for structures.”
Recycled wood is another great choice for building new homes and other important commercial buildings. Using recycled wood from older homes, and other furniture is a great use of wood that we no longer need. Using recycled wood can help us avoid mass deforestation, something which is vital to cooling the planet.
Rammed earth refers to the use of compact dirt that has been tamped down. Rammed earth has been used around the world for many centuries and is highly reliable and sturdy. As a material straight from the ground, dirt is highly energy-efficient, and does not require wildy intensive processes for extraction and mining.
Greener buildings all begin with the right eco-friendly building materials. More and more construction companies are utilising these great products in their buildings. In our next blog post, we explore how the industry is becoming greener though better construction practices.
Posted: Wednesday 19 June 2019
In the last post, “Things you need to consider before beginning a scaffolding project: part one”, we discussed the first two key things that you need to think about before beginning an important scaffolding project: one, the types of scaffolding that you need for your unique project, and two: the reputation of your supplier - can you trust them to do a great job for you? In our second post in the series, we will tell you what else you need to keep in mind before beginning a scaffolding project.
You need repairs, you need renovations - maybe you even need a new building built as soon as is humanly possible. However, a key thing that many eager renovators and designers overlook is the condition of the weather. For example, if you are planning building, repair, or renovation work during the winter, certain safety procedures need to be put in place and certain particulars need to be considered before work can begin on your plot.
The doomy nature of the winter weather: think hail storms, massive amounts of snow, and icy downpours can all impede work and severely limit the amount that your scaffolding team get done. As such, if you want work done as quickly as possible then winter is not the best season for you.
In addition to impacting the speed and efficiency of scaffolding projects, winter weather can also be very dangerous for the workers undertaking construction and repair work on your building. Winter weather frequently increases the amounts of slips, falls, and injuries we see in our industry. As such, if you are determined to build or renovate in the winter weather (and it can be done), please take the time to make sure that proper safety precautions are in place. This takes us to our second point…
In addition to taking the time to consider the weather before you begin scaffolding work, the safety of the working team should be one of the top things on your priority list. A good team should always come well prepared with safety gear: double check to see if that scaffolding team servicing your building are wearing high-vis jackets, safety, helmets, and harnessing (if scaling heights) - this will ensure everyone is safe as they work.
Secondly, you also want to ensure the safety of everyone on site - below and around the scaffolding and workers. Make sure you let everyone who will be on site know beforehand when and where the workers will be working and how long for. Provide alternative routes if doorways will be blocked by workers: it’s important that everyone who comes onto the site is well prepared for scaffolders to be there. Don’t forget the safety helmets: even if people are just passing by, each should be protected with the right headgear.
Don’t begin without considering these key things
We hope this small series was helpful in helping you understand the key things you need to have laid out before you can get started with a scaffolding project. Looking for more tips? Check out our past blog posts for more helpful advice from our expert team of scaffolders.
Posted: Wednesday 12 June 2019
Before beginning a scaffolding project, there are a few things you need to consider before you go ahead with a scaffolding project. In this blog post, we dive into all the things you need to have considered and lined up before you give the go ahead and jump into your next scaffolding project.
Before you begin a scaffolding project, you need to know what kinds of scaffolding you need. You need to know what the different kinds of scaffolding products and types you need for your specific project, different projects need different kinds of scaffolding.
For example, supported platform scaffolding is ideal for many projects, as it is strong, reliable and offers height. This type of scaffolding is designed to be tough in order to reliably support all the materials that construction work requires.
In comparison, a mobile tower scaffold, is constructed with pre-formed framing components, it also has wheels attached to the bottom of the scaffold structure. This type of scaffolding structure is ideal if you have a large building and need to low level work quickly and efficiently, such as clean or refurbish low-level windows. These types of scaffolds are designed to be strong and sturdy, able to take the weight of both workers and work materials, while also being light enough to easily be moved from one place to the next.
Another type of popular scaffolding that may be a better fit for your needs is the birdcage scaffold. The birdcage scaffolding is frequently the kind of scaffolding you see when you walk into a cathedral and the roof is being repaired. Parallel rows rest beneath a platform. Birdcage scaffolding is a great kind of scaffolding to look into if you want some internal work done on your ceilings.
Feel unsure about the kinds of scaffolding you should look into? Reach out to a scaffolding service provider and chat. A qualified and experienced scaffolding professional can help match you to the right kinds of scaffolding for your project needs.
In addition to looking into the types of scaffolding you will need for your projection, you should also take the time to carefully research the reputation of the different scaffolding service providers that you are considering in your area.
To find out more about the different scaffolding supplies your area, check out online testimonial sites - even a simple Google can bring up the past reviews of a business - to find out more about each one. Independent reviews are a great way to find out more about the experience, integrity, and skill of a scaffolding business.
In addition, you can also find out more about what a company’s past customers thought of their work by checking out their testimonial page on their website. Most professional scaffolding companies will have a separate page for reviews from past customers. Happy customers are most than delighted to share a positive review of a company. However, if a service provider doesn’t have any testimonials on their page, it may be a sign that past customers were less than pleased with their scaffolding services - so look elsewhere!
Next week, we will cover what else you need to keep in mind before you begin a scaffolding project. Stay tuned.
Posted: Wednesday 5 June 2019
Scaffolding has been used to build, restore, and repair buildings throughout history. The history of scaffolding is rich, having been used to support buildings in all different cultures around the world. Have you always been curious about where scaffolding began? In this post, we explore where scaffoldings journey began and where it’s at now.
Scaffolding was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. The Egyptians used scaffolding to build their impressive pyramids. Scaffolds were regularly used to raise the different blocks used to create the magnificent structures quickly and easily.
Sources also show that the ancient Greeks also used scaffolding in their building work frequently. The Berlin Foundry Cup shows the use of scaffolding in building work in the ancient cities of Greece. The Berlin Foundry Cup famous red-figure kylix (what we would call a cup for drinking) dates very far back, to the early 5th century BC. The cup was designed and created by an Attic vase painter, referred to by historians as the Foundry Painter. The cup shows that scaffolding was used during this time in history.
Scaffolding was also used in the Medieval period. Monks were the unlikely suspects, using scaffolding to help build, repair, and restore their precious places of religious worship.
In addition, history books also show that scaffolding was used by many workers in the Victorian times. Scaffolding was made out of a selection of ropes and wood to help with the building and repair of structures. Hemp rope, wire, and sisal were used as ropes to hold the different scaffolds in place for climbing up to heights as high as the building required. Sheer lashing and square lashing were used to tie the scaffolds in place (sheers are also known as roping).
The Victorian scaffolds themselves were made out of wood. In addition, as would be shocking to professional scaffolders today, safety gear - such as helmets and vests were nowhere in sight on a Victorian scaffold: workers regularly wore everyday clothes, such as suits to undertake their work on the scaffolds. 7 Bays Scaffolding highlights more about the change in materials during this time:
“It wasn’t until the early 1900s that metal scaffolding tubes as we know them today were introduced. Prior to this date, lengths of bamboo lashed together with hemp rope were used widely as a method of creating and erecting a scaffold frame.”
Scaffolding has followed us throughout history, with scaffolding taking on stronger forms and more regulation in the modern era. From the 1920s, the materials used in scaffolding were really stepped up a notch. Before the 1920s, wood was regularly used as the basis of the scaffolding platforms used to repair and build on buildings. After the 1920s, wood was traded in for tubular steel scaffolding.
Scaffolding has had an interesting history, from the pyramids of Egypt to the scaffolding of the modern day, scaffolding has been integral to many societies throughout history and without the world.
Posted: Wednesday 29 May 2019
What should you look for when choosing a scaffolding company? Choosing a scaffolding company can be a tricky task. It’s difficult to know what to look for and which boxes you need to tick when taking your pick of the many scaffolding businesses out there.
In this post, we show you how to choose a professional business to fulfil your scaffolding needs. Read on for the key things you need to look for in a scaffolding company to ensure that this happens.
