When it comes to scaffolding erection, most construction companies prefer to outsource the construction scaffolding to a company that has experience. However, a scaffolding company does much more than simply put up the structure for you. There are a number of services that a scaffolding company can offer the construction industry.
Before hiring any scaffolding company, be sure to check them out and investigate previous jobs. They should have a clean record and a high rating among construction companies. In fact, it may even be worth talking to other contractors to find out what they think of the company, or to see who they recommend. Word of mouth can be more reliable than other methods of finding a company, in some cases.
When hiring a scaffolding construction company, you’ll be hiring specific scaffolders and this means you need to have some standards. Not all companies are alive, but all of them will provide a scaffolder or several and here’s what you need to look for:
- Several years’ experience
- Ongoing training
- Experience in the specific type of scaffolding being used
You can check ratings for companies online and see that the business you’re planning to hire has the necessary experience. This will also give you a better idea as to how capable their scaffolders are.
A scaffolding company should provide a range of services to their clients. Just what they offer will depend on the company, but here are a few of the more common options.
Of course, the biggest service that a scaffolding company will offer is the construction of the scaffolding itself. You want trained personnel working on this particular step, since it is very important that everything be done correctly. Poor construction can cause accidents in the future and with scaffolds serving as one of the more dangerous parts of a construction site, it is essential that the company handle everything with care.
The most common types of scaffolding offered by companies in the UK include the following:
Kwikstage: This scaffolding system is one of the most popular in the country and is used in domestic and commercial settings. It is a simple system that works well with basic construction needs and is known for being sturdy and reliable.
Tubes and fittings: For designs that require more complicated scaffolding design, tubes and fittings offer the most dynamic design. They come with a wide variety of parts to adjust the way you build your scaffold. For unevenly designed buildings or construction sites with odd angles, the flexibility of this scaffolding system is best.
Swing scaffolds: This type of suspended scaffolding requires little in the way of materials or building, unlike the supported scaffold options. However, you do need a couple of solid anchor points at the top of the building. The platform is then suspended over the edge of the building and can be raised or lowered as needed. This works well on very tall construction projects, or projects where it simply isn’t practical to build from the ground up.
Depending on the company, you may also have access to other services, like stair towers, access ladders or even temporary roofing options. These can all be useful in making your construction experience a little easier.
Not every building project is the same and yours may require a different type of scaffolding than the project down the street. There are multiple types of scaffoldings, but they all fall under two categories, supported and suspended.
Supported scaffolds are the ones you see more often, with a network of posts and platforms, designed to support the weight of materials and workers. There are multiple types of supported scaffolds, including bespoke options and ready to build systems that simply need to be slotted into place.
These types of scaffolds are best used for shorter projects and any structure where there is not an adequate anchoring system on the roof. There is a limit to how high supported scaffolding can go, so it’s best to calculate carefully. Your scaffolding company can help with this.
Suspended scaffolds require two points to anchor to. These are mobile platforms that can be raised or lowered as needed. While they can be anchored on the roof, some will be suspended from cranes or other moveable carrying systems. The anchor points must be very secure and the brakes should be checked on a daily basis, before anyone gets onto the platform.
You’ll see suspended platforms used most often for cleaning windows or doing small repairs up high. They are designed to use on buildings that are too tall for standard supported systems, or when mobility is an issue. Since the platform can be moved around quite easily, it is useful in a variety of situations where regular scaffoldings simply wouldn’t get the job done.
Ideally, your scaffolding company offers both types of scaffolds, so you can select the best option for your particular project. If they offer design calculations, the company will also help you determine what type and how to add the right option for your building project.
Whether you hire the scaffolding company to build your structures or not, you will need regular inspections done to determine if anything is amiss. These need to be done on a weekly basis, if not more often (depending on weather and potential risk factors).
Many scaffolding companies provide inspections as one of their services. In this case, they will come out to the building site and inspect the structure to ensure it is safe and ready for use. You’ll need to have the inspection done before anyone uses the scaffolding the first time and then again every 7 days, or after a storm or high wind situation that could compromise the integrity of the structure.
After each inspection, the inspector will write up a report that you should keep on site for future reference.
Safe use of the scaffolding is also extremely important. When you’re working so far above the ground, one wrong move could result in severe injury or even death. It’s in the best interests of everyone if that doesn’t happen, which is why some scaffolding companies provide training services.
First, your workers will be instructed on how to safely move around on the platforms. This includes using the provided ladders or stairs, instead of climbing up or down the supports. Moving around on a single platform should also be done with care.
Safety equipment will be covered during the class, too. The basics, such as non-slip, steel-toed work boots and hard hats are essential for any construction site, but particularly a scaffolding. It’s also a good idea to have a lanyard system for any tools, so they don’t fall further than the same level. A falling hammer could severely damage property and other workers.
Finally, workers will need to learn to use the harness system to prevent falls. These systems save lives on a daily basis and should be used skilfully. This is all part of learning scaffolding safety. Once your workers have learned how to handle themselves properly on the scaffold, keep an eye on them and send them for a refresher course if needed.
Of course, pricing is something that you’ll also need to look at. You probably have a budget and it may not allow for much leeway when it comes to something like scaffolding and training. However, it’s important to look for a quality company, not just a cheap one.
Prices vary drastically from company to company and will depend on a number of factors. The type of scaffolding you will be using will determine just how much it costs to build, but you’ll also pay for the regular inspections in many cases. If the company is putting up the scaffolding, their quote may include inspections and training, but this is not always the case. Be sure to ask for a list of what is included in the scaffolding rental.
Hiring the best scaffolding company is in your best interests. It ensures that you will have the best options available to you and you will be able to create a solid structure that will keep your workers safe as they build. Finding that company and learning which services are provided is all part of the package. If you are a contractor, you’ll want to stick with the same providers, once you find the best one. If they offer everything you need, why would you change?
Ready to get started with the best scaffolding company in the UK? Call DH Scaffold today to book a consult.