Scaffolding is a temporary structure that allows workers such as electricians and painters access to a building enabling them to work on parts that would be out of reach without it. Many different kinds of buildings need scaffolding and it can also be needed for maintenance and cleaning a structure such as a clock tower or large statue that would otherwise be impossible to get to.
There are six main components in most scaffolding: –
- Standards or uprights – upright posts that support the rest of the structure and transfer the load to the ground or a lower level. The legs stand on base plates that help to spread the load and give stability.
- Ledgers – connect the standards together. They are fixed in a horizontal position and are often hollow tubing.
- Transoms – are vertical posts similar to the standards, but shorter. They rest on the ledgers rather than reaching to the ground. The main transoms are fitted close to the standards and hold them in place. They also support the boards that are the deck on each level. The intermediate transoms provide additional support for the boards. Toe boards are used at the outside edge of the deck to prevent tools or materials being accidentally kicked off the deck. This helps to prevent injury to people working below.
- Fittings are as most people know, things such as bolts, nuts, screws and anything else that is used to attach pieces to each other and to the uprights.
- Braces are placed diagonally across the ledgers to give strength and stability to the structure.
- Most scaffolding also needs ladders for access, though some use hoists or lifts, depending on the type and what is needed.
Most scaffolding is designed by a person called a scaffolding designer. They are highly trained and know what the Australian Standards and the Australian Standards AS1576-Scaffolding and AS4576-Guidelines for Scaffolding are that must be adhered to. Many scaffolding rental companies have their own designer so they can make the kind of scaffolding that is needed for your project rather than offering a generic design. However, in some cases a generic design is all that is needed.
When scaffolding is needed, the builder or company must provide the scaffold designer with all the specifications of the building or whatever needs scaffolding so that they know just what to design. Scaffold designs are sometimes provided by a builder to their client as an add-on service so that they can see just what the costs are for each section of the building. Since many buildings require a comprehensive scaffolding structure this is an additional service that can also help to speed up the approval process, not to mention gain the job for the builder.