Cost is a huge factor when considering which scaffolding company to go for. After all, you want to go for a company that does not exceed your set budget. However, the cost you pay for scaffolding services also tells you a lot about the level of service you will get. Avoid budget scaffolding: this suggests that the quality will not be quite what you’re looking for. You don’t want to sacrifice on building structures, renovations, repairs and more.
In addition, you need to make sure that your scaffolding company is a group of experts you can work well with. When choosing your scaffolding company, be sure to speak to the team you’re considering on the phone beforehand. You want your chosen scaffolding company to be friendly, agreeable, and take direction well if you need any additional work or any changes made.
Experience is one of the key things you should look for when choosing a scaffolding company to meet your needs. Take a look at the company’s website to see if they have recorded how many year’s experience they have in the business.
Also, take the time to see what kinds of experience they have. What kinds of projects have they worked on before? Take a look at their site to see their gallery and past case studies to get an idea of the kinds of experience they have.
Last but not least, you want to check out the scaffolding company you’re sizing up to see what kinds of training they have. For example, you want to check to know that the company you’re assessing has received the right health and safety training, as well as the correct training to do their job. Browse their website and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
As a business, you want to make sure your building, repair, or renovation project runs as efficiently as possible. Take the time to size up each of these key factors with every business you take a look at.
Posted: Wednesday 22 May 2019
There are several uses for commercial scaffolding that you may not have considered. From events to renovations, in this blog post, we cover the top uses for commercial scaffolding. Read on for more details.
Many businesses utilise scaffolding in events. Scaffolding is often used to support grand-scale events. Scaffolds are easy to use in a variety of situations. Scaffolding is easy to transport and can be put up and taken down easily, making it perfect for temporary events. Expertly placed scaffolding is strong and reliable and can be used to ensure your events go down without any issues.
One use for a commercial client may be utilising scaffolding for a fundraising concert in which scaffolds are required to help support lighting, stages, and more.
Point Access Limited explores how you can use scaffolding at events:
“If an event is particularly popular then a temporary grandstand might be added, and scaffolding can support a full range of facilities, from toilets to extra seating and bars. Like concerts, a sporting event might also need scaffolding to support lights, cameras or speakers.”
One obvious use of scaffolding for commercial clients is the use of scaffolding for construction needs. Despite new innovations in the construction industry, scaffolding is still the go-to resource for many leading commercial business owners. Scaffolding is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to undertake construction work on your building.
Scaffolding is regularly put up at events for extensive seating for large crowds of people. Temporary seating you see at games events, such as a hockey or football game is a prime example of how scaffolding is used for seating at events.
In addition, scaffolding can also be used to give your advertising a boost: improving your reach and the number of leads and conversions you generate for your business.
You can place your posters or other marketing materials on scaffolding to ensure its more easily seen by those you are trying to target. Scaffolding is a great choice if you are setting up for temporary events and need a large space to hang your advertising materials. Scaffolding is easy to set up and take down with the help of a professional, expert scaffolding team.
Scaffolding is regularly used to undertake renovations and repairs on commercial buildings. Buildings need regular maintenance to maintain its structure, safety, and aesthetic appeal. Scaffolding is thus regularly used to undertake maintenance work to maintain commercial buildings.
There are several types of scaffolding often used for commercial clients. For example, if the outside of a property is being painted, rolling scaffolding can be used to paint around the outside of the building by workers.
Alternatively, suspended scaffolding is - just as it sounds like - scaffolding the is hung securely from the roof of a property. Suspended scaffolding is ideal for roofing repairs or innovations on commercial buildings, as well as repairs and renovation work to be undertaken at the top of the building.
Posted: Wednesday 15 May 2019
Despite the many benefits of working in the scaffolding industry, such as high work satisfaction and the great team spirit that often comes with such work, scaffolding professionals can also be prone to stress. In this post, we will explore how to protect against work-related stress and boost wellbeing in the scaffolding sector.
First and foremost, a healthy environment is dependent on ensuring that mental health and stress are discussed openly. Workers should be made aware that support is available to them, and that they can come and discuss any stress or problems with management. A supportive work environment will help protect workers against stress and burnout.
Good management should care of the mental health of their workers. You should teach managers to spot stress, burnout and unhappiness in their workers. Every manager should be aware of these common warning signs: showing up to work late, isolation from a group, forgetfulness and lack of concentration, and irritation or a negative mood.
Everyday working stress is a common occurrence in every sector, but mounting and ongoing stress can easily snowball into depression - especially for workers prone to this common mental health condition. Women are particularly vulnerable, suffering from depression twice as often as men. However, suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50. This suggests that men can often struggle with depression in silence due to the social pressures and stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health problems and emotions among men.
This stigma can be particularly felt in male-dominated industries in which there is a strong association with certain social norms, such as the construction and scaffolding industry, as Construction Manager note:
“In a workforce that is predominantly male, specific risks associated with male mental health also need to be considered. The "tough guy" image widespread in the construction industry is very much to blame. Asking for help and opening up about emotions are just not things that come naturally to many of those working in the industry. The combination of these factors results in many suffering in silence.”
As such, a strong and supportive work environment in which mental health is openly discussed and un-stigmatised can go a long way in ensuring scaffolding workers have the support they need and feel that they will be treated fairly and with compassion if they are struggling with depression and stress.
If a manager sees that a worker is struggling, it’s important to reach out to them to offer support. Address the issue in private and ask if there is anything that can be done to help. Point workers to external support, such as the charities Mind or Anxiety UK, or suggest a visit to the GP to ask about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - the most effective treatment currently available for stress and depression.
Healthy work environments make all the difference to construction workers struggling with stress, burn out, and unhappiness at work. With mental health being a common experience in the industry, it’s all the more important to take the necessary steps to protect the mental health of your workforce.
Posted: Wednesday 8 May 2019
Scaffolding can be dangerous work for industry professionals. Intimidating heights, long hours, and heavy materials all contribute to the risky nature of the job. Luckily, the industry has a number of standards in place to protect against injury and fatal falls.
A study from the NASC Safety Report shows that injury, falls from a great height, and fatal falls are at an all-time low:
“The number of accidents and injuries recorded by NASC members fell to an all-time low in 2017, with just 89 incidences occurring on-site throughout the year. The NASC Safety Report reveals there were just 17 major injuries recorded in 2017, down 37% from 27 in 2016, and 89 incidences in total, down from 96 in 2016. There was also a 46% reduction in falls from height and 36% reduction in manual handling injuries year-on-year. Additionally, no members of the public were injured around NASC member scaffolds in 2017.”
While the study is now somewhat dated, the results helped shaped industry standards today. How can we continue to make scaffolding safer? In this post, we explore the top 4 ways we can make scaffolding work safer.
Health and Safety Training: Ensuring Teams Have the Knowledge and Practical Know-How
The most responsible scaffolding firms ensure that all of their staff members are trained in the right safety rules and regulations, and have sound knowledge of how to work with scaffolding safely - as well as training in how to handle any issues that may arise.
All of our staff at Cambridge Scaffolding are fully Health & Safety trained, with full knowledge of how to safely use scaffolding materials and expertise in how to handle a crisis.
Scaffolding teams should always come well prepared with the correct safety gear: helmets and harnesses should be used by every worker to prevent injury. In addition, safety ropes can also be used by workers and can secure pieces of scaffolding or other gear.
Scaffolding is all about teamwork. The right team of scaffolding professionals will be mindful of the roles, positions, and experience of their fellow team members and know how to listen to and support those they are working with to get the job done.
Head-strong workers may not think through their work, take directions well, or be mindful of the needs and experience of their team members. Team players look out for team members and work together to ensure work is undertaken to the best of their ability.
Scaffolding is limited by different weight capacities. Some teams may take a relaxed approach to weight capacity and can overload their structures. This is highly dangerous. A safety-focused team will always take the weight capacity of each scaffolding structure into account and monitor it carefully to ensure that structures are never overloaded.
Scaffolding safety is composed of various elements, such as the right attitude and knowledge of the team, as well as the correct gear. As such, the best scaffolding teams take a holistic approach to scaffolding safety.
