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Thread: The Fully Comprehensive Guide to Scaffolding.

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    Default The Fully Comprehensive Guide to Scaffolding.

    The Fully Comprehensive Guide to Scaffolding.

    NOTE: This guide is written with the intentions of helping and giving as much useful info to the users of the Scaffolders Forum as possible. Any info is as upto date and correct as i can make it, if anything is wrong or amiss, please add a reply at the bottom and it will be updated when i can.

    ~ Contents ~
    (Post by post, please click the links provided.)

    1. Origins of Scaffolding.
    2. Beginner terminology and details.
    3. Intermediate/Advanced terminology and details.
    4. Risks, dangers and important considerations.
    5. The future.

    ~ Origins of Scaffolding ~

    Scaffolding has been an integral part of the Building/Construction trade for several thousand years. Even the Great Pyramids of Egypt had an early version of Scaffolding around parts of it to help build maybe the most magnificent structures on the planet.
    Theres evidence of Scaffolding used in parts of ancient Rome, Greece and even as far a field as China and South America, back when some of the colossal ancient wonders of the world were built.

    Scaffolding started as timber logs lashed with rope/hemp/cloth or hammered with iron nails together to build basic 'skeletons' that would be lapped with flat timber boards for Stone Masons, Painters, Thatchers, Metalsmiths and even Artists to use as a platform to apply their skills.
    There it stayed, humbly as wood on wood, until after World War II.

    In 1950: After WWII, London and other parts of the country were nigh-on destroyed by Germany and its elite air force - The Luftwafer.
    Huge rebuilding projects were planned and there was an apparent market for a more modern, stronger and practical type of Scaffolding to be invented. (Though there is some evidence of it being used even earlier then that.)
    Thus: Tube and Fitting was born.

    Since then it has been one of the most respected and most revered trades in the Construction Industry.
    Many other forms of Scaffolding now exist, as well as Tube and Fitting (used mainly in Britain), including: CupLok, Haki, Layher and KwikStage all of which are commonly used throughout the world.

    In modern times, Scaffolding has become the most important part of the Construction Industry, with hundreds of thousands of tons being transported, erected, struck and modified around the world everyday.
    Many other trades are almost now solely dependant on Scaffolding to be able to work themselves - This simple, yet incredibly complex idea has become the access/egress and general safety tool of choice for the entire Construction Industry.
    British Scaffolding also requires tradesmen to be fully qualified and trained under CITB and CISRS certifications.
    British trained, qualified Scaffolders are now highly sought after, for their expertise and experience around the world to bring other countries upto speed in Health and Safety.

    Its a hard job, a dangerous job, a loved job.
    One that isn't recognised as an 'official' trade, due to having little to no representation in the higher circles of Construction... but now with the SCCR (Scaffolders Confederation for Consultation Rights) starting to fight our corner and working with the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and NASC (The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation) - the future is bright for Scaffolding and all those who work in the game.

    A common Scaffolding Design:

    Please click the BLUE attached links for additional info, including those below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dictionary Definition.
    scaf·fold (skfld, -ld)
    1. A temporary platform, either supported from below or suspended from above, on which workers sit or stand when performing tasks at heights above the ground.
    2. A raised wooden framework or platform.
    3. A platform used in the execution of condemned prisoners, as by hanging or beheading.

    tr.v. scaf·fold·ed, scaf·fold·ing, scaf·folds
    1. To provide or support with a raised framework or platform.
    2. To place on a raised framework or platform.

    "Every step of progress the world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold, and from stake to stake."
    Wendell Phillips

    ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

    ~ Beginner terminology and details ~

    A scaffold is a short term platform put up with the help of poles and other tools. Scaffolds are usually prepared of galvanized steel along with metal or wood planking. It is the steel ones that are more long standing sue to its sturdiness and anti decomposition attribute. In this way it makes the entire process absolutely protected for self as well as for the workers.

