rusted scaffolding indicating a need for scaffolding upgrade
Scaffolding Upgrade

Scaffolding Upgrade

Is Your Scaffold Material Showing Its Age?

Here Are the Signs to Look Out For

So, scaffolding is like a total champ, right? It takes a beating and still holds up. But even the toughest scaffold material will eventually start showing some wear and tear.

Now, if you treat your scaffolding with care and store it properly, you can use it for a good while. But, here’s the deal – it’s super important to keep an eye on your gear and fix or toss anything that’s damaged. Trust me, using dodgy scaffold material is a big no-no and can seriously jeopardise the safety of you and your crew. So, how do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to a piece of scaffolding? Lucky for you, we’ve got the lowdown on the key signs to watch out for.

Visible Damage

This is the most obvious one… You know it’s time to swap out your scaffold material when you can clearly see it’s been through the wringer. Whether it’s taken a beating from unexpected jolts, crazy weather, or just plain old wear and tear, visible damage is a dead giveaway.

When you’re eyeballing your scaffold for any signs of wear and tear, make sure you give the load-bearing spots like joints and connection points some extra attention. Even the tiniest cracks, bends, or dents can turn into major issues if you ignore them. But hey, if you do happen to stumble upon a damaged part during your investigation, don’t freak out just yet. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might be able to fix it up or find another use for it. So, no need to chuck it in the trash just yet!

If you happen to have a messed-up metal scaffold deck, just chop off all the busted bits and transform it into a nifty sole plate to keep that scaffold steady. Just make sure you only use the unscathed parts of the deck for this brilliant hack.

If you’ve got a scaffold part that’s only damaged on the ends, no need to panic. Just chop those bad boys off and voila! You’ve got yourself a repurposed part ready to go. Take a scaffold tube, for instance. Snip off the damaged ends and boom! You’ve got a shorter scaffold tube, good as new.

Rust and Corrosion

Make it a habit to regularly inspect your scaffold stuff, looking out for any signs of rust like funky discoloration or flaky surfaces. If you spot some gnarly rust, it’s time to say goodbye and get a replacement pronto. Remember, rust and corrosion can slowly eat away at the strength of your scaffold, so better safe than sorry!

If you want to keep your scaffolding from getting all rusty and gross, it’s smart to splurge on some top-notch, hot-dip galvanised scaffolding material. This special process adds a zinc coating that’s like a superhero shield, protecting your stuff from any harm, pesky rust, and all the other junk the environment throws its way.

Safety Regulations

You got to stay on top of the latest safety rules and regulations too. You don’t want any legal headaches on your construction site, right? So, make sure your scaffolding gear is always up to date with the latest requirements. If your current stuff doesn’t meet the safety standards anymore, it’s time for an upgrade or replacement.

construction work in the winter
Scaffolding During The Winter

Scaffolding During The Winter

Ensuring Safety and Comfort on the Scaffold Amidst Cold and Icy Conditions

The winter season presents its fair share of obstacles for scaffolders, as frigid temperatures, relentless gusts, and slippery scaffolding decks become unwelcome companions. Nevertheless, through the meticulous adoption of a handful of indispensable precautions, one can elevate both safety and comfort when working during these colder months. Here, we present three indispensable protocols for navigating the scaffold amidst icy and wintry weather conditions.

1. Consistent evaluation of scaffold structures

Particularly during adverse winter conditions encompassing gusty winds, snowfall, and precipitation, the diligent assessment of scaffold structures assumes utmost significance. Prioritising the steadfastness of your scaffold is imperative, while concurrently emphasising the identification of potential slipping perils arising from icy surfaces, moisture accumulation, or muddied areas. 

2. Snow and ice removal from scaffold

In preparation for the winter season, it is crucial to address the potential challenges that snow and ice can pose to scaffold work. It is imperative to clear the scaffolding of any snow or ice accumulation before it can be safely utilised, and also to mark it as inaccessible. The responsibility for this snow removal task, whether it lies with the scaffold erector or the scaffold user, is typically established in the contract. 

When assigned with the responsibility of removing snow and ice from the scaffold, it is essential to exercise utmost caution and employ appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed. It is advisable to refrain from using road salt, as it has the potential to cause damage to both the scaffold decks and the building facades. Opting for sand instead can effectively prevent any harm to the scaffold or the overall structure of the building. 

3. Temporary roofs to shield against weather conditions

During the winter season, various safety hazards arise, including the presence of snow, ice, and strong winds that can potentially lead to accidents and falls. To mitigate these risks, it is crucial to employ suitable safety measures. Personal protective equipment and collective protective equipment, such as safety guardrails in compliance with TRBS 2121 standards offer substantial enhancements to overall safety.  

Additionally, the implementation of temporary roofs proves to be an effective solution, particularly during colder months. These roofs not only safeguard the construction site but also serve as a barrier against adverse weather conditions, minimising work interruptions. 

scaffolding on house
Domestic and commercial scaffolding

Domestic and Commercial Scaffolding

 

What are the differences between domestic and commercial scaffolding? 

Scaffolding is a necessity in most construction projects no matter the scale. At DDC we provide both domestic and commercial scaffolding. Although they both provide safety and accessibility for your workers, they are better suited to different projects. Keep reading to learn the differences between these scaffolding services and which one would best suit your project. 

What is commercial scaffolding? 

Commercial scaffolding is a type of access system that is designed to provide safe, temporary support for commercial construction sites and other industrial projects. This form of scaffolding is used to complete work on areas that are not within reach and require more safety precautions than a ladder. Commercial scaffolding is ideal for sites such as skyscrapers and corporate offices. These types of properties are taller than many domestic properties meaning that they require scaffolding erectors that can meet the extra height and safety requirements. Commercial properties are exposed to the public meaning that health and safety requirements on commercial scaffolding are extremely important to reduce any risks proposed to the public.  

What is domestic scaffolding? 

Domestic scaffolding is used on projects of a much smaller scale. It is used for work on domestic properties such as homes and flats. Domestic scaffolding is usually used to aid tasks such as external painting and roof repairs. Using domestic scaffolding instead of ladders allows workers to access all areas safely and complete the project quickly. Although domestic scaffolding is not directly exposed to the public, health, and safety are still extremely important to protect workers and residents surrounding the project.  

What are the differences? 

The main difference between domestic and commercial scaffolding is the scale of the projects. Domestic scaffolding is used for smaller projects such as external painting on flats or homes. 

Commercial scaffolding is used for larger projects that are usually exposed to the public. Due to its height, commercial scaffolding needs to be more rigid and well balanced. Commercial scaffolding requires more attentive and regular maintenance procedures to ensure the workers and public are safe.  

At DDC scaffolding, we provide quality domestic and commercial scaffolding, priding ourselves on prompt and professional services. We work around clients’ needs ensuring any disruption is minimised.  

construction man holding a helmet
Safety when scaffolding

How to Scaffold safely 

At DDC scaffolding, we hold ourselves to the highest standard of safety and security. Scaffolders work at great heights and without the proper protection can be put at risk. Employees in the construction industry are statistically more likely to sustain work related injuries. Falling from a height is the number one cause of non-fatal accidents in the construction industry. Slips, trips, and falls, being struck by a moving object and injuries from handling, lifting, or carrying objects are also common scaffolding related in injuries. As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure you are protecting your employees and providing them with the proper PPE. Here are the best ways to keep you and your employees safe: 

Site assessment 

Before starting a construction project, a site assessment needs to be carried out. A site assessment will determine how much security is needed on the site. The amount of security needed and the options available will be affected by the location and nature of the construction work. The following can affect a site assessment: 

  • The proximity to residential areas, schools and public areas 
  • Whether the scaffold is accessible to the public 
  • Level of lighting 
  • Length of time site is closing for 

A site assessment ensures that both the workers and the public are safe and secure. Depending on the results of the site assessment, certain aspects of a project plan may have to change to ensure the safety of everyone. 

Staff training 

It is mandatory for all employees to be trained accordingly to their role. Workers that are directly on the scaffolding need to be trained on how to correctly handle the materials and tools provided. Each employee should be made aware of potential risks and dangers whilst on the job and the best way to prevent this. Staff training should be updated regularly so that your employees are protected.  

Employees climbing the scaffold should be aware of the correct way to do so. For example, employees should always keep three points of contact when climbing the scaffold. Areas such as the cross braces should not be climbed on. 

As an employer it is also necessary that you are aware of the regulations and standards applied to the scaffolding industry. Knowing these could help you prevent an accident if you notice employees not following the regulations and standards. 

Providing PPE 

The use of PPE is necessary for scaffolders especially when working at great heights. It is an employer’s responsibility to provide workers with the appropriate PPE. In scaffolding, a hard hat, protecting clothing and heavy-duty boots are essential PPE. 

Ensure everyone is licensed 

Licensed scaffolders would have received the correct training and education needed to work safely on a construction site. These employees will be aware of the potential risks and know how to best protect themselves. Ensuring all your employees and contractors are licensed will reduce the risks of injuries on site.  