Cambridge Scaffolding prides itself on a fully-trained, responsible, and experienced team. To find out more about us, click here.
Posted: Wednesday 1 May 2019
The scaffolding industry is on the brink of rapid change. The rapid pace of evolving technology is changing life all around us, and it is poised to have a seismic impact on the scaffolding sector. There is an opportunity here for the entire industry to evolve and branch out.
Drones are being adopted by several different industries, from real estate to the creative arts. Building author Tim Clark notes the potential cost to jobs and revenue for the scaffolding field:
“A report in 2016 by PwC into commercial drone use placed the value of labour or services that could be replaced by a global market of drone service applications at over £100bn by 2025, with £36.6bn of that in infrastructure alone. At present the technology, while representing a step change in certain capabilities, is mainly used in construction for large site surveys that are followed up at a later date with more accurate, traditional techniques.”
But are drones a serious threat to the scaffolding industry as a whole or could they be beneficial? Find out more below.
Drones, sometimes called UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), are used to collect photos and videos of construction projects. Many construction workers may worry that a drone could potentially take their job, as the devices scale heights and collect data in record time.
However, as with many other professions, drones can potentially enhance the construction industry, rather than take jobs away. For example, drones can be used to quickly and efficiently capture data on site conditions before construction work begins. As opposed to taking away the jobs of scaffolders, this data will then need to be decoded and fitted in to the wider project by a knowledgeable team.
In addition, drones can also be used to measure progress based on the data they collect about the project as it moves through the completion cycle.
In addition, drones can also help improve safety for scaffolding workers by keeping a close and far-reaching eye on changing conditions and potentially threatening situations. This can be a great plus for business safety, as scaffolders can send drones up to high buildings rather than having to scale the highest and most dangerous heights themselves.
Drones can also fill skills gaps and make it easier for scaffolding workers to complete jobs quickly and efficiently.
In contrast, there are several risks that come with using drones in the industry. Drones are vulnerable to hacking, as they rely on open ports to be controlled. Hacked drones can easily be stolen, making drones a risk of lost revenue and an issue of data security.
In addition, they also come with a number of health and safety concerns. Drones can be highly distracting to scaffolders and project work; this can be dangerous when scaffolders are working on tall buildings and may be thrown off by the presence of drones.
AI and tech is taking over. It’s easy to feel that your job will soon be replaced with technology, which can both enhance and bring new limitations to the field. We can’t know for sure how drones will impact the industry in the future, but for now, they can be a great asset to a team of scaffolding experts, as long as best practices are observed.
Posted: Wednesday 24 April 2019
Construction projects depend on coordination. The site needs to be run efficiently, sticking to both budgets and timescales to ensure the client stays happy and the job gets finished. Workers and specialists need to know exactly what they’re doing on any given day, and when to expect materials to arrive.
Scaffolding is no exception. It needs to have been placed and erected properly before working at height can start. If it’s not there on time, the entire project might grind to a halt, costing everyone time and money. In this post, we take a look at some innovative solutions for delivering scaffolding.
The air in London is getting so bad, even with the congestion charge, that a new “ultra-low” emissions area is being set up. @SadiqKhan explained that the zone will grow incrementally:
“I want to expand the ULEZ from 2020 for heavy vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries so that all of London will benefit from cleaner air. Then from 2021, I want to expand it up to the North and South Circular roads for light vehicles, including cars and vans. These measures will help improve the air that millions of Londoners breathe.”
Although there have been a few interesting April Fool’s stories about how companies are going to handle this change, the needs of construction sites inside the new ULEZ bear thinking about seriously.
It’s likely that scaffolding companies will need to be innovative (although perhaps not with drones!) to keep costs down and get equipment to where it needs to be, on time. It may be that companies band together to purchase shared electric HGVs to get scaffolding to sites in central London.
Writing for @TheB1M, Peter Smisek describes a new robot which may offer a serious boost to scaffolding companies, particularly those working on major buildings like tower blocks:
“Created by Munich-based start up Kewazo, in collaboration with robotics expert Infineon Technologies, the scaffold-carrying robot claims to increase assembly efficiency by more than 40%.”
This technology will be less about transporting the scaffolding to the construction site and more about rapidly speeding up assembly. Scaffolding parts will be lifted to height at a much quicker pace, allowing for quicker turnaround times. This will make it possible for companies to take on more contracts, since they’ll be less limited by erection times. The robot will not be able to inspect the scaffold properly, so the human factor will still be required, but for a major scaffold this technology could shave hours or even days off a job estimate.
Shorter erection and dismantling times will also mean less time needs to be applied for from the local authorities. Gaining the proper permissions can be difficult in some circumstances, so shorter times will be welcomed by everyone.
At Cambridge Scaffolding, we’re proud to be a part of this innovative industry. We combine expertise, experience and technology to meet the needs of our clients in a timely fashion. Get in touch today to find out more, or take a look around our site.
Posted: Wednesday 17 April 2019
Scaffolding is one of the most versatile tools in construction today. Working at height means we can renovate existing structures with relative ease, and build new structures that tower above everything else.
What’s more, modern scaffolding is safer than ever before, thanks to innovative techniques and robust safety regulations in place. People who live in urban areas will see scaffolding almost every day of their lives. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that scaffolding is being used in ways that the inventors never intended. In this post, we take a look at scaffolding being used a little differently.
Such is its versatility and adaptability, modular scaffolding can be used in almost any major building project. It is these qualities which make it such a fantastic medium for art. Using scaffolding, artists are able to quickly assemble larger-than-life constructs on a temporary basis.
This also means that the art installations themselves are highly transportable, and artists can take down a project and reassemble it to the same design in a completely different part of the country - or even the world.
One example is Ben Long’s scaffold lion, originally assembled in Tottenham in 2012. The sculpture, which took six months to achieve, was over 10 metres tall when completed. It was intended to reflect the way an urban landscape can change and adapt, making the use of a heraldic English lion all the more fitting for the capital.
Ben Long describes the project:
“I’ve always loved Landseer’s lions in Trafalgar Square but I suppose what I am offering is an alternative to stone or bronze monuments – Scaffolding Sculptures reflect the change and evolution that the urban environment is constantly subjected to. Scaffolding is a modular and adaptable system, and so too are my sculptures. If you view each sculpture that I have made chronologically, you can see the progression and how with each stage I get a little better at mastering this unconventional medium."
It isn’t the only sculpture long has made using scaffolding - he’s built others, including a stag and a horse.
Scaffolding has been used to great effect in the movies, too. Although we might immediately think of action films where the protagonist is made to fight his enemies on the side of buildings, it’s often used behind the scenes. Stunt drivers are a good example, since they will erect ramps supported by scaffolding to achieve incredible car jumps across large spaces.
Scaffolding is also useful for providing a proper platform for lighting a set, which can often be a challenge in unpleasant conditions. As long as it is properly maintained and inspected, scaffolding can stand up to the elements and make sure the lighting is just right for the scene.
Lastly, scaffolding is also highly useful for creating extra, temporary seating at public events. During the last World Cup, the Yekaterinburg Arena had to undergo some hasty additions in the form of scaffolding-based seating to add to the capacity of the stadium.
Although the finished product looked intimidating to some visitors and journalists, the structure was actually a remarkable success. It added 8,000 seats and was thus able to qualify for the minimum attendance as set by FIFA.
Scaffolding rewards creativity, and we prove this every time we work for a client. To find out more about the innovative solutions offered by modern scaffolding, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.
Posted: Wednesday 10 April 2019
Scaffolding is one of the most useful tools in the construction industry. They allow for an enormous variety of renovation and building projects or all shapes and sizes. This is because they facilitate working at height, something often unachievable through using ladders alone.
However, working at height isn’t to be taken lightly; it is potentially hazardous work even when carried out properly. Unfortunately, there are people who are too quick to gloss over the regulations in place of workers’ safety. Sometimes, this can lead to accidents. In this post, we show why it’s vital to do things properly.
