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Things to Consider When Buying Scaffolding for Your Site

By: Grant King, IndustrySearch Writer
03 March, 2016

Is scaffolding just a temporary working frame on the outside of a building? Or is a building itself, albeit with a short life span? The latter way of thinking is preferable if you plan to take your scaffolding seriously.

Essentially it needs to perform the same tasks as a multi-storey building – to safely house a large number of people and equally safely return them to ground level after each shift. It needs to be as sturdy and reliable as the structure it's wrapped around. So, with that in mind, here are a few ways to ensure your scaffolding isn't folding.

Only stock standard

International standards for scaffolding are about as varied as building designs, so make sure you're up to speed with Australian standards before you go shopping. Each scaffolding component from the tubes and boards to the couplers has its own specific quality and strength requirements and will come with proper certification to show that it meets them. 

Don't fall for pirated parts

Using cheap scaffolding copied from a reputable manufacturer might save money, but it won't save lives. If you expect copied scaffolding components to be as good as the originals, you probably also expect pirated DVD rip-offs to be the same quality as the genuine article. You might get lucky, but mostly it's not the case. Cheap scaffolding might look the same, but a closer inspection often reveals inferior, brittle and dangerous materials. Only buy original scaffolding from companies who can provide genuine certification and guarantee safety standards.

Climb stairs, not ladders

Ladders are officially the most dangerous, diabolical invention at the best of times and they have no place on any safety-conscious building site, let alone attached to scaffolding. Generally ladders are poked up through scaffolding via holes; holes workers can fall through. Your safest option is to choose scaffolding with external stairway access and keep all platforms completely clear and hazard-free.

Vet your vendor

Make sure your vendor knows their scaffolding inside and out and that they have the experience and knowhow to deal with any problems, be that one year or five years down the track. If something malfunctions you need to be sure your supplier has the knowledge and sales backup to deal with it quickly and fairly. Also make sure every component can be matched to a batch number and time of manufacture. Occasionally one faulty component can uncover the same issue with an entire batch. If everything is marked accordingly, eliminating the offending parts is quick and easy with minimal downtime.

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Robert Watson | Thursday, March 3, 2016, 5:24 AM
Both in Europe and in the USA, it is illegal to substitute parts between equipment unless the mfr approves of the substitution in writing. In addition to scaffolding, this goes for MHE such as scissor lifts, bucket lifts, forklifts, cranes, and racking systems as well when it come to parts that affect the normal operation, safety, occupational health and the environment, e.g., exhaust system, noise, and emission control system components.