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Scaffolding and all the essentials

Scaffolding or staging is the 'work-in-progress' form of construction that supports the construction crew and facilitates the movement of materials during building and repair work of various buildings, bridges and other man made structures. Scaffolding is also used in adapted forms for temporary build projects, such as grandstand seating, concert stages, access/viewing towers and exhibition stands.

There are currently four main types of scaffold being used:

  • Tube and Coupler (fitting) components
  • Prefabricated modular system scaffold components
  • H-frame / facade modular system scaffolds
  • Timber scaffolds

Some basic components used in scaffolding structures are tubes, couplers, aluminium pipes and boards.

Scaffolding courses

Professional scaffolding courses and qualifications, are becoming a requirement in order to find employment in construction, architectural and real estate firms. These accredited courses certify expertise in designing and erecting scaffolds effectively and in compliance with Health and Safety regulations. 

Many training institutes and construction firms provide scaffolding courses and appropriate certifications for those needing to build, inspect and move scaffolds as part of their day-to-day work. Scaffolding courses therefore include induction in following important concepts:

  • Health & Safety regulations
  • Scaffold erection and dismantling
  • Types of frames used
  • Scaffold drawing techniques

Training formats

Scaffolding courses are highly technical and are provided in the form of classroom sessions with a significant portion of practical, on-the-job construction work. They range from short courses lasting 1-2 days to longer certification programmes that can be up to 2 weeks in length. The level of the certifications vary depending on the modules taken and whether the learner is at beginner, intermediate or advanced level.

What does a scaffolder do?

A scaffolder is usually a technician or specialist working on construction sites who is responsible for mapping, designing and ultimately building structures that aid in the construction process. Some common responsibilities are:

  • Providing quotations for installing scaffolds
  • Maintaining tools and safety equipment
  • Ensuring effective health and safety practices

Course qualifications

Scaffolding courses are provided in sets of modules and there are different training levels depending on delegates' past experience in construction projects. Examples of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recognised certifications offered include: Basic Scaffolders Part 1 (NVQ1), Basic Scaffolders Part 2 (NVQ 2), Advanced Scaffolders (NVQ3) and the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS).

Such qualifications are recognised by the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) which is a United Kingdom construction trade association representing companies involved in scaffolding and access work.

The NASC represents its sector as a member of Build UK (formerly UK Contractors Group). It is also a member of the Trade Association Forum. The organisation not only gives the public the necessary assurance that its members are fully qualified, and that they offer high work standards, but also that safety procedures are adhered to by following strict guidelines.

Whilst offering its member companies an additional source of recognition for customer assurance, the NASC also provides information and support regarding security, training, and legal issues.

Benefits for professionals

Scaffolding courses can serve as an important milestone in the journey to building and real trade businesses; the industry is now being heavily regulated by the CITB, and professionals are required to periodically complete training units to achieve a given number of credits under the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme.

Career prospects for professionals with scaffolding skills

Professionals with scaffolding training qualifications can work across many industries specialising in construction and real estate. They can work as construction professionals, architectural assistants, designers, project managers, inventory managers and more.

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