An article in @ScaffoldingNews paints a dangerous picture:
“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) began investigating after receiving information from members of the public. During the investigation, it was found that Kenneth Morris had made a deliberate decision not to provide the correct scaffolding or means of dust capture in order to save money. Mr Morris had also failed to insure his employees against any injury or ill health sustained during the course of their work.”
It’s an expensive punishment too: he was given a 26 week suspended sentence and 180 hours of community service. If that wasn’t enough, he was also made to pay court costs of £2,000.
This case is a prime example of the penalties that await any construction company owner who fails to put their workers’ safety first - even if no one ends up actually getting hurt.
If an accident occurs on your project, you’re the one who’s responsible. If you’ve followed the regulations and made every effort to prevent accidents, then your insurance company will compensate everyone involved and help make sure your work is not disrupted.
On the other hand, if you’ve bent the rules or not provided your workers with adequate training and equipment, your insurance policy won’t pay out. It will have contingencies in the event that you have been negligent. Without an insurance payment, your project may grind to a halt.
Worse still, in the event that someone’s injury could have been prevented, a worker will be able to sue your company or even you personally for the negligence. Increasingly, the UK legal system is taking a dim view of industrial accident cases that could have been prevented.
Even if you’ve taken the right precautions and assembled your scaffolding properly, extreme weather conditions can make a mockery of your efforts. But these kinds of events are rare, and companies can be forgiven in these situations.
As long as a scaffold has been assembled by experts and is then subject to weekly checks during construction, your scaffold should be a safe and easy way for your employees to work at height.
If you want to learn more about the rigorous standards we observe, or scaffolding in general, give us a call today. One of our friendly team will be able to answer any of your questions and give you a quote for your project.
Posted: Wednesday 3 April 2019
It doesn't matter what industry you're in and what skills you want to improve. Everyone benefits from sharing ideas and techniques, as well as stories and information from the industry.
However, this is just one aspect of why trade associations can be so useful. Once the small fee is paid, members get access to all sorts of exclusive products, services and discounts. Members are also represented by experienced negotiators and spokespeople who will work on their behalf to improve pay, conditions and new opportunities.
Commercial scaffolding operatives are encouraged to join associations because they have also become an indicator of quality. In this post, we take a look at the enormous benefits of being a member of a trade association.
It's not easy to stay on top of rule changes. Regulations are tweaked and new ones are rolled out every year, as authorities work to make construction a safer industry for everyone. Some of these changes are made but not necessarily publicised. A trade association will help you keep on top of these alterations, as well as reports and best practices.
Good ideas spread fast in trade associations. If someone comes up with a new innovation, they’re likely to share it with their contacts at trade associations.
Winning the trust of your clients means working to an impeccable standard on every project. This is extremely useful when trying to secure new business and advertise yourself - particularly in the age of online reviews. People want to know that you’re not a cowboy, and reputation is key.
However, letting people know that you’re a part of a trade association sends a powerful message. A verified member of a prominent trade association can be trusted to do a great job.
Trade associations receive thousands of requests every year from potential clients looking for quality tradespeople. These opportunities are passed onto the right companies, connecting professionals with clients. However, trade associations also set up the chance to talk to other, like-minded professionals in your industry. You can share business opportunities, skills and information with each other, creating a better and more sustainable source of work.
Scaffolders in the UK are fortunate to have a wide variety of trade associations to join. There are some more general associations for construction workers, but there are several specific associations for scaffolding. The two largest associations are the NASC and the Scaffolding Association, and both offer a number of helpful services and opportunities for scaffolders. The cost of membership is low compared to the upsides of joining. In addition, since associations are often linked with one another you may able to find other types of tradespeople, like electricians or construction workers, through your own association’s contacts.
If you’re curious about trade associations or you’re after a trade association-endorsed scaffolding company, look no further. Get in touch with a friendly member of our team today.
Posted: Wednesday 27 March 2019
Modern construction can be as ambitious as possible thanks to scaffolding. We are able to build all manner of different buildings, as well as properly maintain the classic architecture this country is famous for.
However, it needs to be treated with respect and care - working at height is still one of the most dangerous activities on any building site. Whether it’s an interior restoration job or a tower block building project, here are some good things to remember when working with scaffolding.
Your workers should feel confident that they’re safe when they’re several storeys up. As part of HSE’s efforts to make it safer to work at height, it’s imperative that your workers are educated in best practices for working with scaffolding. There are classes held all over the country that will teach how to prevent accidents, follow safety procedures and how to use important equipment like harnesses.
If your scaffolding is going to be installed to a height of 10 feet or above, it is necessary to install guardrails on all sides of the scaffold that don’t actually face the building being worked on.
The company you ultimately choose to provide your scaffolding will need to be recognised professionals. Check out their background before you sign on the dotted line. You could even get in contact with any of their past customers for references to confirm the quality of their work.
Scaffolding also needs to undergo thorough, regular inspections. It will need to be inspected after its been assembled, before work can start. It then needs to be inspected once a week, each week for the duration of the project.
A respectable scaffolding company will insist on these checks. It’s for the safety of your workers, first and foremost. Bad weather, like the fierce winds we’ve had recently, has the potential to loosen or damage scaffolding. You need to keep an eye on it.
If the project you’re working on is on a public thoroughfare or otherwise means working close to members of the public, you’ll need to take this into account. Your scaffolding needs to have proper access control at all times of the day, but particularly during the night hours or when the building site is otherwise empty. It’s been known for adventurous people to try their hand at climbing the scaffolding, so make sure it’s properly secured before people leave at the end of the day.
Additionally, you may need to install netting or equivalent to prevent any falling debris and tools from reaching street level. This kind of thing can cause a lot of damage, both to people and property, so keep in mind at all times when planning where your scaffolding will be assembled.
We’re the experts when it comes to scaffolding of all shapes and sizes. Why not find out today by calling one of our friendly team for a chat? Your scaffolding is not something to be taken lightly, and with years of experience we’ve seen just about everything.
Posted: Wednesday 20 March 2019
Working at height has always been one of the most dangerous activities on any building site. Despite the great strides taken to make this job safer for workers and the public, working at height is still the leading cause of injury and death in construction.
Working on a scaffold, often several storeys up, needs to be done with great care and attention to details. That’s why scaffolding teams are made up of experts with experience in assembling and working with all types of scaffolding. In this post, we take a look at scaffolding operatives and how work is monitored.
One of HSE’s regulations stipulates that workers should be ‘competent’ for working at height, whether it’s on a ladder or several storeys up:
“In the case of low-risk, short duration tasks involving ladders, competence requirements may be no more than making sure employees receive instruction on how to use the equipment safely (eg how to tie a ladder properly) and appropriate training. Training often takes place on the job, it does not always take place in a classroom. When a more technical level of competence is required, for example drawing up a plan for assembling a complex scaffold, existing training and certification schemes drawn up by trade associations and industry is one way to help demonstrate competence.”
If a scaffold is being used, everyone who carries out work should be aware of best practices. There are classes held all over the country that your workers can attend, teaching them about harnesses and other vital extra equipment.
Working at height is often only possible using a high-quality scaffold, built to exacting specifications. Building a scaffold requires a high level of skill and experience, something gained over years in the industry. It all begins by deciding what kind of scaffolding is actually necessary in the first place. If you use the wrong solution to your needs your workers may find it slows down the project significantly.
Another important part of scaffold work is the inspections. Once assembled, a scaffold will need to be inspected, and then inspected once a week for the duration of the project. These inspections are vital due to a variety of circumstances outside of your control.
One of the the major issues is the weather. Even short bouts of harsh weather can cause all sorts of problems for scaffolding; wind and rain have the potential to make your scaffold less safe.
Finally there’s the challenge of making sure your scaffold is safe for the public. This might include proper access control precautions, preventing any adventurous people from climbing up the scaffold outside work hours. It’s also imperative that the public are warned - and protected - from any falling objects like tools or debris.
