Important consideration property owners nowadays face is whether it is beneficial to access building’s tall areas using scaffold or abseil (rope). We’ll focus on onsite safety considerations and so we’ll review the benefits and demerits of each access method to get appropriate insight.
Since long, the scaffold has been regarded as the most reliable and the safest method for reaching great heights. There are different types of scaffolding platforms available to meet specific requirements; however, as we are talking about high-level access, we will look at the benefits and demerits of Fixed, Swing Stage and Mast Climber scaffolding.
There are two types of fixed scaffolding and they are aluminium and steel.
- The aluminium scaffold is specifically made for building maintenance and repaints up to 9-metre high wherein small sections of the building’s scaffold is dismantled and moved around the building as required. For low to medium height areas, it is a very secure and accessible method, which also provides clients with the opportunity to check the work as it is being performed.
- For building construction projects that are above 10 metres high and when the scaffold is required for an extended period of time, normally steel scaffold is used. Though the hiring cost of fixed steel scaffold is less than aluminium, the installation and dismantling cost is on the higher side.
Although both methods are normally a very safe form of access, they can be pricier.
- Swing stage scaffolds are conceivably the most common form of suspended scaffold also known as two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds.
- When compared to a fixed scaffold system, it is a cost-effective and time-saving alternative, as it is swift and effortless to move, install, dismantle and relocate.
- It can be used at unrestricted working height, which is a huge advantage.
Though statistically, it is exceptionally safe, the risk of swing stage is greater than all other types of scaffolding. Thus, legislation concerning its use is seriously governed and can be intrusive to building owners.
- Mast climbing work platforms are speedy, cost effective and fitting alternative to scaffolding access in the construction industry.
- Mobile platforms that can easily move up and down a fixed mast, offer resourceful and very flexible access to buildings of any height.
- On the flip side, they are notably pricier than swing stage scaffolds to set up and dismantle.
Abseiling (Rope Access)
Abseiling at great heights, at times has a clear-cut gain by being cheaper and less intrusive; however, there are some demerits as well, which building owners should know. Add to it, rope access isn’t always attainable because of huge overhangs, inapt roof forms or the type of work needed to be carried out like the removal of loose render, gutter replacement or concrete repairs etc. So, certain things that need due considerations are as follows:
- Normally, anchor points require being installed, which at times can cause damage to roof membranes and produce areas for water penetration.
- Compared to suitable scaffolding options, often the production speed is half when abseiling. Thus, what you might save in access costs can be gnawed by higher costs of labour.
- The common feeling is that abseiling saves costs – for a small job that may be true enough but when you take in account completion timelines, higher labour costs, quality, inspection and warranty fulfilment on larger projects, standard scaffolding access methods are at times a better, and in certain cases, emerge as balanced (equal) alternative for cost.
Thus, there is no rigid rule about which method is better; instead, each system requires to be evaluated with regards to safety on-site, project’s time-frame and cost efficiency for each job. Turbo Scaffolding supplies high-quality robust and durable scaffolding systems and scaffold accessories and fittings at great prices! We have large warehouses for scaffolding in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.