When to Use Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a tool not an option. Like many other tools scaffolding is designed with a specific purpose in mind. Also like a tool knowing when and how to use scaffolding a must. Fear not, I'm here to clue you in a bit.

Scaffolding is generally used when a ladder is not practical or comfortable to use. Knowing when these times are is probably the first most important step in the process. Ask yourself these three questions; Will you be moving a lot of heavy material up and down? If you use a ladder will you have to move it several times an hour? Is the job such that you will be uncomfortable on a ladder? If the answer to any of these three questions is yes, then you better start thinking scaffolding.

There are options with scaffolding that most people are not aware of. For example when painting a room or remodeling one, use of a single scaffold with wheels is perfect for doing ceiling work. You can relax and work on your back rather than training or risking a nasty fall by trying to bend over backwards (literally).

When doing outdoor masonry work or anything that requires a lot of going up and down a ladder, having a scaffold serves two purposes; it gets you where you need to be as you need to be there and provides a platform for tools and materials keeping you from climbing up and down as much. Not having to climb as much helps keep you safe and a little less tired at the end of the day.

Setting up scaffolding is pretty simple and nearly a two person job. Making sure that your scaffold is level and on a firm footing is the first step to safety. Proper assembly is the second. If you are not sure how to assemble the scaffolding, get some help. Improperly assembled scaffolding will leave you wishing you had asked a few questions when it crashes. Third and just as important, inspect the scaffold before every single use, not just as you assemble it. Often scaffolding left overnight can settle or unreported chips in the planks can occur weakening them. I might sound like a Worrying Nancy-boy on this, but do not follow my rule long enough and I promise I will show up and write "I told you so" on your cast.

Finding scaffolding is as easy as finding a phone book. Most lumber yards and home improvement stores will rent or lease scaffolding to the one or two time user at a fair price. Again, inspect the scaffolding as it's unloaded to make sure you are renting damaged good. If you find something that is damaged do not assume that it will be fine because it was delivered; get a new piece.

If you are business owner thinking about scaffolding all I can tell you is that if you are thinking about it- do it. Scaffolding owned by you assures that your people will have an intimate knowledge of the scaffolding and become very familiar with it. This has an advantage over leasing a different style from job to job and watching your guys try to figure out how to put it together every few weeks.

Scaffolding has its place on the construction site and even in home improvement. Again, knowing where and when to use scaffolding is a win-win for everyone. Keep it safe and know what you are getting yourself into before you get started will help you perform your job much more effectively. Good luck and watch your step!