Scaffolding Guide


Loads on scaffolds must not exceed the permissible limits. Materials should be distributed evenly with heavy items, such as bricks, stacked as close to the standards as possible.

All joints in standards should not be at the same level as adjacent standards, in other words they should be staggered. Joints can be made using spigots which can be strengthened with lap sleeve couplers.

The intended use of the scaffold will determine the spacing of the standards. As the expected load increases, the distance between the spacings should be reduced.

The vertical element of the scaffold framework are called the standards. Standards carry the weight of the scaffold and its load. The standards must be vertical.

Standards, also known as uprights, are the vertical tubes which holds the full load of the scaffold to the ground. Every standard must have a base plate which stops the end of the scaffold sinking into the ground.

Ledger braces are used to connect the front standards to the rear standards. These are usually placed at each lift and at every other pair of standards.
As free access through the scaffold is often a requirement for other trades working on the site, some ledger braces may have to be removed. The scaffold design engineer will advise on which ledger braces need to be removed and wether additional braces or ties are required elsewhere. Braces form the integral part of the scaffold structure and must not be removed without proper authorisation.

A putlog is a horizontal tube which is used when there is only one row of standards. A putlog is fixed to the scaffold like a transom, but with one end supported by the building or structure against which the scaffold is being erected.

Main transoms are an integral part of a scaffold structure that holds the two rows of standards in position.

The main horizontal tubes are called ledgers which provide lateral support to the structure. Ledgers must be level and fitted inside of standards with right-angle, load bearing couplers. The vertical distance (lift height, ledger to ledger) varies due to the intended use of the scaffold. For a walk-through scaffold a vertical distance of 2 meters should be allowed to clear a headroom of 1.75 meters.

The width of the scaffold and the distance between the front and back rows of standards is determined by the intended use of the scaffold. This width should be a minimum of 600mm and is often expressed in terms of 'the number of boards wide'. The 600mm minimum width is a requirement in the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 which are currently being renewed.

Scaffold width or board width is the distance between the standards. This measurement is taken at the shortest point.

Standard spacing or bay length is the distance between each standard. This measurement is taken along the face of the scaffold.

To stop a scaffold from a swaying a facade or sway brace is used. This is a tube fixed at an angle of between 35° and 55° to the face of the scaffold. The facade or sway brace must be fixed at the base and at every lift level, either to the standards or transom ends.
Facade or sway bracing should also be fitted at least every five bays along the scaffold.

Ledgers are the horizontal tubes which connect with and support the standards. Ledgers also act as supports for transoms and will usually run in the direction of the larger dimension of the scaffold. Depending on the intended use of the scaffold will determine the vertical spaces or distances between the ledgers.

Foot ties, foot lifts or kicker lifts are the ledgers and transforms fixed to the bottom of standards. These should be fitted ideally 150mm off the ground.

Cross braces and ledger braces are vital to the rigidity of the scaffold structure. They are placed diagonally across the ledgers and adjacent to alternate pairs of standards.
The differences are, cross braces are usually fixed directly to the standards, whilst ledger braces are fixed to ledgers.

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