    Basic Scaffolding is fairly straight forward.
    Fittings join tubes together and boards then sit on the tubes, creating a safe and sturdy platform for other trades to work.

    Theres several 'primary' fittings and several 'secondary' fittings.

    Primary fittings:
    • Doubles - official name: Right-Angle Couplers.
    • Clips - official name: Single Couplers.
    • Sleeves - official name: Joiner Couplers.
    • Swivels - official name: Swivel Couplers.

    These 4 are used commonly and everyday.

    Secondary fittings:
    • Gravloks - official name: Steel or Girder Clamps - (SK's are slightly different fittings, invented by a Scaffolder called Steven Knight, hence the name SK).
    • Spigots - official name: Internal Joiner Couplers.
    • T Clips - official name: Board Retainer Clips.
    • Wrigleys - official name: Sheeting Clips.

    These 4 are used not as often as those above, but are still very important components used in Scaffolding.

    Tubes are 'joined' together using these various fittings.
    Tubes are almost always made from Galvanised Steel and are 48.3mm in diameter or nearly 2" (inches). They are tough and versatile, but also heavy and require respect, when moving these by hand, because if picked up wrong, they can cause damage to your back/legs or shoulders.
    They come in a variety of sizes and can usually be cut into what ever size that is required. Though often they come in sizes of: 21', 16', 13', 10', 8', 5' (foot).

    Terminology ranges from area to area, but most are common...
    • 'Standards' are the tubes that are vertical.
    • 'Ledgers' are the tubes that are horizontal.
    • 'Braces' are the tubes that are diagonal.
    • 'Transoms' are the tubes that run horizontal also, but from one 'Ledger' to the other.

    • Standards are usually in groups of 4 to start then in groups of 2, then 2, then 2 and so on.
    • Ledgers are usually in groups of 2, then 2, then 2 and so on.
    • Braces (Ledger) are usually added at every other Standard to keep the width of the Scaffold precise and Braces (Sway or façade), are usually added every 5 bays from Standard to Standard, to keep a Scaffold straight.
    • Transoms have 2 main uses. To help secure the Ledgers and Braces together and to take the Scaffold Boards, so that the working platform can be built. Theres usually 4/5 Transoms per board.

    • Boards are basically Timber/treated Pine planks that are used to work off, once a Scaffold is erected. - EVERY trade, including Scaffolders who work/walk on a Scaffolding works off of Scaffolding Boards. They are usually 225mm thick and come in various lengths, including: 13', 10', 8', 5' (foot)

    Scaffolding sections vertical are called 'Lifts' and Scaffolding sections horizontal are called 'Bays'.

    Ropes are also a much used and useful part of Scaffolding.
    Ladders and sheeting are often ties with rope/lashing (just like the old days, lol.) and ropes are used to 'pull' equipment upto where your working.
    Ginney Wheels are still even now very much a part of a Scaffolders kit, just like they was over 50 years ago.

    Certain knots are commonly used.

    Please view this Video for a look at Scaffolding Apprenticeships.

    [ame=]Scaffolder - Construction Apprenticeships - YouTube[/ame]

    "It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time."
    David Allan Coe

    ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

    ~ Intermediate/Advanced terminology and details ~

    More Advanced stuff is learned in a training college, or more usually with actual on-site experience.

    The way of things is most of the time:
    • Worker becomes Labourer.
    • Labourer becomes Trainee.
    • Trainee becomes Basic Scaffolder.
    • Basic Scaffolder becomes Advanced Scaffolder.

    The more experienced and qualified you are/become the more your able to do, both knowledge wise and legally.

    Basic Scaffolds:
    • Independents.
    • Birdcages.
    • Towers.
    • Loading Bays.
    • Roof Saddles.
    • Cantilever/Trussouts.
    • Beamwork.

    Advanced Scaffolds:
    • Hanging/Slung Scaffolds.
    • Shoring.
    • Bridging.
    • Hoists/Winches.
    • Cradles.
    • Ramps and Staircases.
    • Temporary Roofs.
    • Gantries.

