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When do you need scaffolding?

Posted: Wednesday 7 November 2018



When do you need scaffolding?

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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