Contractors performing work above ground level on the interior or exterior of a building need some way to remain elevated while working. Several different scaffolding systems exist that each have specific benefits and uses. Most of these systems used for construction will support at least one worker and any necessary equipment. Not all tools are good for all projects. Contractors should keep a selection of items available for different jobs.
Ladders and ladder scaffolds are the most basic way to work above ground level. Ladders are inexpensive and easy to set up. It is best to use ladders in situations where workers only need to access an area for a few minutes. The main strength of a ladder is mobility. The unit can move with workers without any planning or effort. The primary drawback for ladders on some worksites is instability. Ladders are not good on uneven surfaces or when using heavy pieces of equipment.
Self-supporting scaffolding is the opposite of a ladder. This is the traditional type of scaffolding made from freestanding vertical poles and horizontal platforms. The scaffolding is stable but is not very flexible. It takes a long time to erect and disassemble. Self-supporting scaffolding is a good choice for a project that requires workers to stand at a consistent height for weeks or longer. One issue is that the scaffolding requires a good amount of space for installation. It is also difficult to adjust the scaffolding to different heights during a project.
Pump jack scaffolding
uses mobile poles and roof braces in order to secure a mobile platform. Workers use a pump on the actual jacks to raise or lower the platform as needed. This type of scaffolding is very easy to transport and install. It also provides a dynamic work environment that can be moved up or down at any point. The system is even stable on uneven ground unlike steel self-supporting units.
Another advantage is that pump jacks require very little space and can function well in a narrow area.Contractors who are working on tall buildings must sometimes turn to suspension systems. This type of scaffold is supported by lines connected to mechanisms mounted on the roof of the structure. Workers are able to raise or lower the platform to any height along the side of the building. One of the main disadvantages of this type of system is the cost. Another is the expertise required for proper setup and use. Workers cannot normally just start working safely on a suspension scaffold without experience or training. Despite the issues with suspension systems, they are frequently the only option available for maintenance or construction contractors who must work on the exterior of tall buildings.