    Each type of Scaffold is constructed for a specific purpose.
    Some need Design Drawings made for them and others that are maybe less complex are done, via a Scaffolders brain, using experience from other sites and situations to build a Scaffold as safe and easy as possible.

    Hanging Scaffold over the ocean:

    Independent, with Buttress and several run offs:

    As a Scaffold is erected higher and higher, ties are legally required to be added to the Scaffold. - To ensure that the Scaffold is 110% safe and risk of collapse is as low as possible.

    Theres several types of ties available to a Scaffolder.
    • 'Box' ties are when a Scaffold is tied around a girder or column.
    • 'Lip' ties are when i tube is either pinched behind a solid structure or when it is physically boxed using tubes, around a girder/column.
    • Fixed ties or sometimes called 'Hilti' ties are when a threaded bolt/rod or fitting is inserted into a wall, after a hole has been drilled and its been blow-out and cleaned.
    • Sometimes Chemical Resin is used to tie a Scaffold in.

    Theres a few other types of tie, but those above are usually the most common.

    Mesh, netting, sheeting are all used to prevent dust/debris to fall onto the public.
    And while these are added, ties MUST not be tampered with or altered, unless instructed by your Foreman/Chargehand.

    Scaffolding isn't just on muddy old building sites... Theres a massive number of situations that Scaffolding would be needed:
    • Powerstations.
    • Schools.
    • Trainstations.
    • Hospital.
    • Hotels.
    • Houses and Flats.
    • Docks.
    • Barges.
    • Oil Rigs.
    • ... and many more.

    Some jobs require Specialised qualifications also.

    "Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves."
    Adrienne Clarkson

    ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

    ~ Risks, dangers and important considerations ~

    Things to consider BEFORE starting out as a Scaffolder.
    Are you:
    Mentally and Physically fit?
    Good with heights?
    Hard working?
    Mad as a hatter? (only asking, because you have to be crazy to do this everyday, lol.)

    Scaffolders are required to wear PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) as a part of their working tools - along with hand tools. Harnesses are now mandatory, along with safety Boots, Hardhats and Hi-viz vests.
    Some sites are making safety Glasses and Gloves a mandatory part of ALL Construction work.
    More info is provided on Scaffolding Safe Practices on the NASC Youtube Channel.
    SG4:10 is the upto date approved codes of practice that all Scaffolders are required to follow.

    [ame=]SG4:10 Safe Scaffold Guidance - YouTube[/ame]
    Though its constantly being updated and revised.

    Never break your back... at the end of the day, like your eyes - you only have 1 back and once its gone, it CANNOT be replaced/returned to its original state.
    Work as hard as you need to to do the job, but showing off and trying to be a hero will do nothing for your 'street-cred'... It'll only make you look stupid, infront of your fellow Scaffolders.

    Scaffolding companies, like any firm are a business and they will continue to try to make a profit, even if that means 'knocking' some of your hard earned cash.
    Dont take it, be strong and stand up for yourself.

    Upto date rates of pay (for a London site) should be:

    • Yard worker: £50-70 a day.
    • Labourer: £70-90 a day.
    • Trainee: £90-110 a day.
    • Basic: £110-130 a day.
    • Advanced: £130-150+

    Dont let firms take the **** out of you.
    Get a fair days work for a fair days pay.

    Your employer also has several legal duties to adhere to, as per YOUR Health and Safety.

    Quote Originally Posted by HSE
    Section 7 of the Act clearly states that, while at work, all employees have a duty not to endanger themselves or others through their acts or omissions; and to cooperate with their employer, e.g. by wearing protective equipment.

    7. It shall be the duty of every employee while at work-

    (a) to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and

    (b) as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by or under any of the relevant statutory provisions, to co-operate with him so far as is necessary to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with.

    Section 8 also states that no person (whether an employee or not) shall misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare.

