Scaffolding: What Types Are There?
The simple definition of scaffolding states that it is a "temporary platform on which workers stand or sit to perform a task at heights above ground level." While this is true enough, choosing the right scaffolding for the task at hand is not as simple and is an important decision to make, since workers' lives are at stake. There are many types of scaffolding to choose from. Which type is right for you?
Types of Scaffolding
There are three basic categories of scaffolding you would use:
- Ground supported scaffolding: This is any kind of scaffolding that is build or erected from the ground up and fully or primarily supported by its ground structure. Technically, a ladder is included in this type of scaffolding, but the best example of this type of scaffolding is the "birdcage" scaffolding we often see this outside large high-rise developments. The complex structure of this type of scaffolding is often as much of an engineering marvel as is the building that is being erected.
- Suspended scaffolding: One of the maintenance dilemmas posed by highrise steel and glass structures is how to keep the windows clean. In many cases, this problem is solved by the installation of suspended (or swingstage) scaffolding on the roofs of the buildings. Window washing crews, painters and maintenance crews gain access to the upper levels of windows by means electronically controlled steel pulleys that control the movements of the scaffolding "stage".
- Cantilever scaffolding: When work has to be done outside of a single level of an open structure, often the most time and cost effective way to gain access is by way of cantilevered scaffolding. This type of scaffolding has a rigid support system that extends horizontally outward from the interior of the structure that is being worked on.