If you want to learn more about how to protect your team when they’re working at height, or have questions about the regulations you’re required to follow, get in touch today. Our expert team will be able to explain things in detail.
Posted: Friday 15 March 2019
Working at height can mean a number of activities, depending on the project. Your construction team may be renovating the facade of an older building, painting a house or carrying out work on the interior of a large assembly hall. All of these projects will probably require a thoughtful scaffolding solution, but there may be more to it. In this post, we take a look at the preparations that need to be made if you need to use other equipment when working at height on scaffolding.
Before work ever begins, you’ll need to determine what kind of scaffolding is required for the job. If you are working indoors in a large area like an assembly or performance hall, you may need suspended scaffolding or you might be able to get away with a tower. However, you also need to take into account what the project actually is. If it’s a heavy duty remodel, your workers may need power tools or other large equipment. In this case, you need to think about how you’re going to get the equipment up to them. It may be that you have to rethink the type of scaffolding used completely.
The same general exercise applies to exterior works. If your team need to use heavy equipment at height, your scaffolding needs to be sturdy and strong enough to match. It may be that double scaffolding is necessary.
For lifting the equipment into place, you have two broad options: hoists, and transport platforms.
In the event that you need to bring large amounts of material and equipment to your workers at height, you may need a separate scaffolding to manage the weight itself. But it’s a worthwhile effort - a transport platform can lift up to 2,000 kilos in a single trip. For a large scale project, this kind of power is hard to argue with. It can also be used to ferry your team up to where they need to be, saving them time and saving you labour costs, since they don’t have to waste time ascending and descending several storeys every day.
The particulars of your project may mean making some sacrifices and compromises over how fast the work can be carried out. If there isn’t room for a transport platform or a stronger type of scaffolding, you may need to settle for using a hoist to get your equipment to the right height. But these are delays worth making to ensure the safety of your workers and the quality of work they are able to carry out.
Like most scaffolding issues, the questions of how to get your equipment to where it needs to be and what type of scaffolding is necessary for the use of that equipment at height are best answered by a scaffolding professional. Our team of experts will identify a bespoke and appropriate scaffolding system that complements your project and enables your workers. Get in touch today to find out more, or take a look at some of our previous work in the projects section.
Posted: Wednesday 6 March 2019
Working at height is a tricky business. In fact, it is so dangerous it is policed by several strict regulations to control where and how scaffolding is used.
But your project will go a lot more smoothly by using the right equipment for the job in question. There is no sense going through the trouble of setting up scaffolding only to discover that it is inappropriate for the project, at best this will make the scaffolding useless, at worst it might put workers at risk of injury. In this post, we run through a couple of typical projects and the scaffolding you need to match them.
It might be that all you need is a tower, or you may need a properly erected tubular scaffolding set up, with the help of an experienced professional. If your project is the exterior renovation of a typical two-storey residence, you probably only need a sturdy tower or two.
Contrary to popular belief, towers are strong and stable, allowing for work at height with little difficulty. They’re also much more versatile that traditional scaffolding as you can move them relatively easily to where you need to work.
If your project involves working on a larger or older building, you will likely need to invest in a single or double scaffold, assembled by an experienced professional. They will discuss your requirements with you before they begin drawing up plans for construction. This type of scaffolding is secured to the building in question through the use of putlogs and ledgers, and your construction team will do their jobs from working platforms.
For decorating large halls, you could use a tower scaffold, particularly if it will be necessary to move it regularly to carry out the work. Another option is the use of suspended scaffolding. Using a system of pulleys, scaffolding is “suspended” and can be lowered or raised depending on your needs. This type is particularly useful in large rooms, like sports halls or school assembly halls - where the ceilings are high and otherwise unreachable.
Suspended scaffolding has the added bonus that it’s simple to restrict access, another plus point for using it in schools where children might be tempted to climb on a scaffold. The suspended scaffolding can be winched out of reach and then secured there.
If your project is set to take a long time, your scaffolding expert may suggest tubular or steel scaffolding. SkelScaff explain the differences:
“It is also termed as tubular scaffolding due to the hollow nature of the steel metals used. Still tubes of 1.5-inch to 2.5-inch diameter are used instead of timber and bamboo planks. The metals are fastened using some special form of steel couples instead of rope lashing. The fastening mechanism here consists of prop nuts which hold individual pipes, bolts, nuts and washers as well as wedge and clips.”
As you can see, not all scaffolding is created equal. It’s best. To discuss your needs with a professional before making any decisions as to which type is right for you. If you’d like to learn more about the different type of scaffolding - or to receive a quote, talk to a member of our friendly team today.
Posted: Wednesday 27 February 2019
As scaffolding experts, we’ve worked on a wide variety of projects across Cambridge. Alongside the ancient architecture that makes this city so special, there are all sorts of commercial buildings, used to house the many businesses that call Cambridge home. It is imperative that these buildings stay open and accessible throughout any renovation or restorative project, and there are a number of other considerations that need to be made when carrying out this type of work.
Commercial buildings come in all manner of shapes and sizes, sometimes they are purpose-built, often they are adapted from older buildings that had different functions in the past. The UK’s architecture is its pride and joy and scaffolding companies need to be aware of the delicate nature of our prized buildings. Not all scaffolding companies are created equal, after all, and some may not take adequate care.
Older buildings can also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Scaffolding will need to be flexible and innovative to provide adequate support to a construction team - especially if they need to hoist heavy equipment to working height.
Since many businesses are street-facing, scaffolding will often require special permits before it can be erected. In fact, there are many regulations to follow when members of the public have to walk underneath scaffolding that’s currently in use.
There are even situations, particularly in more rural areas, where scaffolding may necessitate closing the road entirely. Consult the experts to find out how to go about achieving this since it will require a permit and some time spent liaising with the local council.
Many councils will request a completed site plan as part of your application for scaffolding that interferes with a public highway. Get in touch with your own local authority to find out more.
For most commercial renovations, it will be necessary to preserve day-to-day operations as much as possible. That means scaffolding won’t be able to obstruct driveways or entrances, doorways or gates. If it’s a store or shop, business owners will want to make sure it’s clear to the public that they’re still open. This may involve extra signage, since scaffolding may cover the shop’s entire street-facing presence.
Occasionally, there will only be a limited timeframe in which to complete work, and scaffolding will need to be erected and then dismantled again to a tight schedule. This might apply for buildings like schools or university buildings, where renovation works would take place over holiday periods to reduce disruption as much as possible.
Commercial renovations can entail an interior facelift too, and the type of scaffolding used will reflect the nature of the job. For the most part, indoor jobs will use towers more than traditional scaffolds. They’re much more mobile and can be moved from day to day depending on where work is taking place.
If you interested in learning more about what type of scaffolding you need for your commercial renovation, or already have a project in mind, get in touch with a member of our friendly team. Alternatively, take a look around our site at past projects.
Photo by John Salmon / /
Posted: Monday 11 February 2019
Scaffolding is a key tool in the construction industry. It allows architects to draw more ambitious designs and bring a fantasy to life; it means working at height can be done safely and confidently. Although it’s used in all manner of building projects the world over, it’s also incredibly useful in smaller projects. This includes working on residential buildings, from cottages to four-storey townhouses.
Over time, outdoor conditions can be unkind to the exterior of our homes. Wind and rain lashing against walls and windows can eventually leave paint looking drab or dirty. More severe weather can whip roofing tiles off or even damage brickwork. When this happens, you may choose to bring in a professional to spruce up your exterior with fresh paint or perform minor repairs. However, this will often entail working at height. In this post, we take a look at how scaffolding can help you fix your façade.
You should always choose the most appropriate equipment for the job. If you have a small cottage, it’s likely that a ladder (or even a step-ladder) would allow you to reach all of the areas you need to. This is probably the case if you’re just looking to add a new coat of paint or clean your windows. However, for anything taller than that you’d be better off investing in hiring some scaffolding. It will allow the job to get done that much faster, saving you labour costs and likely paying for itself.
