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What is Code Scaffolding in the Construction Industry?


Code scaffolding is a term that gets thrown around quite frequently, in many industries. 

Scaffolding is now such a ubiquitous term that any form ‘supporting framework’ or structure is referred to as a scaffold, even if it is a virtual thing, such as the framework that computer code for applications is built around.

What interests us, of course, is not that kind of scaffolding but rather the construction form of scaffolding. 

There are codes of practice for how scaffolding should be used, and the way that it should be erected, to keep people safe. 

Code scaffolding focuses on how to ensure that people are safe and that the scaffolding is rated to support the right amount of weight, etc, when in use.

Scaffolding Best Practices

You may be familiar with building codes and regulations. Scaffolding is not classed as a building, so it is not subject to quite the same regulations.

However, there are still health and safety rules that govern how scaffolding should be erected and the type of scaffolding that can be used in a given situation.

Those rules differ for different parts of the world, but they are broadly similar in most developed countries with strict requirements on how tall scaffolding of different types can be and the number of platforms allowed at different heights.

Scaffolding Regulations and Requirements

Since scaffolding is not a permanent structure, it is governed by the general health and safety regulations for things such as working at heights. 

There are strict design requirements for scaffolds to ensure that they are stable on the ground and that they will not sink into the ground. 

The regulations also limit the minimum width of scaffolding to ensure that workers are able to move around safely while at a height, and they dictate how much weight a scaffolding installation should be able to safely handle, based on the height and intended use.

Scaffolding must be rated to handle the appropriate live load (usually 120kg per sq m for light-duty scaffolding) and also be able to support the weight of its own structure. 

This means that the design must take into account the number of expected platforms. 

Scaffolding is usually categorised into light, medium and heavy-duty applications. Light duty covers day to day use for things such as painting and decorating. 

Medium duty covers things like bricklaying and tiling, and heavy-duty is for other operations where someone may be moving large or heavy objects, working at elevation, or in a dangerous environment.

Putting Health and Safety First

Scaffolding is a tool, and when it is employed properly it makes working in hard to reach places and a height easy. 

You cannot afford to cut corners on scaffolding or use the wrong platform for the job. 

If you are not sure what kind of scaffolding you need for your construction project or you have any concerns about the practicality and safety of the scaffolding you are using, call a scaffolding expert like Skelscaff who offer everything from basic installation and rental to temporary fencing, heavy-duty scaffolding and more. 

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Andrew