Have you ever wondered how workers reach the highest part of high-rise buildings or how windows in such constructions are cleaned? Scaffolding is an old innovation that continues to make it possible to repair, maintain, and construct at a height. They come in different types to meet the various needs.
What is Scaffolding?
Scaffolding is a temporary structure made of mainly wood planks and metal poles and used to support materials and workers during repairs, construction, or demolition of buildings such as houses and bridges. They are used in construction sites when working onat least 1.5m high units.
The scaffold materials should be strong and stable to safely support the workers and materials during construction. Unsafe temporary ones can be fatal to anyone around the structural member (columns, wall, etc.)
Types of Scaffolding
Scaffolding can be divided into three maincategories; supported, suspended,and mobile scaffolds.
As the name suggests, supported scaffolds are built from the ground with strong load-bearing members like outriggers, frames, legs, and poles supporting one or more work platforms. The materials used to make supported scaffolding are mainly metals, bamboo, and timbers. Metal is slowly taking over timber.
This type of scaffolding is the safest since it is supported strongly by the ground and side of the building under construction, repair, or demolition. It is also flexible as each scaffolding platform can be added as each storey is added or dismantled level by level during demolition.
Suspended scaffolding is one in which the work platforms are hanged from the roof of the main structure and lowered or raised to different floors. It is commonly used for repairs, cleaning, and moving tools between floors in multi-storey constructions.
This is free-standing scaffolding mounted on castors but built in the same way as supported types. It is the best option when undertaking multiple projects in larger sites as it does not require constant dismantling and reconstruction. The castors should always be locked before mobile scaffolding is used to avoid potential hazards.
N/B: Other types of scaffolding fall into the above categories, with the majority being supported scaffolds, e.g., aerial lifts and scissor lifts.
Uses of Scaffolding
According to Scaffolding Kenya, Scaffolding is used in cleaning windows and other areas of skyrise construction. It is also crucial during the construction of high-rise buildings as it provides a stable, safe, and elevated platform for workers and materials.
Scaffolding is equally important in inspection and maintenance work. Workers get a platform to stand as they perform inspection and maintenance work in the storey and elevated buildings.
That’s not all; different types of scaffolding can be used in ski ramps, shoring, observation towers, grandstand seating, exhibition stand, concert stages, and art installation, among others.
Advantages of Scaffolding
Scaffoldings are mainly used for work at height. They are beneficial as they provide access to otherwise unreachable areas of a building. The workers get a firm footing to balance themselves as they work in different spots ensuring they are safe at different heights.
The scaffoldings are also easy to construct and last long. This means they can be reused for different projects with others serving as bridges to save time during construction and repair work.
Scaffolding is a solution for many construction and repair industries. However, it would help if you chose a type that suits your needs and, most importantly,is safe for workers.