What Are the Three Main Types of Scaffolding?

What Are the Three Main Types of Scaffolding?

Most construction jobs require scaffolding, whether the work involves repair, improvement, demolition or new building. Working above ground-level without it would be not only impractical, but also unacceptably dangerous. There are numerous types of scaffolding. Up to a point, each job needs to be individually designed to suit the particular environment. In practice, though, they break down into three principal types, along with a number of other more specialist designs.

Types of Scaffolding

Supported Scaffolding

This is the type most people think of when they hear the word scaffolding. Supported scaffolding is built from the ground up the side of the building, using materials ranging from metal tubes and couplers (very common in the UK) to timber or even bamboo scaffolding, though the latter is mainly used in China.

Held in place both by the ground and the side of the building, supported scaffolding is generally the safest way of achieving elevation. It’s also one of the most flexible. In the case of a new build, for instance, an extra level can be added on reaching each storey, while that works in reverse for a demolition, where each level is dismantled as the structure is taken down from the top.

Mobile Scaffolding

Also known as rolling scaffolding, this is built up in a similar way to supported scaffolding, but is free standing and mounted on castors. It’s ideal for large sites, especially those with multiple projects, where it would be impractical to constantly dismantle and reconstruct scaffolding.

Of course, this has the potential for extra hazards. It’s essential that the castors are locked before anyone works on mobile scaffolding.

Suspended Scaffolding

Building scaffolding from the ground up is all very well for a two-storey building, or even a ten-storey one, but it can be completely impractical if work is required on a very tall building. In these circumstances, suspended scaffolding is used.

This is hung from the roof of the building and can be raised or lowered to different floors. Its most familiar use is to allow window-cleaners to work on skyscrapers, but it can also be used for repairs or to move equipment between levels.

Other Types of Scaffolding

These are the most common, but there are many other types. Birdcage scaffolding is a small structure to access a particular location, cantilever scaffolding, only fixed at one end, gives access to hard-to-reach places, while an aerial lift provides more flexibility than suspended scaffolding.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you want to discuss your scaffolding needs.