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Scaffold Structures: Essential Risk Management

Building and renovating large-scale construction projects is a herculean task. The sheer amount of workforce and machinery required makes it an overwhelming job for new builders. While considering such large scale constructions, the safety management of the project is a consuming responsibility to handle. That is why one can outsource risk management strategies to contractors with specific experience in this field. These contractors take care of all the necessary hazard reduction procedures and protocols involved in the project. A significant component of this is scaffolding.

Scaffolding is the structure surrounding the building that mainly aids the crew to move around the structure and also to move materials required for construction. They are especially vital for multi-floor projects, though one can use them for small scale buildings as well. Scaffolding comes in various sizes and is usually rectangular in dimension. They can be assembled according to the project requirements and dismantled on completion.

These structures ensure maximum safety of workers too. Scaffold structures come in many materials and varieties. Every builder is required to know about the different scaffold structure requirements for their project.

MATERIALS

Scaffold structures are available in a range of materials, though the most commonly used material is aluminium. Aluminium is durable and can withstand most weather conditions. As aluminium is a malleable metal, one can arrange it in various designs that fit the structure of the building.

Fibreglass is also emerging as a popular alternative to aluminium. It too offers the sturdiness of the metal and can be arranged to fit the design of the building. According to the needs, the material of the scaffold structure is chosen.

THREE TYPES

A vital consideration for scaffolding is weight capacity. This feature determines how much load the structure can support. Based on this, scaffold structures are available in three types: light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty. Other factors like height of the building, weight of the materials, crew and the conditions of the soil come into consideration when gauging the type required as well. Light-duty scaffold structures can bear a maximum of 11 kgs or 25 pounds per square foot applied uniformly, and heavy-duty ones can carry 34 kgs or 75 pounds per square foot.

COMPONENTS

Scaffold structures consist of many components that aid in assembling and dismantling them. The main element is the horizontal ledger that directly supports the weight of the crew and materials. This ledger connects to the standard, which is the vertical component with connector joints. A transom runs across the ledger to support a batten/decking unit which is the platform for the crew to stand on. These have brackets that one can use to extend the width of the platform. A diagonal brace, fitted at the openings in the scaffold structure, provides additional support.

Couplers allow the joining of these different components into a structure. The entire structure rests on a base jack or plate and is tied to the building using scaffold ties. Additionally, stairs, elevators, trolleys and rubbish chutes are added to the structure to aid transportation.

SAFETY STANDARDS

A significant hazard in construction is the risk of falling from heights or the scaffold structure collapsing. While there are methods to check these like the deflection method, a national standard is also in place to ensure the use of top quality products. The Model WHS (Work, Health and Safety) regulations stipulate the conditions a scaffold structure has to comply with for it to be authorised. One can avoid scaffolding accidents if the structure meets these standards.

Scaffolding is an essential part of any construction and requires attention to detail. Builders will have a lot of planning and management to do for each structure, which makes outsourcing scaffold services to experienced contractors a beneficial choice. This way, they can ensure maximum safety of their crew and building materials while also making the entire process more efficient.

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