Scaffolding is a chief component to construction work and many different types of scaffolding have been used for thousands of years. Certain historians allege that the ancient Egyptians used primitive forms of scaffolding when constructing the Pyramids of Giza. Since its inception many years ago, scaffolding has progressively evolved into what we know of it today. Approximately 100 years ago, scaffolding was predominantly constructed with steel, however towards the later part of the 20th century, hard anodised aluminium became more attractive as a result of its tough yet lightweight composition. Even though scaffolding is usually affiliated with the construction of buildings, it's also used by painters, window washers and DIY homeowners undertaking renovations and other repairs in tough to reach places.
While scaffolding has customarily been sold at large hardware stores, the introduction of the internet delivered more efficient ways for scaffolding to be sold online. These days, scaffolding products and accessories can be bought and delivered to your door within a couple of days. If you intend to make some home repairs or renovate your home, then scaffolding can clearly be useful for a range of different projects. But before you decide to purchase scaffolding, it's useful to obtain a general understanding of scaffolding, the various types of scaffolding and accessories, and scaffolding containment systems. This article aspires to answer these questions in detail.
What is scaffolding?
Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support workers and materials during the construction of buildings, bridges, repairs and maintenance, and many other types of structures. Now, scaffolding is typically constructed with timber, aluminium or steel, and the complexity of the project determines the complexity of the scaffolding required. Because of the many safety hazards involved with working from heights, safety is extremely important and it's essential to understand the risks associated with using scaffolding to conduct any type of construction work.
Types of Scaffolding
There are different types of scaffolding available, and the scaffolding you need relies on the kind of job being carried out and the operation height. Due to the importance of safety, manufacturers build very solid scaffolding foundations that are accompanied by numerous ties and clips that stabilise the scaffolding. Essentially, there are four fundamental types of scaffolding, and some construction firms will use more than one type when completing a project.
1. Single Pole
A popular type of scaffolding are single pole scaffolding platforms that rest on cross beams which are upheld on the ends either by holes in the side of the building or ledges. This type of scaffolding is easy to erect and dismantle and is relatively stable so is appropriate for light duty work such as painters and DIY homeowners. However, single pole scaffolding is not recommended for projects that require heavily altered structures.
Cantilever scaffolding, or needle scaffolding, is used when it is not possible for workers to base scaffolding on the ground, when constructions is being undertaken on a busy street, or when the construction is being carried out at large heights. As opposed to the timber platform resting on the side of the structure, the scaffolding angles out. While the applications for cantilever scaffolding is confined, it is simple to erect and can safely hold one worker and his/her supplies. This type of scaffolding is typically used near balconies or ledges.
Birdcage scaffolding involves evenly spaced poles that are stationed in parallel lines that resemble a large birdcage. Thick wooden planks are placed over the line of poles and are secured by clamping a diagonal brace that provides lift and stability. Also known as independent scaffolding, birdcage scaffolding is generally used for work carried out on a single level, for instance ceilings. This type of scaffolding can sway a lot in the wind, so workers will tie or brace the scaffolding to improve stability.
As the name suggests, suspended scaffolding uses a balanced platform that can be raised or lowered depending upon where the workers have to perform their jobs. The balanced platforms are suspended from an overhanging area of a building and are secured by heavy suspension ropes, a pulley, and a multitude of heavy weights. This type of scaffolding is used when it is too difficult to construct a base for the scaffolding, and is normally used by window washers on high-rise buildings.
Historically, a number of nuts and bolts were used in the assembly of scaffolding. The current lightweight tube used in constructing scaffolding has been around for approximately 60 years and is one of the core components. There are also hundreds of other scaffolding accessories that are used in the construction of scaffolding, however three main components make up the backbone of most scaffolding:
The timber boards used in scaffolding function as a platform for workers to stand on. In general, there are three sizes of boards: 38, 50, and 60mm thick and all have a standard width of 225mm with a maximum length of 3.9 m. Boards are protected by either metal plates called hoop irons or occasionally nail plates. Another type of board used in scaffolding is called the 'sole boards' which are positioned underneath the scaffolding to provide stability.
Tube are typically constructed with steel or aluminium due to its lightweight and flexibility, although there is composite scaffolding, which uses filament-wound tubes of glass fibre in a nylon or polyester matrix. Due to the high costs of composite tubes, they are frequently only used when there is a safety risk from overhead electric cables. Even though tubes come in multiple lengths, the standard diameter is 43.8 mm.
Scaffolding couplers are fittings that hold tubes together and can be used to put together a diverse range of scaffolding structures or used as an accessory to prefabricated scaffolding systems. There are three standard types of couplers: right-angle couplers, putlog couplers and swivel couplers. Joint pins (or spigots) are used to join tubes end to end. Only right swivel couplers and right-angle couplers can be used to fix tubes in a 'load-bearing connection'.
There are countless other scaffolding accessories used, however a couple of the most commonly used accessories include ropes, anchor ties, ladders, gin wheels, reveal ties, sheeting and base plates. A lot of these prominent accessories are used in raising and lowering the scaffolding platform.
Scaffolding Containment Systems
Scaffolding containment systems help restrict dust, water, fumes, paint and other contaminants that can cause hazards to workers and the environment. Scaffolding containment systems can be securely fastened to almost any structure creating a continuous bonded skin. Where construction is being performed close to pedestrians and vehicles, scaffolding containment systems decrease the risk to the public from falling objects.
There are numerous types of materials used in scaffolding containment systems, however shade cloth is undoubtedly the most widely used. Wind must be able to travel through the shade cloth which not only diminishes the wind loading on the scaffolding and structure, it also allows ventilation and light. To learn more on scaffolding containment systems, click the following link: http://uni-span.com.au/news/uni-mesh-welcomes-uni-grid-to-the-containment-system-family/
Construction has virtually been around for tens of thousands of years and has become the foundation of the world we live in today. For many years, scaffolding has been a fundamental aspect of construction work and nowadays, there are various types of scaffolding that uses a wide variety of accessories to ensure construction can be completed efficiently and safely. In addition, scaffolding has many applications and isn't just limited to construction. Painters, window washers and DIY homeowners also make practical use of scaffolding to perform various projects. Even though it's good to have a common understanding of scaffolding, the types of scaffolding and accessories, and scaffolding containment systems, if you wish to work with scaffolding then it's best to get formal qualifications and licensing to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. If you're interested in acquiring a scaffolding licence, speak to the team at Uni-Span on 1300 882 825 or visit their website: http://uni-span.com.au
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