It might be that you only need a smaller set of tower scaffolding, a way for your workmen to access the upper parts of your house without the need for a larger installation. They’re generally fairly mobile, and exceptionally sturdy thanks to smart engineering. HSE still requires certain regulations be observed, however:
“All towers must be inspected following assembly and then at suitable regular intervals by a competent person. In addition, if the tower is used for construction work and a person could fall 2 metres or more from the working platform, then it must be inspected following assembly and then every 7 days. Stop work if the inspection shows it is not safe to continue, and put right any faults.”
If you’re in the market for a complete renovation, including a more drastic remodel of your façade, then you’ll probably need a more traditional scaffolding setup. On a project of this scale, workmen will need access to lots of parts of the building, and they’ll need it on a daily basis. The scaffold will also need to be sturdy enough to cope with the weight of several people and some potentially heavy equipment.
Many homeowners don’t realise that they need to contact their insurer before any major work begins. If something goes wrong - or your builder isn’t up to scratch - you might be facing a large bill without any support to pay it. There have been cases where roofs have collapsed having been rebuilt improperly, and when that happens you need to know that you’re not going to be completely out of pocket. It’s a straightforward phone call that will save you heartache later on. Let your insurer know.
If you’re interested in learning more about how scaffolding can make your renovation go much more smoothly, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.
Posted: Wednesday 6 February 2019
In order to work at height on scaffolding, construction workers need to know what they’re doing. It is a job with obvious risks, and falls from height are still the number one reason for injuries or even fatalities at the workplace. As a result, there are strict regulations in place to make sure working at height is as safe as humanly possible and that people working on scaffolding know how to follow best practices.
With this in mind, it is imperative to make sure that access to scaffolding is strictly controlled. If a member of the public were to fall from height after making it onto your scaffolding it might cause all sorts of problems - not least for the injured intruder. There also needs to be safe access for the workers who ascend the scaffolding. In this post, we take a look at common access issues.
The HSE acknowledges that even if proper signage is put up in highly visible locations, and the risk of injury or death made clear, sometimes children may not understand. In a safety bulletin, they explain the problem:
“Children are particularly tempted to climb and every effort must be made to deny ready access onto scaffolds. The primary means of denial should be site perimeter fencing, but there may be a need for additional local fencing and routine removal of access ladders or use of locked guards or covers to make access ladders unavailable. Where unauthorised access has been gained the result is often a fall from height. This can cause life changing injuries and fatalities are not uncommon.”
As mentioned, fencing or a means of preventing entry is virtually mandatory in these cases. On larger sites in busier areas, this will mean a perimeter fence that surrounds the entire construction site or property, with a strictly-controlled point of entry. Additionally, this point of entry should be secured when personnel are not present on-site (at night, for instance).
Although every effort can be made to prevent curious children from climbing on scaffolding, it may be the case that other adventurous intruders cannot be kept out. Adults who are driven to climb on the scaffolding presumably won’t be deterred by a fence. In this case, it’s vital to ensure access to scaffolding is curtailed outside of working hours. Ladders and other access points should be removed and locked away at night. Just because an intruder has gained access to the construction site shouldn’t mean they are able to ascend the scaffolding.
If a ladder cannot be removed (for instance, if it is an unremovable part of your scaffolding access) you should use a ladder guard to disable access. If necessary, you can also set up perimeter fencing around any vulnerable or accessible parts of your scaffolding.
The best place to start is by performing a site assessment. This will take into account a variety of factors to help you determine the actions you need to take to make your scaffolding safe. These might include the site’s proximity to built up areas or residences, whether the site will be closed over weekends or for longer periods of time, and whether there are any security measures in place already.
If you’re interested in learning more about scaffolding, access and security requirements, get in touch with a member of our team today. We are more than happy to share our expertise and experience with you.
Posted: Wednesday 23 January 2019
Here at Cambridge Scaffolding, safety is our watchword. We use our experience and expertise to assemble scaffolding that’s strong, versatile, and functional. It isn’t just because we take our profession very seriously - it’s because working from height is still one of the most dangerous undertakings in the construction industry. As a result, it is also under regular scrutiny. Inspectors are there to make sure scaffolding is up to scratch, and that everyone is following the regulations. In this post, we take a look at what a scaffolding inspection might entail, and how it could affect your project.
It is no secret that working at height can be perilous. According to recent studies, half of all deaths on construction sites are as a result of falls from height. In an industry that already has a higher-than-average mortality rate, it’s imperative we take this kind of issue seriously, and do all we can to prevent unnecessary accidents.
For this reason, scaffolding must undergo inspection before and during its usage on a project. Although the inspector can be one of your own employees, their expertise must be independently certified ahead of time, and their knowledge will need to be specific to your project’s needs. Courses are available and open to anyone, including people without a scaffolding-related background.
An inspection will need to take into account any mistakes or problems with the scaffold and make sure they are remedied before any work is carried out. Additionally, an inspection will need to be carried out once a week during the project. Finally, if there has been a bout of bad weather, an inspection will be needed again to confirm that nothing has been damaged or moved.
It is imperative that everyone working on a scaffold has had the proper training and education beforehand. Unfamiliar equipment like harnesses can easily save someone’s life when used properly, yet there are still so many instances of the rules not being followed and leading to injury or loss of life. There are training courses held by several bodies in the UK, including the CISRS, who also make sure to train people in other professions working at height, such as house painters.
Stephen Allen-Tidy, of the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation said:
“The NASC is committed to promoting the highest standards of safety within the industry. Through the publication and dissemination of a wide range of industry-recognised safety and technical guidance – including SG4:15 Preventing Falls in Scaffolding Operations – we continue to drive safety standards upwards. Through the introduction of the scaffolding awareness training course, the scope of safety training efforts is being extended beyond scaffolding operatives, helping to ensure that all workers who set foot on a scaffold can carry out the tasks they require safely.”
If you have scaffolding or inspection needs, we are able to carry out both to a high standard. With safety on the line, it’s imperative to take advantage of experience and expertise to ensure the safety of your scaffolding. Take a look around our site, or get in touch today to find out more.
Posted: Wednesday 16 January 2019
Human beings have been using scaffolding, in one form or another, for thousands of years. The more ambitious our buildings, the more necessary it was to be able to work at height effectively. Today, we are able to use scaffolding to erect enormous structures of steel and glass. Further to this, scaffolding isn't just limited to purely construction; scaffolding allows us to maintain the classic buildings we love and admire. Scaffolding's evolution across the centuries to its subsequent form has required experimentation and innovation. In this post, we take a look at some of the secrets of scaffolding design.
In some countries, particularly in Asia, scaffolding still looks pretty much as it did hundreds of years ago. Writing for the Daily Mail, @SaraDMalm describes the bamboo scaffolding in such widespread use:
“Using few safety restraints, [scaffolders] rig up to 1,000 square feet of scaffolding in a day, which they then cover in colourful nylon fabrics. The scaffolders, known locally as taap pang, use as much as 215,000 square feet of bamboo for larger constructions. They shun modern methods, simply using 23-foot bamboo poles and plastic ties to fix the scaffolding in place, before covering them in nylon gauze. The profession is believed to date back around 1,500 years - but has surged in popularity in modern times thanks to bamboo poles being 30 per cent cheaper than metal ones.”
The key to constructing scaffolding is to evenly distribute the weight of those people working on it, as well as compensating for potentially heavy equipment or hoists to bring equipment up to the height it is needed. Although it might seem precarious from a European viewpoint more used to tubular scaffolding, bamboo fulfils many of the same structural requirements. That being said, it is certainly a dangerous profession, with many bamboo scaffolders killed every year.
One of the main benefits to steel tubular scaffolding as we know it is speed. With the right scaffolding team, it can be erected in a relatively short amount of time. Additionally, its versatility makes it possible to erect scaffolding in virtually any location.
Modern scaffolding is highly customisable because its parts are often interchangable. Expert scaffolders are able to achieve almost any shape and size that a client might require. This is eminently useful in projects such as restoration work, where scaffolding must not damage the existing building in any way. Sometimes it is necessary for scaffolding to be 'tied' to the building being worked on, but this will vary from project to project depending on the surroundings and circumstances.
