The Different Types of Scaffolding, Explained

Experts project the construction scaffolding market to be worth $78.4 billion by 2026. The rise in new constructions and building maintenance demands will fuel this growth. North America, in particular, holds a huge chunk of shares within this market.
Another good reason behind this growth is the surge in DIY home improvement projects. In the US alone, three-quarters of surveyed homeowners undertook such activities in 2020. Many of these improvements require being at a height, which scaffolding provides.
So, if you plan to carry out such a project yourself, it's best to know the different types of scaffolding first. This way, you can start and finish the job in a safe, efficient manner.
To that end, we came up with this guide discussing the most common types of scaffolding. Read on to learn what they are so that you can pick the right one for your construction or maintenance project.
Trestle Scaffolding
Trestle scaffolding is a type of scaffold built from pre-made trestles and braces. They usually feature an A-frame or an H-frame. These are some of the most common types of scaffolding used by bricklayers and painters.
A trestle scaffold is easy to set up, which is why many DIY-ers rely on it. However, you need to make sure it has adequate edge protection or side barriers. It's also vital to cover the entire width of the trestle with planks to keep your feet from falling through gaps.
Depending on where you live, your trestle scaffold may have to meet legal standards. For example, New Zealand has its Scaffolding, Access & Rigging New Zealand (SARNZ) standard. It's a collection of guidelines that aim to prevent falls, which cost the country $24 million each year.
In the US, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration governs scaffold use. You'll find all standards, including those for trestle scaffolds, in Standard 1926.452.
Single Scaffolding
Single scaffolding also goes by the name "bricklayer's scaffold." As its nickname suggests, its most common use is for projects involving bricklaying. A single frame of ledgers, putlogs, standards, and platform makes up this scaffold.
To use a single scaffold, you need to erect it parallel to the wall you plan to work on. You can make the temporary platform more secure by using supplementary supports.
Double Scaffolding
Double Scaffolding, or independent scaffolding, is common in stone masonry work. That's because it's incredibly hard to create holes in stone walls to insert putlogs in. Double scaffolding addresses this by combining two scaffolds for a sturdier structure.
So, with a double scaffold, you don't need to erect the platform by the wall or the surface you have to work on. Instead, you put together two scaffolds that can then act as an independent structure. You can also add braces and cross beams to reduce shaking or wobbling.
Patented Scaffolding
Patented scaffolding, like steel scaffolding, also uses steel components. However, special frames and couplings hold the platform together. Moreover, these are readymade, so once you buy them, you can use them right away without having to set them up first.
Since patented scaffolds are pre-built, they come with an established height limitation. So, be sure to get one that would offer you the highest reach. You can then adjust the height of the working platform as needed.
Steel Scaffolding
Did you know that steel is 100% infinitely recyclable? What's more, recycling this metal alloy doesn't cause any loss of quality to the material. Depending on the grade, steel can be up to a thousand times stronger than iron.
So, it's no wonder that the use of steel scaffolding has become an industry standard.
This type of scaffolding uses steel tubes held together by couplers. It's quick and easy to assemble, and disassembling them is just as simple. It’s among the safest, most stable, and secure types of scaffolding.
Supported scaffolding is the most common form of steel scaffolding in construction. It involves erecting the platform from the ground up.
Rolling scaffolding is much like supported scaffolding, except the former comes with wheels. With rolling scaffolding, castor wheels get attached to the base, making it mobile. Many construction sites use this for jobs that span the length of a building.
Do note that steel scaffolding is a bit on the pricey side, though, what with all its benefits. The good news is that you don't have to buy them; you can just rent them out at reasonable scaffold hire prices.
Suspended Scaffolds
Suspended scaffolds are scaffolds suspended from an overhead structure. The scaffolds hang by ropes or by other non-rigid materials, such as chains or cables. They're adjustable, so it's easy to lower or raise their working platforms.
You'll find suspended scaffolds used in building maintenance, like wall and window cleaning. Many painters who work on tall buildings also rely on these platforms.
The most common type of suspended scaffolding is the two-point scaffold. Hangers, also called stirrups, support the working platform. Two ropes secured by overhead supports stabilize and secure the hangers.
Another common type of suspended scaffolding is the multi-point, adjustable scaffold. It works pretty much like the two-point kind, except that it relies on more than two ropes. This extra support makes multi-pointing scaffolding capable of carrying more people.
There's also a single-point, adjustable scaffold, but it's usually only for one person. That's because it uses only a single rope, cable, or chain secured to a single overhead support.
Prioritize Safety When Choosing Among the Different Types of Scaffolding
There are many other different types of scaffolding, but the ones above are the most common. They're among your top choices, as they're quite accessible, so they're easy to find and either buy or rent. With that said, renting may make more sense if you only plan to do a one-time DIY home improvement project.
However, the most important thing is to make sure you use a scaffold that meets safety standards. This way, you can worry less about fall accidents.
Interested in more construction guides like this? Then please feel free to browse our latest construction news!

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