This guide* is intended to clarify when a scaffold design is required and what level of training and competence those erecting, dismantling, altering, inspecting and supervising scaffolding operations are expected to have.

Scaffold Design

It is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 that unless a scaffold is assembled to a generally recognised standard configuration, eg NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds or similar guidance from manufacturers of system scaffolds, the scaffold should be designed by bespoke calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength, rigidity and stability while it is erected, used and dismantled.

At the start of the planning process, the user should supply relevant information to the scaffold contractor to ensure an accurate and proper design process is followed.  Typically this information should include:

  • Site location.
  • Period of time the scaffold is required to be in place.
  • Intended use.
  • Height and length and any critical dimensions which may affect the scaffold.
  • Number of boarded lift.
  • Maximum working loads to be imposed and maximum number of people using the scaffold at any one time.
  • Type of access onto the scaffold e.g staircase, ladder bay, external ladders.
  • Whether there is a requirement for sheeting, netting or brickguards.
  • Any specific requirements or provisions e.g pedestrian walkway, restriction on tie locations, inclusion/provision for mechanical handling plant.
  • Nature of the ground conditions or supporting structure.
  • Information on the structure/building the scaffold will be erected against together with any relevant dimensions and drawings.
  • Any restrictions that may affect the erection, alteration or dismantling process.

* Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm