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.