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What is Scaffolding Design and When Do You Need It?

Scaffolding is an essential part of any building project. Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may need to enlist the services of a qualified scaffolding designer to safely and legally carry out the necessary work. Learn all about the process scaffolding design, what it is and when you need it, with Hi-point Access.

What is Scaffolding Design?

Scaffolding design is the process of drafting and building bespoke scaffolding around the particular requirements and specifications of a project. Scaffolding structures ought to be rigid, safe, stable, and they should be able to withstand the necessary loads for the project. Scaffolding designers can ensure that these criteria are met, keeping everyone involved in the project safe. 

When Does Scaffolding Need to be Designed?

In accordance with Work at Height Regulations 2005, unless the scaffold follows a recognised standard configuration like the NASC Technical Guidance TG20 or similar manufacturer’s guidance, the scaffold should be designed and approved by a qualified person. Any scaffolding that uses tube and fitting that goes beyond the TG20 compliance range and any changes to a recognised configuration must also be calculated and approved by a competent person. This is to ensure that scaffolds are safe and stable at every step of their use, including assembly and dismantling. 

Some examples of projects that will require design include:

  • Projects affecting pedestrian footbridges, walkways, and pavement gantries
  • Temporary ramps, and elevated roadways
  • Independent access scaffold lifting heights higher than 3 meters
  • Independent scaffolds higher than 50 meters
  • Temporary roofs
  • Support scaffolds

For a full list of scaffold structures that require bespoke design visit the HSE official scaffold checklist. If you are not sure whether your project requires scaffolding design, it is always best to contact a professional, who will be able to advise you on your needs.

What is Involved in Scaffolding Design?

To ensure that the scaffolding design fulfills its purpose and is as effective as possible, the user must provide all the relevant information to the scaffolding contractors. This includes:

  • The site location
  • The period of time for which the scaffold is to remain in place
  • The scaffolds intended use
  • The required height, length, depth, and any other critical dimensions
  • Required number of boarded lifts
  • The working loads, and number of workers using the platform at any one time
  • How the platform will be accessed
  • Any sheeting, netting, or brickguards requirements
  • Any specific requirements related to the location and use of the platform
  • The nature of the ground conditions or supporting structure
  • Information about the building or structure the scaffold will be erected against, including relevant drawings or dimensions
  • Information on restrictions that could affect the erection, use, or dismantling of the structure, such as access or time restrictions

Based on this information, the scaffolding designer will be able to carry out the necessary calculations and should, in turn, provide the following specifications:

  • The type of scaffold needed for the project
  • Maximum bay lengths and lift heights
  • The recommended platform boarding arrangement
  • The load class of the scaffold
  • Maximum safe working load
  • The Maximum leg loads
  • Maximum tie spacing
  • Details and specifications of any additional elements such as beamed bridges, fans, and loading bays. These may be a standard configuration or specifically designed for the project.
  • Any information relevant to the design, installation, and use of the scaffold
  • Relevant drawings of the design
  • Reference number, date, and any other details that may be relevant for recording, referencing, and checking

This information and the direction provided by the designer can then be employed by the user to safely erect, use, and dismantle the structure. For further peace of mind, a qualified integrated scaffolding service, like Hi-Point Access can be used through the process. 

Scaffolding Design Services in Sheffield

Our scaffolding design service includes management of the process from design to build, to ensure that your project stays safe and compliant every step of the way. As Sheffield’s leading scaffolding company, we have over 30 years of experience offering access services across Yorkshire and the North Midlands. We work with trusted partners to deliver scaffolding designs that are both practical and effective, providing access solutions for even the trickiest of projects. Get in touch today, and we can advise you on the scaffolding needs of your project.

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