This guide is intended to clarify when scaffold design is required and what level of training and competence those erecting, dismantling, altering, inspecting and supervising scaffolding operations are expected to have obtained.
Design and inspection issues
- Unless a scaffold is a basic configuration described in recognised guidance e.g. NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds or manufacturers’ guidance for system scaffolds, the scaffold should be designed by calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength and stability.
- All scaffolding should be erected, dismantled and altered in accordance with either NASC guidance document SG4 for tube and fitting scaffolds or the manufacturers’ erection guide for system scaffolds.
- For scaffolds that fall outside the scope of ‘Basic Scaffolds’ as described in bullet point 1, the design information should describe the sequence and methods to be adopted when erecting, dismantling and altering the scaffold, if this is not covered by published guidance as detailed in bullet point 2.
- Any proposed modifications or alterations outside a generally recognised standard configuration should be designed by a competent person.
- Handover certificates should refer to relevant drawings, permitted working platform loadings and any specific restrictions on use.
- All scaffolding inspection should be carried out by a competent person whose combination of knowledge, training and experience is appropriate for the type and complexity of the scaffold he is inspecting. Competence may have been assessed under The Construction Industry Scaffolders Registration Scheme (CISRS) or an individual may be suitably experienced in scaffolding work and have received additional training under a recognised manufacturer/supplier scheme for the specific configuration he is inspecting.
- A non-scaffolder who has attended a suitable scaffold inspection course and has the necessary background experience would be considered competent to inspect a basic scaffold (ie a site manager).
- The scaffold inspection report should note any defects and corrective actions taken, even when those actions are taken promptly as this assists with the identification of any recurring problems.
- To prevent use by unauthorised persons of incomplete scaffolds, relevant warning signs identifying the areas where access is not permitted should be displayed at the access points to these areas. In addition, access to the incomplete areas should be prevented by suitable physical means.
Competence and supervision issues
- All employees should be competent (or in the case of trainees, supervised by a competent person) for the type of scaffolding work they are undertaking and should have received appropriate training relevant to the type and form of scaffolding they are working on.
- Employers must provide appropriate levels of supervision taking into account the complexity of the work and the levels of training and competence of the scaffolders involved.
- As a minimum requirement, every scaffold gang should contain an appropriately qualified scaffolder for the type and complexity of the scaffold to be erected, altered or dismantled. This may be an individual who has received training under an industry recognised training scheme, e.g. CISRS, and has been awarded the scaffolder card or someone who has received training under a recognised manufacturer/supplier scheme, to the limit of the configuration(s) involved.
- Trainee scaffolders should always work under the direct supervision of a qualified scaffolder (i.e. a working foreman). Scaffolders are classed as ‘trainees’ until they have completed the approved training and assessment required to be deemed qualified.
- Erection, alteration and dismantling of complex designed scaffolding (e.g. suspended scaffolds, shoring, temporary roofs etc) should be done under the direct supervision of a competent person. This may be a qualified Advanced scaffolder, a design engineer providing they possess the necessary industry experience or alternatively an individual who has received training under a recognised manufacturer/supplier scheme to the limit of the configuration(s) involved.
Scaffold structures that need to be designed
- Dead Shores
- Flying shores
- Raking shores
- Cantilevered scaffolds
- Truss-out Scaffolds
- Access Birdcages
- Façade retention
- Access scaffolds with more than the 2 working lifts allowed with TG20 ‘Basic Scaffolds’
- Buttressed free-standing scaffolds
- Temporary roofs and temporary buildings
- Support scaffolds
- Loading Bays founded on the ground
- Mobile and static towers outside base/height limitations
- Free standing scaffolds outside base/height Limitations
- Temporary ramps and elevated roadways
- Staircases and fire escapes
- Spectator Terraces and Seating Stands
- Bridge scaffolds
- Towers requiring guys or ground anchors
- Offshore scaffolds outside Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) handbook
- Pedestrian footbridges or walkways
- Slung and Suspended scaffolds
- Protection fans, Nets and Pavement Frames
- Marine scaffolds
- Boiler scaffolds
- Power line crossings
- Lifting gantries and towers
- Steeple scaffolds
- System scaffolds outside users guide parameters
- Sign board supports
- Sealing end structures
- Temporary Storage on Site
- Masts, Lighting Towers and Transmission Towers
- Advertising hoardings/banners
- Any scaffold structure subject to:
- High Loading
- Long term duration
- High risk areas
- Loading from passenger/goods hoists
Note: The above list is not exhaustive and any scaffold that does not comply with manufacturers guidelines as published in handbooks will require a specific design produced by a competent person.
‘Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0’.