9 Basic Rules Of Scaffolding You Shouldn’t Ignore
Do you need scaffolding for a small-scale project at your residence?
Maybe it’s a larger project you have in mind, such as a commercial or industrial building? Whatever your scaffolding requirements are, a competitive quote won’t be your only consideration.
What you need is a firm that offers fully trained staff.
You want peace of mind, knowing that the individuals erecting the scaffolding are fully up-to-speed with health and safety legislation and procedures.
And, you’ll certainly want the right equipment for the job in hand. You definitely want your project to be delivered to the required standard, on time and to budget.
Moreover, many construction jobs require working at height, this makes construction a fairly risky job that demands experience with the use of a scaffold.
According to stats, about 60% of construction accidents resulted from working at heights and 56% of these people used a scaffold but still end up with severe injuries after falling from fatal heights.
A scaffold collapse could lead to serious injuries or fatalities, not just for those working on it, but for people working underneath and people who are nearby when it collapses.
If you are sure that you or your business need scaffolding, especially if these temporary structures will aid the productivity of your firm, there are a couple of things you must first consider.
This article will give you an idea of what to look out for, as well as safety tips you must pay attention to before you even begin to set up a scaffold.
Below are important factors to watch out for.
1. Ensure the scaffolders are safety conscious
Massive lawsuits and settlement claims can potentially weigh down on your business.
If the firm does not provide a helmet for its workers, and one of them sustains an injury that could have been prevented if he wore a helmet, a court will grant him settlement from your company’s pocket.
Although, the invention of scaffolds came due to the obvious need to make work at heights safe and easier. However, scaffolds do not give a 100% safety guarantee especially when the guides and safety regulations are not duly followed.
The last thing you want is to have injury incidents under your watch. Therefore, the safety of workers shouldn’t be taken for granted.
2. Check the ground stability of your construction site
The topography and terrain of your construction site will play a major role in your choice of the scaffold. For example, if you are working on a construction site that does not have a levelled terrain. Then, you have no business considering a supported platform scaffolding.
Contrarily, if the ground is levelled and strong, a supported platform scaffold would suffice. You do not want to set up a supported platform scaffold on uneven ground or wet ground.
However, if there are doubts about the terrain of your construction site, then a suspended scaffolding will be a better option.
But if you are working on a site where a supported platform scaffold will obstruct the road access in a city, or hinder access into the building. It is wise for you to go for a suspended scaffold.
Using a local scaffolding company helps you to make the right choice as regards your construction site as they definitely will be conversant with the local weather conditions, topography and terrain of that area.
With this information, they can suggest the right scaffold for your construction site.
3. Consider the height of your construction
Faulty scaffolds are the major causes of accidents experienced on construction sites. These scaffolding have high potential to collapse and cause serious injuries or even fatalities.
Before you begin construction or the setting up of a scaffold, you must take into consideration the projected height of the building. This helps you avoid preventable errors or mistakes.
The good thing is, most scaffolding comes with a label on how to use them and their limitations. You will need these instructions to avoid going beyond your scaffolding requirements, which might eventually lead to accidents in your construction site.
In other words, most scaffolds have a height limit and extending them puts your workers and project at risk of damage, because a collapsing scaffold could really affect your project as well.
While you might think that a good decision is to buy bigger scaffolds, you might end up just paying for something you might not use. So, it is wise to ensure you choose the right scaffold for the project you have at hand.
A good scaffolding company will also be able to give you professional advice on the best scaffold that will suit your project height.
4. Do not work with a stringent budget
Money is an essential factor when carrying out a successful project. Whether you like it or not, pricing is also a major factor in choosing a scaffold for your project.
After the scaffolding company must have spelt out the options for you, it is up to you to check back with your financial managers or your budget to see if your company can spare the expense.
It is only normal for a businessman to want to go for the best option both in function and price. So, try to have the best of both worlds.
Using a scaffolding company that is around your project construction site will save you the cost of shipping in equipment and materials from out of town. It will also save you the headache of missing equipment during the shipping of materials.
Hence, you can contract a next-door neighbour for the job, provided he can deliver quality service. A service without shipping cost is usually pocket-friendly.
The supported platform scaffold can be re-used, hence, it is generally preferred than other scaffolds.
Moreover, adjustable scaffolding is usually more expensive but is very effective in making work faster and easier to complete. Suspended scaffolding is the most expensive since it has to be custom-built around the project, especially if it is not a project with a straight forward dimension or shape.
However, do not make price be an excuse for choosing a scaffold that is not ideal for your project.
You must consider safety first, then other factors such as price can be noted. It will be unprofessional and unwise to avoid the recommended scaffold due to financial constraints.
I’m certain the lives of people are important to you and you won’t want to endanger anyone.
5. Ask For Expert Advice
You’d definitely agree with me that no one is an island of knowledge, right?
That is why it is necessary for you to take advice from people who are more experienced in this field. You never can tell, they could suggest a scaffolding company around your location that would be able to recommend the best scaffold for your project.
They might help to set up a temporary structure in a standard way.
It is important you seek expert advice on various issues at different stages of your construction project. This will save you a great deal of stress and losses.
A good scaffolding company will be able to give continual advice on different aspects of the project. Advice on nature, improvements and repairs that need to be made.
6. Make the safety of the workers a priority
You’d agree with me that one major reason you want to set up scaffolding rather than other quick-fixes is safety.
Therefore, you have to be very keen on the safety of your workers.
While setting up a scaffold, avoid going for cheap materials. Cheap materials can be detrimental and even more costly. You could go for cheap materials in order to save money and work within your budget and end up having an accidental record.
