Things You Need to Know About Scaffolding
Scaffolding – also known as a scaffold or staging – is a temporary structure construction crews use when working at heights. This temporary structure also acts as a secure working environment because it provides construction workers with a stable platform when working on jobs that are off the ground.
The scaffolding system is a heavy-duty platform that is able to withstand more than 230kg of weight, can prevent falls and acts as a guard rail for workers when working at heights.
Basic Materials of Scaffolding
The basic materials used in scaffolding differ depending on whether the structure is made of steel or aluminum. Steel scaffolding is used for its strength and durability. The strength of steel supports heavier weights which is important when carrying materials, tools and workers. For less demanding conditions, aluminium scaffolding can be used. These conditions could be something like working on a small home where the labor is less intensive or interior work.
The Makeup Of Scaffolding
Scaffolding is created using three basic elements: standards, ledgers, and transforms.
Standards are the vertical tubes that run throughout the whole structure keeping it upright. The ledgers are the tubes that connect the standards together to increase stability. Transforms are the horizontal tubes that connect the standards and ledgers together which creates the “X” shape. These three elements work together to transfer weight to the ground so the structure remains firm to prevent any accidents.
The parts used to build scaffolds are tubes, couplers, and scaffold boards. The tubes are created with metal, either steel or aluminum, to create a strong frame. The couplers are little corner pieces that hold these tubes together joining at the ends. The floors are the platforms workers stand on known as scaffolding planks. These can either be made of wood, steel, or aluminum.
Why is Scaffolding Used in Construction?
There are a few reasons that scaffolding is used in construction instead of ladders. Safety, easy use and productivity are three main reasons.
Working at heights can already be a nerve-wracking task. Scaffolding frames provide workers with a sense of security and safety. This structure provides a level and balanced working platform meaning that the workers can feel safe while completing their daily duties.
2. Ease of Use
When scaffolding is constructed it is designed to be attached to the side of a building. This helps workers because everything they need to access is within arms reach: workers have the choice not to walk to multiple locations throughout the day if not necessary.
Because it’s a single structure, it’s also easier to move to different parts of a project. With a ladder, you’re confined to a small area and reaching beyond that limit is dangerous. Scaffolding makes moving from one location to another super easy.
Scaffolding can be created for any height requirement. With multiple heights, multiple platforms are needed. With multiple platforms available for use more workers can work at the same time. Scaffolding increases productivity because workers are all together and no one is waiting around for their turn.
Plus, increased safety and easy-to-use equipment both help to increase productivity.
Benefits to Using Scaffolding in Construction
There are many benefits to using scaffolding within the construction industry.
Benefit 1 – Easy access. Since the scaffolding structure is attached to the high-rise building workers have a secure platform to move around on. This easy access is created through the technique of bridging. Bridging is the walking areas created and they connect the different work areas to one another limiting the need to travel far lengths in the construction zone.
Benefit 2 – Perfect balance. As scaffolding is a strong, not fragile surface, meaning workers feel safe while working at heights due to a firm platform right under their feet.
Benefit 3 – Easy assembly and dismantling. Since the structure only requires a few materials; metal, and wood setting this up takes little to no time and dismantling is much the same.
Benefit 4 – Durability. Scaffolding lasts very long therefore it can be used for multiple projects rather than one. This saves companies time and money because they are able to relocate the scaffolding to multiple locations as it is easy to assemble.
Disadvantages to Using Scaffolding in Construction
Using scaffolding also provides disadvantages. Since it is an open-access structure it is important for workers to secure the tools and materials they bring with them. The open-access allows for wind to blow through. This can increase the chance of tools or materials falling off the platform.
Another disadvantage is the quality of the scaffold. Sometimes the quality may not be the best – something that isn’t always noticed before putting it up. If this is the case a professional needs to be consulted because it is hazardous to work on a platform that is damaged or unsecured. A replacement needs to be requested to eliminate safety concerns.
The last disadvantage is not being properly trained on the assembly of the scaffold or how to work safely on one. If the workers do not know how to assemble the scaffold properly then this increases the risk of injury. There are also specific harness requirements and safety procedures on climbing a scaffold. To minimize this all workers should be properly trained for both assembly and working on the structure. Scaffolding should never be assembled by someone who does not know how to do it properly.
Scaffolding is not always the answer for working at heights. Alternatives can include a ladder or even a man lift.
If you are working at home then scaffolding may not be for you. A ladder offers the same features of being able to complete the job at a height. Ladders should be used when the job is low-maintenance or a quick task to complete such as changing a lightbulb. Ladders do not provide the same safety as a scaffold. It is important to make sure that the surface is stable and the ladder is properly balanced.
Ladders are quite beneficial in many cases because they are easy to use, quick to set up and fairly cost-efficient. They should not be chosen over scaffolding if the job is going to take a long time. Scaffolds provide more balance for longer-duration jobs, but if it is something quick then the ladder can be ideal for the situation. Ladders are popular for homeowners or maintenance workers.
Another option to consider when working from heights is renting a man lift. A scissor lift or boom lift is ideal for reaching higher areas, providing stability and increasing efficiency as they are motorized. Unlike scaffolding these machines allow you to rotate around the building using the operator controls. Whereas scaffolding remains firm and workers need to walk around the building to reach their desired destination.
Man lifts are also great for outdoor work and work on rough terrain. They’re also great for shorter-term projects because you don’t have the hassle of assembling it and then taking it down like you would with a scaffold. If the job isn’t big enough for a scaffold but too big for a ladder, then a man lift is definitely the way to go. Aerial lifts make working at heights easy, cost-efficient and safe.
Article Source: Dozr.com
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