Inspecting materials 

Before starting a project, it is important that you inspect all materials being used. When sourcing materials, use the same manufacturer to ensure that the materials are designed to be used together. Inspecting materials will allow you time to identify any defects or damage before use. This eliminates the risk of workers using unsafe materials and increasing their risk of injury. Once the scaffold has been erected, it needs to be inspected again. This allows time for any materials that were damaged during transportation to be identified and removed before work starts. 

Building safely

When a scaffold is being erected or dismantled, a competent person should be present and supervising. A competent person is classed as someone with the correct training. Before erecting the scaffold, it is important that you have read and fully understand the manufacturer’s instructions. Everything should be built accordingly to the instructions provided by the manufacturer without any added short cuts.  

Keeping the workplace organised 

One of the leading causes of injury that is scaffolding related is trips and falls. By keeping organised and ensuring all tools and materials are in safe places, the risk of employees tripping over them is lowered. At the end of a shift, ensure all tools are put away and are secure. 

Load limits 

Scaffolding materials are designed with a specific load limit. Going over this limit could cause the scaffold to crack, break or lose stability. This would increase the risks for workers. Heavy equipment and vehicles could also affect the scaffolding stability, posing a risk to workers safety.  

 

At DDC Scaffolding, we understand that health and safety is of paramount importance, and we strive to provide our clients with the peace of mind they deserve.  

sustainable scaffolding practices
Sustainable scaffolding

How scaffolding can be considered sustainable 

With more people becoming aware of their carbon footprint, it is important that your business is doing everything they can to improve their sustainability. Businesses have a responsibility to educate their employees, and ensure they are taking the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The scaffolding industry requires large quantities of materials. The manufacturing of these materials will inevitably have a negative impact on the environment. Keep reading to see how you can improve your scaffolding business sustainability. 

Recyclable and reusable material 

As many people are aware, using recyclable and reusable materials help reduce your carbon footprint. Scaffolding poles are made from aluminium or steel meaning they are strong and durable. Metal poles could also be melted to make new products. When recycled properly, aluminium and steel poles are also recyclable meaning they should have no negative impact on the environment. It is also important to utilise sustainable materials. As a business you can encourage clients to opt for alternative materials such as: 

  • Bamboo 
  • Wood 
  • Recycled aggregates 
  • Mycelium 
  • Recycled plastics 
  • Timber Crete 

Planning 

One of the key ways to minimise a company’s environmental impact is to plan. Companies that plan have time to evaluate the resources they are using including the materials used, how many workers are needed for the project and how many vehicles are required. By doing this, the company can identify ways to improve their sustainability. Additionally, by planning materials and comparing them to previous projects you can minimise your waste output. If at the end of a project there is excess of building materials, consider recycling or using for future projects.  

Employee training 

Improving your businesses sustainability will be impossible without having your employees on board. By training your employees on the importance of sustainability and your ideas for the business will ensure you are all working towards the same goal, making it more achievable. In the scaffolding industry, workers are required to travel, which will increase your companies carbon footprint. Encouraging employees to car share with each other can help this issue and contribute towards your company’s goal.  

Protect Wildlife 

It is important to limit your company’s disruption to the local wildlife when working. Certain projects may mean that scaffolding must be erected near surrounding trees and hedges. When working on these projects it is important that you and your employees are respecting the wildlife and minimising your environmental impact. At the end of a project ensure all waste is collected and discarded of correctly. Training employees on the importance of respecting the environment is also key to achieving your sustainability goals. 

Use lightweight scaffolding 

Traditional scaffolding poles are extremely heavy. Because of this they are transported to the site via trucks. Multiple trips may have to be made to ensure all the resources are at the sites. The use of lightweight scaffolding is recommended to help your business improve their sustainability. Lightweight scaffolding is made from aluminium therefore making it lighter than traditional scaffolding poles. Due to this, more poles can be fit into the trucks and can be easily transported. The trucks will inevitably use less fuel when transporting lighter materials.  In certain circumstances, lightweight scaffolding may not be suitable for a project however, when available it is a great way to minimise your carbon footprint.   

 

The scaffolding industry requires lots of materials and resources making it important that your business is doing everything they can to improve their sustainability.  

scaffolding outdoors
Everything to know for building a career in scaffolding

Here is everything you need to know before starting in the scaffolding industry:

 

Why scaffolding is a good trade to enter:

Scaffolding provides builders and workers a safe and secure platform to carry out their duties meaning most construction projects see it as a necessity. Due to this, the demand for qualified workers is increasing. The UKs scaffolding and access industry is worth £2.86bn to the economy, with more than 6,000 businesses employing 34,000 scaffolding operatives. The scaffolding industry offers a hugely diverse range of well-paid jobs and careers. Although scaffolding is a very hard and physical job the rewards outweigh the hard work. Keep reading to find out how you can start your career in the scaffolding industry.

