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Your Guide To Scaffolding: Choosing The Right Type And Deciding Whether To Rent Or Buy

Aug 18, 2007
Regardless if you are under contract to build a 10-story luxury hotel for the Marriott or you simply want to do a roofing or structural repair on your home, it is imperative to have some rudimentary knowledgeable about scaffolding. Scaffoldings are structures that are temporarily erected for repair, construction or decoration of commercial buildings, homes or other edifices. Not only is it important to purchase or rent the correct type of scaffolding to insure that the job is done correctly, but also to maintain the safety of the construction workers employed on the job. It is estimated that 65% of those employed in the construction industry frequently work on scaffolds. Therefore, it should not be surprising that some of the most common accidents on worksites involve injuries incurred on or related to scaffolds.

Scaffolds are erected of easily assembled structures of steel or timber. On these frameworks, working platforms are placed for easy accessibility to high elevations of a building or other structure under construction or repair. There are two primary categories of scaffolding, fixed and mobile.

Fixed Scaffolds

Fixed scaffolds are constructed alongside a building and can be either independent or putlog. The independent scaffold has standards or uprights on both sides of its working platforms. This allows the independent scaffold to remain upright without support from the building under construction or repair.

The putlog scaffold has standards or uprights along its outer edges, but its inner side is supported by the structure or building itself. Putlogs have flattened ends that are placed between courses of brickwork in the building or edifice to add support. The putlogs are used to support a working platform. Independent scaffolds should also be secured or tied to the structure under repair or construction at various intervals to lend support to its overall stability.

Mobile Scaffolds

A mobile scaffold is a type of freestanding independent scaffold. It is mounted on castors or wheels that swivel and allow the scaffold to be easily moved from location to location.

Suspended or Swingstage Scaffold

A suspended or swingstage scaffold has a platform that can be raised or lowered. An example of a suspended scaffold are those commonly used as a means to wash the outer windows on highrises.

Hanging Bracket Scaffold

Hanging bracket scaffolds may have horizontal structures that are supported by the floors of the building or other edifice under construction or repair. These scaffolds should be designed by an engineer and include load testing and other safety measures.

Before purchasing or renting a particular scaffold, you must determine the scope of the project including your particular situation, budget, and needs. You must first know what function you want your scaffold to achieve. Does your project consist of a single story building or will it have multiple levels? What is the design of the building or other structure under construction or repair? How long do you project that you will need the scaffolding? What is your estimated budget? Once you have answered these questions, you can best determine the scaffolding that is best suited for your needs within your budget.

When estimating your budget on scaffolding, make sure not to put price before safety. Skimping on price can be costly both economically and emotionally if there were to be an injury or death due to improper or faulty scaffolding. A few Internet sites that both sell and rent scaffolding have estimator tools. These tools enable you to design the scaffolding for your particular needs and project and then tell you what would be needed for your design.

Once you determine the type of scaffolding that would best meet your needs, you should then turn your attention to selection. There are stores and Internet sites that sell and rent scaffolding and others that sell both new and used scaffolding. Factory direct outlets sell only new or used products they manufacture. Other stores or Internet sites are basically dealers and sell and rent a large selection of scaffolding from numerous manufacturers. By doing some comparative shopping, you would be able to find the best deal on pricing and components for your scaffolding needs.

It is also important to review the guarantee and return policies of both manufacturers and dealers of scaffolding. Questions that should be answered are:

What does the guarantee or warranty cover?
How will the scaffolding be repaired within the warranty period and after?
What is the compensation awarded if something were to go wrong or faulty components sold?

If you were currently looking to acquire scaffolding for a big or small construction or repair project, knowing what type of scaffolding needed is paramount. This not only insures that your project would be completed properly with minimal hassles and difficulties, but would also insure the safety of those on the work site.

Once you have determined the particular scaffold that would best meet your needs, you could then turn your attention to pricing and selection. By taking the time to do some comparative shopping, you would not only find the best scaffolding for your project at the most reasonable price, but you could possibly ward off potential problems such as faulty components or useless or worse yet, no guarantees on the rented or purchased scaffolding.
About the Author
Find Low Cost Scaffold & Scaffolding at http://www.scaffoldmart.com/
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