Many of us have needed the services of a scaffolding company at least once in our lives, though most of us pay very little attention as they put it up, often extremely quickly, assuming that they know what they are doing. Obviously scaffolding going up around a house while an extension is being built, or repairs being made to a roof, are a far cry from some of the scaffolding used in the construction of office blocks, shopping malls and high rise buildings. Regulation for scaffolding, which once upon a time, was essentially non-existent, is now very stringent, and only someone properly trained and competent is allowed to erect it.
Being a scaffolding company is far more complicated than it used to be, with the list of rules and regulations controlling the industry quite extensive. Companies must operate under auditable processes, be a full member of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation and hold a demonstrable training scheme in place. Additionally a scaffolder must have a minimum of £10 Million of Workers liability insurance and a further £5 Million for public liability, while being able to prove that they have a specified number of properly trained and certified staff on all operations. The regulations even go so far as to dictate acceptable and safe methods of actually transporting scaffold material to the site. Further safety covers its use so before it can be used, a scaffold inspection service must check it is safe, and do so every 7 days while it remains in place and after any alterations, damage or poor weather conditions.
The scaffolding that is erected for small operations, such as around the family home are covered by a generally recognised standardconfiguration, and can be erected to such, again with qualified staff and a supervisor, with the right qualifications. When it comes to larger constructions then it is not permissible to just turn up and start sticking it together. Such constructions must be designed on a bespoke basis, with designs and calculations made by a suitably qualified engineer, to ensure that it will have the strength, rigidity and stability, through its construction, usage and when being dismantled. There is an amazing amount of information required from the user to enable this to be done properly and professionally, including where, when and for how long it is to be in place, maximum weight restrictions on persons and equipment at any one time, types of access, along with criteria unique to the erection site and public access through, or near the site.
Keeping it Safe
Larger constructions are more prone to issues requiring unexpected additional works, or for deviations from the original design to be spotted, which require works for it to be subsequently rectified. Within the scaffold industry lie a further team of professionals, who are not only responsible for designing and constructing highly sophisticated scaffolding, but who also inspect and provide detailed reports on other company structures for safety and compliance issues.
Whatever the scaffold erected, wherever it is located, or how large it is, you can be sure that it is far more sturdy and safe than any of the structures that might have been thrown together in years gone by.