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How to choose the right scaffolding company for your building project

How to choose the right scaffolding company for your building project

When planning a construction project, it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that all scaffolding companies are the same. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Just as in in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all scaffolding companies may be equal, but some are more equal than others.

Your building project deserves the best equipment unless you are thinking of constructing a building that would require extensive repairs a few years down the line. And when it comes to choosing a scaffolding company, not just your project is at stake, but the safety of the people who will work on the project.

It is important to understand that no two companies are alike and in a bid to get the most cost effective deal, you may end up with a company that offers low quality equipment.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a scaffolding company, some of which will be covered in this article, but, safety should come first. A credible scaffolding company is one that complies with all the rules stipulated by the Health and Safety Regulations and places emphasis on the training and development of their workforce.

That being said, here are some key factors to consider when choosing a scaffolding company for your next construction project.

Project location

The location of your construction project should play a key role in your choice of scaffolding company. Whether you intend to rent a scaffold for the duration of the project or buy one outright so that it can be used for other projects, it makes more sense to get it from a local company. If you consider how much it will cost you to ship a scaffold from out of town, you will realize that getting it from a local company will save you a lot of money. For example, if you are constructing a high-rise building in Brighton, it makes sense to get your scaffold from a local company like Ace Scaffolding in Brighton, and avoid the hassles of going outside town.

Apart from the savings benefit, a local company has a better idea of the local topography and will know the type of scaffold that will suit the terrain of your construction site. If you have ever used a scaffold, you will know that there are different types of scaffold, each one unique for different projects. And even if the local company is not familiar with your construction site, it is only a matter of driving over and taking a look in order to know what is right for your project needs. Also, if you happen to run into any problem at your work site when using the scaffold, it is easy for an expert from the company to come to your project site and solve the problem. In fact, even if you are likely to get a cheaper deal outside town, the benefits of using a local company far outweigh the benefits of using an outside one.

Experience

When it comes to getting the equipment you need for your construction project, experience counts every time, and while it is true that every company has to start from somewhere, the question is, do you want that somewhere to be your project?

For normal scaffolding construction, the requirements are simple enough, but when it comes to construction on uneven terrain, soft ground and sites with obstructed access, it is only experience that can overcome these difficulties. An experienced scaffolding company will be able to carry out the proper assessments and obtain the permissions and documents needed for using a scaffold on your construction project.

It is also important to point out that experience does not only mean how long a company has been in existence, but also how well the company satisfies their customers. A good idea is to use the same selection criteria you use when shopping for any other product, checking online reviews, reading comments on social media, talking to past customers and where possible, talking to workers in the company. If your construction project has any special features or requirements, don’t hesitate to ask for proof of similar work to be sure that the company can deliver.

Qualifications

Qualification is not to be confused with experience. It is one thing to have experience in a particular field and another thing to be qualified in that field. The truth is that both are vital for the success of any project.

Like every other industry, scaffolding companies and the people who work there require special training and qualifications in order to do their job. It is your responsibility to make sure that they have the necessary qualifications. You can even ask to see them. Before settling on any one company, be sure to know who will be working with you and make sure to confirm that they are qualified for your particular project.

Insurance

Insurance is a critical factor when choosing a scaffolding company. You want to be sure that the company and its workers are covered in case anything goes wrong.

The potential financial ramifications of using an uninsured company are huge, when something goes wrong, your project will be forced to bear any monetary and legal consequences, and this can cause significant damage to the success of your project as well as the reputation of your company.

The scaffolding company you choose to work with should be able to produce the necessary insurance cover on demand, any reluctance or difficulty to provide this detail should be seen as a huge red flag.

Safety awareness

As earlier pointed out, the safety of the people working on your construction project should be of singular importance. If you require scaffolding for your project, you have to be sure that the scaffolding company has specific policies, regulations and guidelines for safety. It is important that you ask them about this before making a commitment but this may not be necessary as a reputable company will have these details on their website.

Some of the recognized bodies to look out for include: The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Remember that working at high levels can be dangerous so it is important to know that the people who will be working on your project are aware of the dangers and have taken the necessary precautions. When building a basic sized structure, you do not require special permits but buildings that go beyond a particular height require that risk assessments be carried out before the work commences, and when it comes to using a scaffold, this is the responsibility of the scaffold company.

Equipment

One of the first things you should know when planning a construction project that requires scaffolding is that there are different types of scaffold and each one is used for different construction situations. The most common scaffolds are:

  • Supported platform scaffold
  • Suspended scaffold
  • Adjustable scaffold

The scaffolding company you choose should have the scaffold type that is used in your type of construction. For instance, a supported platform scaffold is ideal for a smooth and strong terrain should not be used on uneven or soft terrain. Using supported platform scaffold on a soft ground can cause the scaffold to tilt, putting the safety of workers at risk.

For really tall buildings, adjustable or suspended scaffolds are the only safe option and even then, the structure has to be square or rectangle.

When speaking to scaffolding companies, be sure to specify the nature of your project and the type of equipment you will need, and then find out if they have the right scaffold for your project needs.

Cost

This is another important deciding factor when choosing a scaffolding company for your construction project. However, as important as finances are, it should not be your primary consideration. It is possible to end up with a company that will give a shoddy performance simply because you were looking for a cheaper offer, so even when you are looking for a cheap company, know that there are other factors that are as important, if not more.

That being said, you don’t have to break the bank in order to get scaffolding for your project. The first step is to have a budget in mind, or an idea of how much you are willing to spend on scaffolding. Note that your budget should be flexible as market conditions could change before you commence your project. At the same time, ensure you get a good deal by shopping around with a number of different local companies until you find the one that will give you value for your money. You can also speak to other builders who have used scaffolds in their construction projects to get an idea of the finances involved.

The key is to find a point where you can pay what you can afford without compromising on safety and quality.

Wrapping up

Scaffolding is a unique industry and vital to the construction world. And like every other industry, it has its own dynamics and trends. As long as you understand these dynamics and trends, you will find that it is easy to get the right company for your project at a cost that suits your budget. But if you really want to save on scaffolding expenses, remember to go for a local scaffolding company.

About Arthur East

Arthur is a hardworking and dedicated scaffolder, with over 10 years experience in the trades he is able to provide the expertise required to fulfil large scale projects on time and to the highest standard. Arthur strives every day to ensure that Ace Scaffolding Contractors are delivering exceptional service and completing work to a deadline.

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