Scaffolders will prepare by measuring the height and width of the required structure, taking into account the intended usage – particularly if heavy equipment is being used. To finish off the design, modern scaffolding uses seasoned timber boards to act as a working surface at height. It is strong, sturdy, and easily transported.
Scaffolding is just like any part of modern construction. Expertise and experience count for as much as the materials themselves and the design and erection of scaffolding is not something to be undertaken by an amateur.
Posted: Wednesday 26 December 2018
When working at height, making use of the right equipment is paramount. You wouldn’t try to balance on the end of a ladder, three floors up, while using a chainsaw. Construction workers should be able to access any part of the building easily and feel secure working there, whether that’s two, three or twenty floors up.
High-quality scaffolding makes working at height much more straightforward and safe. In a lot of cases, it can be affixed to the side of a building to make it sturdier - especially important if you’re going to be lifting heavy equipment and materials. However, in cases where using scaffolding in this way is difficult or even impossible, the answer might be tower scaffolding.
Regular scaffolding requires a team of experts to assemble it, and can be made to cover the entire side of a building if necessary. Such is its versatility and flexibility, it can cover a variety of shapes and dimensions. However, for smaller projects this is a little like overkill. Sitting as an option between a ladder and an assembled scaffolding array lies the tower scaffold.
Although a tower scaffold can be assembled by a layperson, making it a quicker and more budget-friendly solution for a small project, it’s always best to have an expert do it for you. The first thing to determine is whether a tower scaffold really is the most suitable equipment for your project. It may be necessary to have a risk assessment carried out to make matters clearer.
Because a tower scaffold is free standing, stability is a key concern. Issues like how you’re going to get tools, materials, or equipment up to the upper deck of the scaffold come into play. The government’s health and safety directive outlines some things to keep in mind:
“To maintain tower stability you must make sure the tower is resting on firm, level ground with the locked castors or base plates properly supported. Never use bricks or building blocks to take the weight of any part of the tower; [make sure] stabilisers or outriggers are installed when required by the instruction manual, and that a tower is never erected to a height above that recommended by the manufacturer.”
Similar to regular scaffolding, the tower scaffoldings usage plays a part in regulations. If someone could possibly fall from a height of 2 metres or more when using your scaffold, it will need to be professionally inspected after it’s been assembled, and then again every week it’s being used.
If any piece is missing from your tower scaffold, you shouldn’t use it. The reason that towers are so sturdy is because the pieces all connect to each other and distribute weight, but if there’s a gap it immediately becomes a liability. Additionally, if the weather is against you, particularly in the form of high winds, you should avoid using your tower scaffold until it’s passed. If you’re interested in learning more about this versatile piece of kit, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today to find out more.
Posted: Wednesday 19 December 2018
We all expect to be able to do our jobs in safety, with the right equipment and with proper supervision. This goes double for construction workers of all stripes, since they are exposed to potential dangers in their line of work.
The rules and regulations which govern equipment like scaffolding are there for a reason. Falling from height is still the leading cause of injury and death for construction workers – it's imperative that the proper procedures are followed. In this post, we take a look at some of the regulations that keep men and women safe when working at height.
It might sound obvious, but people need to be taught the best practices for working at height on scaffolding. If you're going to working several floors up, then regulations dictate you be given a thorough explanation of how to stay safe up there. This might include knowing when and how to affix safety harnesses, what type of equipment is safe to use on different types of scaffolding, and what weight restrictions scaffolding might have. Other considerations might be what type of lift or hoist you're able to use to get your heavy items up to the floor you need them. An expert scaffolding company will provide this instruction if necessary, but many larger building firms have their own experts on hand.
The government's health and safety directives contain the following information:
“All employees should be competent for the type of scaffolding work they are undertaking and should have received appropriate training relevant to the type and complexity of scaffolding they are working on. Employers must provide appropriate levels of supervision taking into account the complexity of the work and the levels of training and competence of the scaffolders involved. As a minimum requirement, every scaffold gang should contain a competent scaffolder who has received training for the type and complexity of the scaffold to be erected, altered or dismantled.”
It's common for scaffolding to be used for the long haul, with a project potentially taking months to complete, particularly restoration works where care and attention are key. During this time, a scaffold's structural integrity must be tested and cleared every seven days, and after any alteration to the structure, and if there's been a bout of nasty weather.
If the scaffold overhangs the pavement or the road, the builder will need to secure a licence from the local authority. If it's a major project, where there's the chance of falling debris or other dangers, you may be required to do all of the works at night or during quiet times of day. There is the possibility of closing the road altogether, but obviously this is a much more difficult restriction to overcome.
Although many of these issues are the purview of the builder working on your project, it is often the owner's responsibility to ensure that the legal thresholds have been met. If you want to learn more from the scaffolding experts, give our friendly team a call today.
Posted: Wednesday 14 November 2018
As any construction worker can tell you, working at height can be a daunting experience. Whether it's wobbling at the top of a ladder or stood on scaffolding, it's imperative to remember that you can't expect to work the same way you would at ground level. There's a reason that regulations exist to manage this sort of operation, falls from height remain the number one cause of death among construction workers. It's time to talk about the ins-and-outs of working at height, the rules you need to follow and the best practices to put in place.
You should try to avoid working at height wherever possible—if workers can perform a task without the call for a ladder or scaffold, that's the way to go. It saves time, money, and the risk of injury, so it's worth taking the time to explore your options. However, sometimes working at height is simply unavoidable. In this case, make sure you plan out exactly where and how builders will be carrying out work. This will make it easier to determine what equipment will be needed.
You also need to decide who will be overseeing the work, and managing the team working. This kind of task requires efficiency and direction, because no one wants to be thirty floors up for longer than they have to be.
Dr. Julie Riggs of Phoenix Health and Safety explains that when working at height, it's very important to reduce the potential falling distance:
“Where using the equipment involves a risk of falling, additional measures to minimise the distance and consequences of any fall must be put in place. Prevent any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury, for example by using a scaffold platform with double guard-rail and toeboards. Equally importantly, arrest a fall with equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall. Options include safety nets, where work at height cannot be avoided or the risk of falling prevented. Remember, whenever work at height accidents are investigated and employers are prosecuted, one of the most common findings is that the work was not properly planned and supervised.”
There are two types of protection for people working at height. Individual protection refers to equipment like safety harnesses, which can be firmly attached to a worker and prevent them from reaching the ground in the event of a fall. Remember that a harness needs to be attached to something strong and immovable. The other type of protection is known as collective protection, and refers to equipment that helps keep all workers safe, rather just an individual. This might mean items like guardrails along all scaffolding.
Your workers' safety is your responsibility. If someone is injured, or even dies after a fall from height on your site, investigators will inspect the safety measures you did (or didn't) put in place. A recent case saw the boss of a roofing company slapped with a suspended jail sentence for making his employees work at height in unsafe conditions, among other crimes.
When used properly and responsibly, scaffolding can be the right solution for any job that requires working at height. To find out more, take a look around our site, or get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.
Posted: Wednesday 7 November 2018
Working at height is a challenging affair, regardless of the size of the job. There’s a lot of moving parts, with equipment, materials and labourers all needing to be in the right place. Whether it’s a small loft conversion or a large-scale commercial building project, it’s imperative that construction workers and building professionals have the right support to get the job done quickly and efficiently. In this post, we take a look at the most common situations where scaffolding is required.
There’s no doubt that ladders are a versatile and useful piece of kit. Yet, they are best kept for smaller-scale jobs, where workers will not be working at height for very long, or trying to move heavy materials and equipment. Window-cleaning and small roofing repairs can probably be achieved safely with a ladder, for instance. Anything larger, or on a longer-time period, will require scaffolding. It’s dangerous for builders to try and bring heavy materials up to the working level when standing on a ladder - even if there’s someone at the bottom holding it steady.
