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What Qualifications Are Needed for Scaffolding?

Like any profession, becoming a successful scaffolder takes plenty of experience and training. Being one of the oldest professions, scaffolding has been assisting workers carry out construction projects for thousands of years. The temporary support platforms are designed to assist construction workers and materials when building, repairing, or maintaining structures. While the structures being built have evolved quite rapidly over the last hundred years, unfortunately the safety of workers is still a leading issue that requires constant care and attention.

Qualified scaffolders enjoy a wide range of activities, from ground inspections and assembly, maintenance, laying the flooring on each scaffolding level, and dismantling the scaffolding when it’s no longer required. In doing this, scaffolders need to comply with a myriad of workplace health and safety procedures to ensure the worksite is as safe as possible. Along with regular inspections, qualified scaffolders also need to consider the placement of scaffolding, installing safety barriers such as guardrails, and assessing whether any workplace changes will present new hazards to existing scaffolding equipment. If you’re interested in finding out what it takes to become a qualified scaffolder, here’s what you need to do.


To be able to assemble, maintain, alter, and disassemble scaffolding equipment where a person or materials can fall greater than four metres in height, you will require a 'High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding'. Despite this, every construction company has a duty to make sure that workplace health and safety standards are being upheld. This includes delivering information, instructions, training, and supervision to workers to ensure that scaffolding is safe at all times.

High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding

There are essentially three classes of High Risk Work Licences that scaffolders can attain: Scaffolding Basic, Scaffolding Intermediate, and Scaffolding Advanced. The type of scaffolding work you are allowed to perform under each of these licences vary:

Scaffolding Basic

  • Prefabricated scaffolds
  • Cantilevered hoist with a load limit not exceeding 500 kilograms (materials only)
  • Gin wheels
  • Ropes
  • Safety nets and static lines
  • Bracket scaffolds (tank and formwork)

Scaffolding Intermediate

In conjunction with all the work that falls under Scaffolding Basic:

  • Tube and coupler scaffolds including tube and coupler covered ways and gantries
  • Cantilever and spurred scaffolds
  • Cantilever crane loading platforms
  • Mast climbers
  • Barrow ramps and sloping platforms
  • Scaffolding associated with perimeter safety screens and shutters

Scaffolding Advanced

In conjunction with all the work that falls under Scaffolding Basic and Scaffolding Intermediate:

  • Hung scaffolds, including scaffolds hanging from tubes, wire ropes and chains.
  • Suspended scaffolds

Once you’ve completed the relevant training and have been approved by the appropriate body, you need to lodge your paperwork with the relevant Government authority within 60 days to receive your High Risk Work Licence.

If you wish to acquire your Scaffolding Advanced certification, you must complete both your Scaffolding Basic and Scaffolding Intermediate training. Additionally, you will need to complete your Scaffolding Basic before you can obtain your Scaffolding Intermediate certification. The fees for each of these licences vary between states and territories.

After you have received your High Risk Work Licence, it is valid for five years and includes the expiry date and licence class. All qualified scaffolders must have their licence with them when carrying out any scaffolding work. Although you obtain your High Risk Work Licence through your state's relevant body, all High Risk Work Licences are nationally recognised all over Australia.

Interested in securing your licence?

To become a productive scaffolder, there are numerous skills and qualities needed. Scaffolding is physically demanding work, so strength and fitness is required to be able to carry out the work proficiently. In addition, a good understanding of the risks linked to working from heights and working with tools, chemicals, and heavy objects is required. Generally speaking, an exceptional awareness of health and safety is required coupled with high attention to detail.

If you're interested in speaking with a scaffolding professional before tackling your High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding, get in contact with Uni-Span by calling 1300 882 825.

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