What education do I need?

There are three main ways to start learning scaffolding which include a college course, an apprenticeship or work. To study scaffolding at college many decide to take a level 1 or 2 certificate in construction operations. Doing this will teach you some of the key skills needed for a career in scaffolding. This course will also teach you what is needed to get a trainee position with a company.

Alternatively, you could train through scaffolder intermediate apprenticeship. This usually takes 18 months to complete and will allow you to do to on-the-job training whilst also spending time at a college or training provider. Although not as common, some people decide to join a company as a trainee scaffolder or scaffolding labourer and get their qualifications on the job.

Skills and knowledge needed:

Before you start scaffolding, it is important that you have the right skills and knowledge needed for the trade. These include:

  • Knowledge of building and construction.
  • Able to pay attention to detail.
  • Patience and the ability to remail calm in stressful situations.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • The ability to work well with your hands.
  • Knowledge of public safety and security.
  • The ability to operate and control equipment.
  • Physical fitness and endurance.
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.

Restrictions:

Scaffolding involves working at great heights, meaning it is important that you are comfortable with this. Having a good level of fitness is also necessary to ensure that you can carry out daily tasks efficiently.

Daily tasks:

Every project a scaffolder works on could be different however, here are some of the tasks you could be completing:

  • unloading scaffolding from a lorry
  • putting up scaffolding poles and attach horizontal tubes to them
  • creating stable bases on the ground
  • fixing scaffolding to a building
  • taking down scaffolding at the end of a job
  • laying planks across scaffolding for workers to walk on
  • fixing guard rails and safety nets
  • ensuring the scaffolding is secure before handing over

Working environment:

As a scaffolder you may have to travel for work, how far will depend on the company you work for. You could be working on a demolition site, at a client’s business or on a construction site. Scaffolders work outdoors and, in all weathers, whilst being at a great height. You will be a part of a team so it is important that you can communicate and work well with other people.

Potential progression:

Potential promotions in the scaffolding industry could include:

  • scaffolding gang supervisor
  • scaffolding designer
  • a site safety inspector
  • construction manager

Alternatively, further in your career you could decide to start your own scaffolding business.

 

Although scaffolding is hard and can come with its challenges, it is a very rewarding trade to start building your career.

Outdoor scaffolding from backstage
Industries that need scaffolding

Industries that need scaffolding

 

The role of scaffolding in ensuring safety and accessibility for workers in various industries

Scaffolding is a temporary structure that offers support and elevation. It plays a vital role in the safety and accessibility for workers. Scaffolding is most associated with construction, however, is vital in many other industries.

Construction:

Scaffolding is most associated within the constructive industry and is seen as a standard for most companies. This is due to the safety and accessibility it provides. Scaffolding allows workers to move materials and access the building site in a safe and secure way whilst at considerable heights. Construction companies need to ensure the safety of their workers and scaffolding is the best way to do this.

Civil engineering:

Civil engineering uses scaffolding to inspect and survey projects through the process. Scaffolding allows civil engineers to access and view every aspect of the structure to carry out necessary repairs, maintenance and any audits or checks in a safe manner. Similar to construction, scaffolding allows civil engineers to work in a safe environment whilst also being able to work efficiently.

Window Cleaning:

Whilst window cleaning companies may initially opt for rope access options, if not readily available, scaffolding can be a great substitute. Window cleaning can involve working at great heights and a scaffolding tower is a much safer alternative than rope access. Scaffolding towers can reach the desired height whilst also providing storage for equipment.

Event Management:

Event planners may choose to decorate scaffolding for stages, theatres, and events.  Scaffolding is a very sturdy structure so is perfect for the professional installation of screens, speakers, and lights. As scaffolding can be quickly assembled and dismantled, it is safe and effective for temporary operations.

Photography and Film:

Professional photographers and camera operators may need to capture certain moments at higher angels. Scaffolding is easy to assemble and can securely hold cameras and lights without any hassle. Whilst scaffolding is not commonly associated with photography, many in the industry decide to use it within their company.

Here at DDC, we provide safe and effective scaffolding to help your company.

 

a photo of an old scaffolding being erected
The history of scaffolding

The history of scaffolding

 

What is Scaffolding?

When working on construction and renovation sites, it is important that Workers can navigate easily and safely around the site. This is where scaffolding is important. Scaffolds are temporary platforms used so that workers can work efficiently at a greater height. They are essential in ensuring the safety of workers and increasing risk management. Scaffolding has been used for thousands of years and no major construction project can be completed without them. During the 20th century construction methods became more advanced which led to scaffolding evolving into the lightweight, durable, and essential platforms we see today.

