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How to deal with worker stress in the scaffolding industry

How to deal with worker stress in the scaffolding industry

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.

Address issues

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.

Teach managers about stress and mental health

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.

When stress in the scaffolding industry takes a dark turn

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.

Supporting your team

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.

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4 Tips on safe scaffolding

4 Tips on safe scaffolding

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.

Use Safety Gear

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.

Go for Team Players

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.  

Understand Weight Controls

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.

Safety and Scaffolding

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.

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Are drones a serious threat to the scaffolding industry?

Are drones a serious threat to the scaffolding industry?

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: Benefits to the Construction Industry

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.

Drones: Drawbacks to the Construction Industry

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.

Drones: friend or foe?

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.

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Delivering Materials

Delivering Materials

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.

Air pollution

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.

Robotic assistance

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.

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Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box

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.

In art

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.

Entertainment

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.

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Do it right, or don’t do it at all

Do it right, or don’t do it at all

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.

Penalties

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.

Liability

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.

The worst

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.

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Working together: the benefits of trade associations

Working together: the benefits of trade associations

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.

Regulations

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.

A badge of honour

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.

Communication and networking

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.

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A few things to remember about scaffolding

A few things to remember about scaffolding

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.

Proper training

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.

Licensing and inspection

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.

The public

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.

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Competence and Supervision

Competence and Supervision

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.

Determining competence

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.

Assembly

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.

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When extra equipment is required

When extra equipment is required

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.

Scaffolding type

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.

Doing the Heavy Lifting

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.

Space considerations

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.

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Which type of scaffolding do you need?

Which type of scaffolding do you need?

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.

Exterior renovation

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.

Interior decoration

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.

Long term work

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.

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Commercial renovations

Commercial renovations

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.

Building types

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.

Public right of way

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.

Open for business

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.

Indoors

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 /  / CC BY-SA 2.0

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Fixing that facade

Fixing that facade

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.

Renovation

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.”

Rethink

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.

Don’t forget insurance

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.

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Access scaffolding questions

Access scaffolding questions

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.

Preventing children climbing

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).

Site intruders

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.

Site Assessment

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.

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Scaffolding Inspections and you

Scaffolding Inspections and 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.

Dangerous

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.

Education

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.

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The Secrets of Scaffolding Design

The Secrets of Scaffolding Design

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.

Natural materials

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.

Modern scaffolding

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.

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When to use tower scaffolding

When to use tower scaffolding

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.

Clue in the name

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.

Stability

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.

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Following the rules: Scaffolding regulations

Following the rules: Scaffolding regulations

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.

Instruction

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 company assembling the scaffolding

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.”

Restrictions and rules

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.

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Working at height

Working at height

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.

Plan ahead

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.

Breaking the fall

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.”

Collective vs Individual protection

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.

Liability

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.

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When do you need scaffolding?

When do you need scaffolding?

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.

Ladders

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.

Limited access

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.

Regulations and safety

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.

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Doing the heavy lifting - your guide to hoist and transport platforms

Doing the heavy lifting - your guide to hoist and transport platforms

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.

The differences

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.

Working at height

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.

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House painting and scaffolding

House painting and scaffolding

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.

Going solo

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.

Adding scaffolding

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.

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How to renovate your home

How to renovate your home

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.

Getting the right insurance

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.

Planning design

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.

Working at height

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.

Photo © Hugh Chevallier (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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