This is by all odds not a wise situation for a businessman. Prevention, they say is better than cure. Therefore, before you choose a scaffolding company, make sure they are up to date with their permits, guides and safety regulations.
You just cannot afford to neglect the guides and safety regulations that come with setting up a scaffold. Scaffolds are made up of different mobile parts and a little mistake can cause an accident.
Hence, it is necessary that you ensure everything is taken into account when it comes to the safety of your scaffold and general safety on your construction site.
7. Use The Right Scaffold
Another key thing to look out for when setting up a scaffold is the appropriate scaffold for your project. Before you choose a scaffold, you need to check your construction needs.
There are different types of scaffolds available. However, not all scaffolds are effective for all kinds of construction. Therefore, it is necessary for you to know which is best for a specific purpose.
In other words, it is vital for you to know exactly what type of scaffold your construction needs. The adjustable and suspended scaffold is typical for the construction of very tall buildings.
A tall building isn’t a guarantee that a suspended and adjustable scaffolding should be used.
If the shape of the building is not a perfect square or rectangle, just like so many buildings these days. Then, you might need to use a supported platform scaffold that is more flexible, easier to install and use.
In addition, if the platform needs a cover from the weather, a supported platform scaffold is also ideal.
But if your construction site isn’t big enough for the installation of a suspended scaffolding with a crane, then you might want to use the supported platform.
On the other hand, the best advice will come from the scaffolding company that you will hire.
However, it is better to know the basics so that you are not be left in the dark when they are suggesting the best option.
8. Look out for the Best Scaffolding Company
This should be your first step.
Since you cannot handle assembling these temporary structures, you must find a reputable company to do it for you. There are many companies that are involved in setting up a scaffold, but very few are actually good at it.
You should be looking for a company that will provide the correct equipment, on time and within your budget.
No one expects you, as the householder or project manager, to know all the ins and outs of scaffolding. However, you and the company you chose, are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of those in and around the site.
You are solely responsible for choosing a firm that is properly competent and responsible.
Of course, your reason for requiring scaffolding could be anything from preparing for having insulated roof panels installed to re-roofing a property, as well as jobs involving fascias, soffits, cladding, and guttering.
Therefore, you need a scaffolding company that has experience in erecting scaffolding for the task at hand.
One thing that should be on your checklist when searching for scaffolding companies is that their staff must have undergone accredited training in the provision, erection, and use of this equipment.
More than that, they must be fully aware of and adhere to their responsibilities under health and safety legislation. Scaffolding is dangerous. Those working on it are more liable to fall victim to accidents than in any other area in the construction industry.
You need to check your proposed service provider’s compliance with both legal responsibilities and recommended best practice in the field before you go any further.
Make sure you hire contractors that have accreditations from national bodies.
This company must also be one that you can easily reach to make checks or repairs to the scaffold structure. This means that you might have to go for a scaffold that is close to your building project.
A close-by company is necessary because of routine maintenance checks.
In addition, routine maintenance minimizes faults that could lead to injury. It helps you make necessary corrections ASAP on the site. You do not want to have to stop work on the construction site for days until a scaffolding company from another state can come around to make repairs.
9. Check The Reputation Of Scaffolding Companies
Starting your search for scaffolding companies online is often a good idea if you don’t know where to begin.
The best firms will have a comprehensive website that lists the ways in which they adhere to the relevant regulations.
This gives indications of the qualifications and accreditations held by the company and their staff. You will also often be able to judge whether each company is a good fit for your project.
Do they have past experience in the type of building that needs work? The demands of a domestic roofing project will likely differ from a large-scale restoration project on a historic building.
Look for examples of similar scaffolding undertakings in each company’s online portfolio. However, the very best recommendation a firm can have comes from word of mouth.
If you can, speak to former and existing clients of the company in question.
- Do you manage your projects?
- Was the right equipment delivered to schedule?
- Are health and safety a priority?
- Do you carry out routine safety inspections?
- Do you address issues promptly and efficiently?
- Are the company’s staff polite, competent, and tidy in their work?
Below are different types of scaffolding in details
1. Supported Platform System
Just like the name suggests, this is a kind of scaffold that is supported from the ground up. They are usually made of metal or wood and are supported by metal poles. These kinds of scaffolds are the most common in the construction business.
In fact, they are very ideal for the construction of new buildings but might not be so ideal for the maintenance of buildings. However, the supported platform system cannot be used in places with uneven topography or ground levels.
2. Suspended Scaffolding
Suspended scaffolding, like the name suggests, is a type of scaffolding that doesn’t support from the ground up but rather supports with the aid of ropes on either side.
This type of scaffolding is very popular in the maintenance of buildings, especially for tasks like painting.
3. Adjustable Scaffolding
This kind of scaffold is almost similar to the suspended scaffolding.
However, you can adjust an adjustable scaffold by the use of a pulley system that can either raise it up or take it down depending on where a worker wants to perform a task.
The kind of building you want to construct or the task you want to perform should be a major factor in your scaffold choice.
Many construction accidents happen due to faulty scaffolding equipment or improper set-up. In order to avoid endangering the lives of your workers that can lead to massive lawsuits, you might want to pay more attention to the setting up of your scaffold for the construction of your project.
I have outlined necessary tips on what you should look out for in setting up your scaffold. Do not think that you can rest after setting it up. A proper procedure is to conduct routine checks on the stability and strength of the structure.
You can arrange for the scaffolding company to come conduct routine checks at least twice a week. Now that you are aware of the factors that must be considered while setting up a scaffold. Make sure safety comes before pricing.
It’s time to ask for a quotation for your project. Do they speak knowledgeably about their industry and your project, and advise you effectively on what will be required?
You can tell a lot by the way the firm handles this.