Metal Types Used in Scaffolding

What is Metal Scaffolding?

Scaffolding dates back to ancient times and has enabled human civilisation a way to construct tall buildings. It is believed that in Egypt the Ancient Pyramids were constructed with the use of scaffolding made out of timber.

Wooden scaffolding was in use widely up until 1922. Around this era, metal tubes that were made out of steel began replacing the wooden poles.

Today, metal scaffolding has become the norm. If you’re looking for mobile scaffold hire in Sydney, you’ll find metal tube scaffolding became the industry standard from the 1950s onwards. Tube scaffolding is easy and quick to assemble, and it doesn’t require bolts and nuts. Metals used for constructing scaffolding are usually aluminium or steel.

Steel scaffolding provides great durability and strength, with a degree of elasticity to the metal that helps to prevent cracks. Steel is also capable of supporting extremely heavy loads, while workers find it useful for transporting heavy supplies and equipment. For taller structures, steel becomes necessary since the scaffolding weight itself necessitates structural strength. Only steel can provide this type of strength.

For conditions that are less demanding, aluminium scaffolding is also one of the viable alternatives.

With metal scaffolding, construction workers can access remote and high locations safely. With the incorporation of diagonal bracing, buildings or structures of greater stability can easily be built.

The metal scaffolding structure consists of 3 basic elements:

  • Ledgers;
  • Standards;
  • Transforms.

The ledgers are made up of horizontal tubes that connect the standards keeping these structures intact and ensuring stability.

The standards are made up of vertical tubes running through the structure to keep everything upright. These tubes transfer the overall weight of these structures into the ground through a square-shaped base plate, which helps to spread out the load.

The transforms are also horizontal tubes positioned perpendicular and across the ledgers providing the structure with increased strength and providing support for each platform on all the levels for the scaffolding.

Applications for Metal Scaffolding

Metal scaffolding is generally used during repairs, maintenance, and construction. This type of scaffolding provides workers with safe access to remote and high locations of a structure or building.

Metal scaffolding comes in various forms which will depend on the activity or project that it is needed for.

The more common types of scaffolding include metal-supported scaffolding. These structures are built from the ground upwards and are seen commonly on the majority of construction sites. It is the most convenient, easiest, most cost-effective, and safest scaffolding structure. Additional support can also be added when the building is very high or when extremely heavy loads have to be moved or transported.

Suspended scaffolding is another type that is usually suspended from a roof of a structure or building. This is the ideal option for projects where it isn’t possible to build or construct from a base. It is also used when requirements for access have been limited to an upper level of a building where scaffolding that is placed on the ground would not be practical.

Rolling scaffolding is very similar to supported scaffolding. The main difference is that this scaffolding uses castor wheels that allow for mobility. This offers the best option when work is carried out over the length of a building. It is important that the wheels are locked when there are materials or workers on the rolling scaffold to prevent injuries and promote safety for other workers in the immediate area.

Materials Used to Produce Metal Scaffolding

The scaffolding materials feature:

  • Decking or boards;
  • Couplers;
  • Tubes.

The tubes are typically made from either aluminium or steel. The steel that is used is mainly hot-rolled steel. In certain circumstances when there are risks from overhead live electric cables, glass fibre, filament-wound tubes in a polyester or nylon matrix may be used.