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Hong Kong’s Bamboo Scaffolders

Here in the UK, it’s not particularly unusual to walk through your local town or city and see familiar metal scaffoldings installed on many of our buildings. However, you may be surprised to know that if you were to walk the streets of Hong Kong, you might see something slightly different.

As one of the last bastions of bamboo scaffolding, Hong Kong relies on the industry due to its lightweight and ease of use. From the city’s older buildings to its gleaming skyscrapers, bamboo is the main material used in scaffolding design. With this in mind, let’s look at this ancient form of building structure.


Although ostensibly fragile, bamboo is a very sturdy resource and has been a significant aspect of Chinese architecture. Its use has even been found to have helped in the construction of the Great Wall. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong really began to take hold. With colonisation beginning to make its mark, Hong Kong needed a quick to build, yet strong material to keep up with its burgeoning construction industry; bamboo fit the bill perfectly.

It was also used for various short-term construction projects, such as creating temporary sheds for Cantonese opera performances or worshipping halls for community celebrations such as the Yu Lan Ghost Festival.

Sadly, the art of bamboo scaffolding has receded from most parts of China, only remaining strong in Hong Kong. However, with the construction industry using 5 million rods of the stuff every year, it is still a very popular style of scaffolding.

Benefits of bamboo

One of the main benefits that can be gained from the use of bamboo is in its ease of use. In comparison to heavier metal scaffolding designs, bamboo is lightweight, making it much easier to transport and construct. It usually takes about a day to erect a fully functioning industrial sized bamboo scaffold, with scaffolders usually working through the night.

Also, as bamboo is a renewable resource, the price for scaffolding is relatively cheap. Of course, the drawback to this is that the only quality bamboo that can be used in scaffolding comes from two specific areas; the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, making it difficult to source.

A dying art?

Unfortunately, although still used in a variety of building projects around Hong Kong, the craft is slowly dwindling. The lack of decent materials, along with a diminishing number of skilled workers known as ‘Spiders’ who deftly traverse the platforms, is meaning the industry is seeing a dip.

Hi-Point Access Ltd: Experts in the art of scaffolding

Luckily, you don’t need to travel to Asia to get top quality access solutions. Here at Hi-Point Access Ltd, we have been supplying the people of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire with industry-leading scaffolding, from our certified training courses to our versatile mobile access platforms.
0114 257 7600
Visit our website for more information or get in touch on 0114 257 7600.

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