 

The first signs of scaffolding:

One of the first signs of scaffolding being used in history is in the Palaeolithic caves at Lascaux in western France. These cave walls are covered in pre-historic drawings consisting of animals, abstract symbols, and human figures. Some of these drawings can be found on the ceilings of these caves which wouldn’t have been within reach of our ancestors. Sockets can be found around the drawings which is one of the biggest indicators of scaffold like structures being used.

 

Ancient Egyptians:

The Pyramids of Giza are one of the oldest and only seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. Historians for years have developed many different theories of how the Ancient Egyptians built these pyramids using blocks of stones, with each weighing between twenty-five and eighty tonnes without any machinery. One of the most plausible theories is that wooded scaffold like ramps were used by workers to lift the stones. It is thought that these scaffold-like structures were built on each level of the pyramid to help lift the stones. Scaffolding during this time would have been constructed with planks and wooden uprights tied together with simple knots made by sides or willow branches.

 

Ancient China:

One of the main signs of modern scaffolding being used in history was in Ancient China. Bamboo tied together with rope was used to form structures which are very similar to modern scaffolding. This bamboo scaffolding was said to be used during the early developments of the Great Wall of China. Bamboo scaffolding has continued to evolve and is still used, especially in Southeast Asia.

 

The Middle Ages:

Architecture continued to develop through history which meant scaffolding also had to develop. As construction techniques became more advanced, builders designed a wooden structure which was strong enough to support workers and materials. These structures were usually held together using mortise and tenon joints. During the Middle Ages, the use of scaffolding started to increase. It was used for everything including simple houses to cathedrals. Monks is the Middle Ages were trained specially to build these scaffoldings.

 

Modern Scaffolding:

During the industrial revolution, many new materials and construction techniques were developed which led to scaffolding evolving into what we know today. This new type of scaffolding was now made with steel which was more durable and easier to assemble. Specialised scaffolding was developed to meet new needs and buildings started to use different materials including concrete and steel. During the 20th century, scaffolding continued to develop with system scaffolds becoming popular in the 1950s. The first mobile scaffolds were developed in the 1980s. These allowed workers to move scaffolds easier, making them more accessible. Today, scaffolding is designed to be lightweight, durable, and easy to assemble. They are now essential for the safety of workers on construction and renovation sites, allowing them to work at greater heights with minimal risk.

DDC domestic scaffolding services on home
Looking forward to a positive 2023

OK, we accept that the last few years have been tricky for various reasons, but the start of a new year is always an opportunity to park those issues and move forward in a positive and productive manner and that’s exactly what we intend to do here at DDC Scaffolding.

We handle commercial and domestic scaffolding projects in Torbay and across the wider South-West region and we get a real sense that more and more people and businesses are taking up this positive approach to life in general. It’s that sort of thinking that creates confidence, especially in the construction sector that we serve.

We have no doubt that building projects and major developments will continue in 2023 and beyond. The domestic market will thrive as customers look to redevelop or extend their existing properties and then of course there’s the continued need for improvements such as roofing repairs and general maintenance. All of this is good for the construction industry as well as being good for us at DDC Scaffolding.

But if 2023 is about to a be a good, positive year then we need to be ready for it and for DDC Scaffolding that means a continued investment in the business and our people. With people in mind, we’ll continue with our ‘safety first’ philosophy. It’s this which sets us apart from our competitors meaning that the sites that we operate on are always safe and secure as far as scaffolding’s concerned.

When we work on large scale commercial construction projects in Torbay, there’s always a complete reassurance that’s delivered by the DDC Scaffolding name. It means we never use damaged tubes and always have pristine boards, well-constructed handrailing, good edge protection and proper gantry areas and safety gates. In addition, our team are fully qualified, experienced and knowledgeable.

These are the reasons why our customers are often repeat customers, and it explains our growing reputation for doing things in the right way where safe access is our number one priority.

If this year is to be a positive and productive twelve-month period, then will need a bit of luck to avoid anything like a major pandemic, but on the understanding that we can avoid that fate then there’s absolutely no reason why 2023 shouldn’t be a great year. Positivity will be key as that breeds confidence and it’s confidence that the construction industry is built on.

So, let’s have no talking down the industry, no doom and gloom for the foreseeable future and be ready to tackle the year. We certainly will be at DDC Scaffolding and if you’d like to talk to us about any commercial or domestic scaffolding needs for Torbay or the wider South-West region then get in contact with one of the team.

All the best for 2023 from everyone at DDC Scaffolding.