Scaffolding structures are used in almost all construction projects throughout the world to assist workers and materials when working at heights. Whether the project involves constructing, repairing, or maintain structures like buildings, bridges, highways, and tunnels, scaffolding is an essential component that allows workers to safely access difficult to reach areas. There are many types of scaffolding which can be used on any given project, and the determining the most appropriate type of scaffolding structure is generally based around safety and productivity.
Due to the high number of accidents and injuries resulting from falls from heights, it’s vital that a comprehensive risk assessment is performed on all construction sites to identify hazards and minimise these risks as much as practicable. Not all scaffolding structures are the same, and just as there are many types of materials which can be used to construct scaffolding, so too are there a large number of variations in the scaffolding design. For some projects, scaffolding must be custom made due to the complexity of the structure. All of these factors need to be considered when determining which scaffolding will provide the safest and most productive working environment for any given project.
Despite the large number of variations in scaffolding structures, most residential, commercial, and industrial scaffolding are generally split between two variations – stair scaffolds and ladder scaffolds. While both variations allows workers to perform their tasks safely and productively, each have unique advantages and disadvantages which warrant consideration during the design phase. To give you some insight, today we’ll be reviewing both types of scaffolding so you can make an informed decision on you next project.
- Stability – Ladder scaffolds aren’t as stable as stair scaffolds and therefore work best for lower platforms. Ladder scaffolds are generally used as a free-standing platform which is anchored to prevent it from toppling over. They’re ideal for providing easy access to elevated areas such as ceilings for example.
- Portability – Ladder scaffolds are superior to stair scaffolds when it relates to portability.Ladder scaffolds can be easily folded and stored when they’re not in use and can be quickly assembled when needed. Ladder scaffolds are very useful in tight spaces, have a smaller footprint than stair scaffolds, and use less materials and components.
- Durability – While most ladder scaffolds are manufactured from high-grade steel, they aren’t designed to carry heavy loads and aren’t as durable as stair scaffolds. As a result, ladder scaffolds aren’t suitable for high working platforms.
- Stability – One of the biggest advantages of stair scaffolds is that they are very stable and are ideal for high usage applications. This type of scaffolding is manufactured with an external framework that consists of several stairs on each tier which provides excellent balance for workers and is ideal for any type of construction. Multiple workers can use the stairs at any given time (including in different directions) and tools and materials can be easily transported.
- Portability – Stair scaffolds have more components than ladder scaffolds (including additional framework) and therefore are not as portable as ladder scaffolds. Stair scaffolds need to be assembled and disassembled after each use and are better suited to larger projects than smaller ones.
- Durability – What stair scaffolds lack in portability, they make up for in durability. Ladder scaffolds are designed to guarantee safety with a durable framework which is ideal for heavy-duty use. Stair scaffolds can handle much heavier loads than ladder scaffolds and allow faster access to each platform.
Both ladder scaffolds and stair scaffolds have distinct advantages and disadvantages and the type of construction, repair, or maintenance project really determines which type of scaffolding is better for the job. Understanding which variation of scaffolding is better can oftentimes be challenging, so if you require any assistance with the design of scaffolding for your next project, reach out to the professionals at Uni-Span by phoning 1300 882 825.