    Starting off in the Yard is a great way to learn the basics of Scaffolding equipment.
    There you can learn the difference between various fittings and why tubes are stacked and carried how they are...
    Or the alternative - Starting as a Scaffold Labourer on site, in which you will have to learn and FAST, how to Labour correctly.

    Setting out a job is an important part of Labouring.
    Standards require at the very least a 'Base-Plate' and sometimes, depending on the type of ground your basing out on, a 'Sole Board' - which is a small piece of Scaffolding Board, but to atleast 18" (inches) in length.
    Duties as a Scaffold Labourer are to keep 'your' Scaffolders with enough equipment for them to continuously work, keep the Scaffold tidy and to make sure that theres a plentiful supply of Tea and Coffee, lol.

    After a few years of Labouring, you should be ready to start your Scaffolding training, as a Trainee Scaffolder, which after a few years of that, you should be confident and experienced enough to get your Basic Scaffolding card and become fully qualified.

    Once you become a qualified Scaffolder, theres a few things to consider further... Like: Never endanger yourself or others, at the end of the day, if ANYTHING goes wrong - YOU WILL BE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS and your employer will make sure that if anyone has to be prosecuted... it will be you!

    Its pretty much the most dangerous job in Construction and one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, so dont put yourself at more risk then you need to.
    Your employer can afford to wait another day, for a Scaffold to be erected/struck, can your family afford for you to be out of work for several months with a broken back or worse?

    Ultimately your responsible for your own Health and Safety.

    "Courage is what preserves our liberty, safety, life, and our homes and parents, our country and children. Courage comprises all things."

    ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

    ~ The future ~

    The future looked bleak a few years ago... Recession was starving the Construction Industry of much needed funding, which was keeping alot of our fellow Scaffolders out of work.

    But with new Health and Safety laws being brought out all the time and with tools like this Forum being used by more and more of us, things are starting to look brighter for us Scaffolders.

    Theres several high profile projects starting up after the 2012 London Olympics, from new-build Powerstations and Rail Networks to massive Housing Projects and Skyscrapers.

    Work is now beginning to pick up and once again, we can start to earn the kind of money that we should ALL be getting.

    A good thing to remember is: No matter where you are, what your doing? - Your doing something that VERY few others can do. Scaffolding is a job that everyone trys to do, but few actually stick at it.
    For that alone, you should be able to smile at your own achievements, as you have achieved so much already, before you even turn your spanner.

    An old picture of a team of Scaffolders:

    With thanks to the Scaffolders Forum and its members and to its creator: SF Admin for taking the time to make this great forum and give us all a place to laugh, cry, fight and shout with 1 voice.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this Post.
    I will keep it updated if anyone wants to add anymore info that could be of-use.

    Jason Gibbs.
    Last edited by Jason-Gibbs; 15th September 2011 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Updated: Thu 15/09/11.

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  3. #2
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    nice post jay,but sad to confirm that sgb were in fact the inovators of tube and fiting.i beleive they started using this form in the 1930s.i have worked with guys whose grandad used to erect huge hanger like structures un the clydeside so that the germans wouldnt bomb the rolls royce plant,or any of the many shipyards that were building ships for the war effort.
    he would then go back the next day to cut up the damaged scaffold and re-erect

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    wheizz (17th December 2015)

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    Hats off to ya J. Now I know what Ive gotta do to be a scaf

    Great post!

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    2 " water pipe max length 21' = first scaffold tube, SGB made the universal B&P to suit the out side diameter 2", water pipe were then cut to size butts, transoms, braces, ledgers, standards and so starteth the first lesson

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    daftscaff (15th September 2011)

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    is this andres sgovia a polish scaff jay

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    Well done the man Jason that looks great mate

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    great post mate
    section 5 how to lump beams about all day, and carry heavy loads.
    Have you ever seen a Mackem punch a horse


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    Good one jason

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    Excellent work, Jason. Must have taken you ages putting that together. I am sure it will be very appreciated.

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    DOG1 (2nd August 2016)

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    Great job Jason.

    Thread Stuck!
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