You may see scaffolding on either commercial or residential buildings during building projects. If the area to be accessed is low-risk, then there might be no need for scaffolds. They however come in handy if the employees are working at height and need easy access to some of the unreachable areas.
Scaffolding work involves four stages, there’s the initial planning process, erecting, using, and disassembly. If you are erecting a scaffold structure within your property, then you might not need a license. However, if the structure is being put up where it’s likely to affect or interfere with the general public or your neighbours like on the pavement or anywhere beyond your boundary, your scaffolder will have to obtain a license from the local authorities.
Before the employees start using the scaffolding structure, scaffold inspections need to be conducted to establish whether they meet all the health and safety standards. There are several laws put in place to ensure the safety of the workers and anyone on the ground below is put into consideration.
Basic scaffolding safety regulations in the UK
Scaffolds are meant to provide easy and safe access to inaccessible areas during construction work or structural repairs. Although the price of scaffolding may vary depending on different factors, the regulations are the same all across. Some of the basic regulations require that scaffolding inspection be done to ensure the safety of the structure before it starts being used.
It’s advisable to hire a competent person to handle the scaffolding to avoid any safety hazards. As mentioned earlier, if the scaffolding isn’t going to be within your boundaries then your scaffold contractor will need to acquire a license from the local council.
It is your responsibility to check if this document is up to date. You should make sure the document doesn’t expire before the completion of the work. If your scaffolding is likely to pose any risk to the public, you’re required to get highway closure from your local council.
Some of the other things that can be done to ensure the scaffolding is safe include the following:
- Having a scaffold inspection before the workers start using them.
- Inspecting the scaffolds after every seven days. However, it’s advisable to do this every time before use to ensure that it continues to maintain its structural integrity.
- Inspecting the scaffold after any alteration, or adverse weather conditions.
Work at height scaffolding standards law
The scaffolding Work at Height regulations 2005 are aimed at ensuring safety when building and using scaffolds. All scaffolds need to be assembled in accordance with a recognised standard configuration. If that’s not the case, then a competent person should be in charge of the design.
This will ensure that the scaffold structure is safe to use and reliable.
To ensure that the scaffolding is safely erected, used, altered, and disassembled safely, there are several bodies in place for such. Some of these Uk scaffolding safety regulatory bodies include the following:
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC)
- Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers Association ( PASMA )
- Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS)
Some of the bodies named above are also responsible for issuing scaffolding certifications like the CISRS and PASMA. If an individual hasn’t undergone sufficient training then their competence levels can be assessed through the two bodies.
Others like the NASC provide relevant information with regard to scaffolding safety and working at height. For instance, before erecting a scaffold, it’s essential to adhere to the NASC document SG4 -Preventing Falls in Scaffolding.
Although the scaffolding regulations may seem complicated at some point, adhering to them is one way to ensure that your project moves safely and swiftly.
Erecting scaffolding regulations
For a safe design, the user is required to give the scaffolding contractor all the relevant information during the planning process. This can include the following:
- The location of the site
- Intended use of the scaffold structure
- Any special requirements
- Maximum load and number of people to use the scaffold
- Information on the structure the scaffold will be used on among other essential details.
Also, before the installation, the scaffolder is required to provide relevant information to the user regarding the scaffold. This will include the following:
- Maximum lift heights
- Safe working load
- Special requirements and details
- Platform boarding arrangement among other things
How long can scaffolding be left up
Considering the different durations each project takes, there’s no specific timeline on how long scaffolding should be left up. Hence, it can stay up as long as it’s still in use. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the scaffolding expert you hire is well-trained and competent. Also, if the scaffolding is to be put up on the highway or pavement, you should ensure that the scaffolder is licensed and the documents are up to date as long as the scaffolding is still up.
The law requires you to check the safety of your scaffolding before you start using it, after every seven days while it’s still up, and after any harsh weather conditions, damages or alterations. Something that’s especially crucial for projects where scaffolding is to be left up for long periods. This will ensure that it remains safe while it’s still in use.
Do you need planning permission for scaffolding
If the scaffold is being erected within the boundaries of your property, you don’t need planning permission for scaffolding. However, if the scaffold is to be put up on the highway or pavement, then the scaffolder or builder needs to acquire a license from the local council.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that this document is up-to-date and that your scaffolder is a licensed professional. If the document’s validity runs out while the project is still underway, all parties involved will be held liable. This means even the homeowner will face the consequences.
Also, if the scaffolding is likely to pose a risk to the public while being put up on the highway, you can schedule scaffolding work at a time when there are fewer people or it’s less busy. Alternatively, you can seek highway closure from the local council.
The importance of scaffold ties
Ties are essential in ensuring the stability and rigidity of the scaffold structure. They’re used in tying the scaffolding to the building so that it can be able to support the entire structure’s weight, scaffold platforms and those working on it. Scaffolding ties regulations require the following:
“These standards state that these guys, ties, and braces must be used when there is a 4:1 height ratio (beginning at 20 feet) for supported scaffolds. A platform width of three feet or less must have guys, ties and braces every 26 feet or less. When the 4:1 height ratio is reached guys, ties and braces are to be installed at each end of the scaffold and at horizontal intervals not to exceed 30 feet vertically”Osha.gov
Who is responsible for scaffolding health and safety
If you are in need of residential scaffolding in London, then your contractor/ builder will be liable when it comes to ensuring that the site is safe and everything(including scaffolding) is in adherence to all safety requirements and regulations. If you’re a landlord or a company, then it is your responsibility to ensure that the health and safety regulations are upheld.
There’s a lot that you can learn from this article if you’re planning to embark on a project that will require any scaffolding. Feel free to contact us for any professional advice concerning your scaffolding needs.