If workers need to access difficult to reach areas, scaffolding will almost certainly be necessary in order for them to complete the work. This might be an inaccessible part of a roof or an outside wall several stories high.
Many straightforward jobs like painting the outside of a building will require scaffolding, simply because workmen won’t be able to reach the part of the building in question, even with extended rollers and brushes. In cases like this, scaffolding also allows for a much neater and efficient job.
Scaffolding is incredibly versatile, with a variety of modelling options possible, including free-standing options. This last type is very useful during the construction of new buildings, when there isn’t an existing wall to lean a ladder against.
Scaffolding may not just be necessary but mandatory for your project. Dr. Lisa Sharwood of the University of Sydney explains the danger:
“In the construction industry, 78 percent of spinal injuries were due to falls. These were predominantly falls from height...this study demonstrates that the construction industry is still experiencing a high burden of work-related spinal trauma, particularly related to falls, despite safety measures being in place. Increased local surveillance of safety systems and stricter enforcement of relevant legislation is needed to reduce risks and fall-related injuries."
Failing to adequately protect construction workers from falling injuries will mean you are held liable. It is far simpler to make sure that proper scaffolding is in place, assembled by experienced professionals, than risk someone getting badly hurt. In addition, it is wise not to imagine that a small scale job will not be noticed by officials should there be an injury - the government has made noises about cracking down on SMEs who do not follow the proper guidelines.
It can be the case that some try to avoid using scaffolding because they believe it will add time and cost to their projects. However, modern scaffolding can be assembled quickly if you choose a high-quality company, and prices are very reasonable - especially considering how much time you’ll save once the scaffold is up.
Posted: Wednesday 31 October 2018
Whether it's a renovation, extension, house painting or guttering replacement, you should consider renting scaffolding to help complete the job. Working at height on a ladder can be a challenge, and will add time onto any project. Using a ladder will mean climbing to the bottom and then moving it each time an area is completed.
However, it also means that it's very difficult to lift equipment and materials to where they need to be. It's hard enough working two or three floors up to begin with, but add something heavy to carry and working on a ladder becomes downright dangerous. In this post, we take a look at your options when it comes to heavy lifting.
A hoist platform takes advantage of an age-old technology. It offers a versatility, so that builders and other construction professionals can pull material and equipment up to the working level. In essence, it is a wire rope hoist - sometimes fitted with a bracket to allow for a pivot. This means the load being raised can be moved from side to side or even through a 360 degree angle.
A transport platform is for heavy duty lifting, probably during a construction project, or a commercial enterprise. They're designed to lift all manner of materials, equipment and people to the level they need to be at, and can do so with great efficiency. What makes a transport platform stand out is its weight capacity, with some platforms able to lift over 2,000 kilograms in one trip. This could be the materials and equipment needed for a day's work, all transported at once.
Both types of hoist can come fitted with fail-safe brakes, to prevent the material being hoisted from falling all the way back down to earth. This could cause an accident, especially given the weight of equipment and the costs to repair or replace broken items.
In commercial builds, it is often necessary to mix concrete on the floor it's to be used on—particularly in the case of apartment buildings or offices. For this reason, it's probably best to go with a transport platform, since you'll need to bring a cement/concrete mixer, as well as all of the raw materials for mixing, up 20 or even 30 floors. A hoist would be unsuitable, since at those heights it might be susceptible to swinging and hitting the side of the building. Additionally, you'd be constrained by the weight limits of the hoist.
Scaffolding needs may dictate whether a hoist or transport platform is suitable, since scaffolds do take up some space. In locations where room is at a premium, it may be necessary to stick with a hoist and lose time on a project to get it right.
If you're unsure of whether you need a hoist or transport platform, you should get in touch with a scaffolding professional. They will know exactly which solution is suitable for your needs and what extra precautions you'll need to take, including issues around workers' safety and protecting the public.
Posted: Wednesday 24 October 2018
Although bungalows were once easier to find, their availability has become more limited in recent years. As a result, odds are you live in a house of two storeys or more. This increased height brings with it an extra challenge—how do you go about painting the outside of your house, especially the upper floors?
Many of us have difficulty accessing parts of our homes, with natural barriers like hedges or trees making it nigh impossible to even position a ladder in the right spot. It may be that scaffolding is required to complete the job.
Many homeowners prefer to save money wherever they can. This means they will try to paint their own homes, both inside and out. But it can be a daunting task, as explained by Sunset Ladders:
“Maybe you're painting the interior of your home and you have walls that go up to 20 or 30 feet in height. A long ladder can be difficult to manoeuvre in and out of your home and won't provide the solid surface of scaffolding. When you rent scaffolding, you'll be able to bring it in one piece at a time and set it up where you need it.”
Ladders can also be difficult to use, since most people do not have much experience. Working at height can be disorienting and challenging. Adding a paint brush and a can of paint will make things even more challenging, with the added weight potentially unbalancing a novice.
Some people try to forgo ladders altogether, using an extension pole to try and paint the house from the ground. It's very unlikely that this would produce a satisfactory outcome, since it's nigh impossible to maintain accuracy and precision on the end of a three or four metre pole.
One of the hidden benefits of using scaffolding it the enormous time saving advantage. When using a ladder, painters will be limited by their reach and balance. This inevitably means having to climb down and move the ladder, then climbing back up again. This repetitive task will potentially add hours onto any project.
There are also health and safety considerations to take into account. If you've decided to hire a painter or painting team, they will probably require scaffolding. If someone should get injured because they did not have the right equipment, it can lead to all sorts of legal headaches.
Scaffolding allows painters great access to every part of your exterior walls, meaning they're able to do a thorough job in a much shorter space of time. Painting needs preparation, it's usually the case that walls need to be cleaned, brushed, and treated before brush ever meets paint. This is a much more difficult task using a ladder and someone holding it steady on the ground.
For more information on how scaffolding could save you time and money when painting your house, take a look around our site - or get in touch with a member of our team today.
Posted: Saturday 20 October 2018
Renovations often take place for two reasons. The first, is usually that the property is a fixer-upper, in need of a serious overhaul. The second, is when a homeowner decides on a refresher after many years of living in a much-loved property. Whatever the reason, knowing how to go about renovations isn't always evident. Read on, for our guidance on how to ensure your renovations go smoothly.
Writing for @MyHomebuilding, Natasha Brinsmead lays out insurance requirements:
“Once you exchange contracts on a renovation project you become responsible for the site and you must therefore have adequate insurance. If you are taking out a mortgage to fund the project, your lender may not release any money without your warranty and proof of insurance being in place...Renovation insurance should include public and employer's liability, cover for building materials and works, plant, tools, temporary buildings, the existing structure, personal accident cover and legal expenses.”
Renovating a home can mean a lot of moving parts, with contractors and materials, tools and equipment all together on a build site. Having the right insurance will mean the project can proceed and you can have peace of mind in the bargain.
Odds are that despite your enthusiasm, you don't have any formal design training. That's why it's an excellent idea to hire an architect. With experience of managing building sites and working with all manner of building professionals, an architect can help you through every step of the process. This includes recommendations of local builders they've worked with in the past, ensuring a level of quality and workmanship that might be difficult to achieve by yourself. Your architect will also be an expert when it comes to materials, and will find the best, budget-friendly way of carrying out any renovations.
Your builders will need to work at height to complete any renovation, whether that's painting or something more heavy-duty. This means installing scaffolding. A high-quality scaffolding setup will keep the project on schedule and allow your team to perform their jobs well. However, there are a few different options available to you, and much of your choice depends on your specific circumstances.
How tall is your property? Will you be needing a temporary roof during the renovation? Do you have access to all sides of the property? These are questions you will need to work out the answers to before deciding on your scaffolding choices. If your property is part of a terrace or is semi-detached, you may want to opt for independent scaffolding that can stand by itself.
It will pay off to do some research into the company providing your scaffolding, particularly if there are external elements on the façade that you want to retain or improve. Try to find some reviews of the company by others who have used them, and speak to your architect. You'll also need to work out whether your house is a listed building or otherwise protected by regulations.