When it comes to completing construction projects on time and on budget, having the right tools and equipment is obviously vital. One of the most fundamental types of equipment used on construction sites is scaffolding. Scaffolding is temporary structures which support workers and equipment when working at heights during the construction, repair, or maintenance of buildings, bridges, and other structures. There are various types of scaffolding available that suit different projects and purposes and choosing the right scaffolding for your needs is not a straightforward task.
There are many aspects to consider before making any decisions regarding scaffolding equipment, and today we’ll be offering a step-by-step process to ensure you choose the right scaffolding for your requirements.
Understanding the different types of scaffolding
To begin with, you need to have an understanding of the different types of scaffolding and the purposes they serve. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scaffolding so it’s important to recognise what type of scaffolding suits various needs. For large projects with complex requirements, scaffolding will typically be custom-made to maximise safety and efficiency, but in a broader sense there are three basic categories of scaffolding available each with unique advantages:
- Supported platform systems
The most commonly used scaffolding systems which are supported by poles and frames connected to the ground with elevated platforms manufactured from wood or metal.
- Suspended scaffolding
This type of scaffolding system has the same wood or metal platforms but are suspended in the air by ropes anchored to the top of the building or structure.
- Adjustable scaffolding
Adjustable scaffolding features a wood or metal platform which can be raised or lowered to the appropriate height with the use of pulleys and other mechanisms.
When working at heights, safety is the number one priority which should never be compromised. Understanding safety protocols when it comes to scaffold use is vital and only qualified and competent people can erect scaffolding which is greater than four metres in height. It’s also recommended to use internationally recognised brands that meet strict safety regulations, and not cheap copies made in China. The safety features which should be used with scaffold equipment include guardrails, toe boards, slip-resistant surfaces, sturdy platforms designed for scaffold use, along with comprehensive user information and instructions.
Your project requirements
The best type of scaffolding for your project is heavily dependent on your project requirements. Will the scaffolding need to be moved to different areas of your construction site? How tall is your project? Will heavy equipment and materials need to be supported by scaffolding? These are some of the questions which will aid you in choosing the right scaffolding for your needs.
For example, suspended scaffolding is not suitable when working on tall buildings and if the building is rectangular or square, supported scaffolding systems are generally the best because they are flexible and easy to use. You’ll also need to consider the conditions and available space on the job site. Adjustable scaffolding systems aren’t suitable for tight space restrictions because a crane is needed to operate the system.
Your budget is usually a central factor when it comes to choosing scaffolding equipment as different types of scaffolding have differing costs. Generally speaking, supported scaffolding systems are the cheapest option considering that most of the components are reusable. While adjustable scaffolding are more expensive than supported scaffolding systems, work can generally be performed faster and more efficiently. Lastly, suspended scaffolding must be custom-made for each project so they are easily the most expensive scaffolding system.
One of the most reliable ways to understand which type of scaffolding is best suited to your project is by getting recommendations and advice from experts in the industry. Companies with experience in the same type of project will be able to offer practical advice to help you get the job completed more efficiently and productively. If you need any advice on choosing the right scaffolding for your next project, get in touch with the professionals at Uni-Span by phoning 1300 882 825.