10 Types of Scaffolding Used by Construction Workers

Updated March 10, 2023

Scaffolding is an intricate framework of wood or pipes that allows construction workers to build and maintain structures safely. Proper scaffolding is safe to use and durable enough to hold the weight of construction workers and their equipment. If you work in a construction position that involves using scaffolding often, it may be beneficial to learn about different types of scaffolding. In this article, we explain what scaffolding is, discuss different types of commonly used scaffolding and list jobs that often use scaffolding.

What is scaffolding?

Scaffolding is a multipurpose and temporary structure of wood, pipes or poles that supports a structure and functions as a platform for construction workers to maneuver safely while working in elevated positions. Scaffolding is primarily present at construction sites and is composed of timber and steel. Properly constructed scaffolding is often sturdy, stable and strong enough to support the weight of construction workers and the materials placed upon it.

Types of scaffolding

Scaffolding is an essential element for most construction projects. Construction workers use different scaffoldings depending on the specific needs of a construction project, each of which typically has its own unique qualities and benefits. The following list details different types of scaffoldings you may find at a construction site:

Single scaffolding

Single scaffolding stands parallel to a wall of a structure by using vertical supports called standards. Ledgers, the horizontal supports, connect to the standards at an even vertical angle. Putlogs are the holes in the building or structure through which the scaffolding connects for support. The most common use for single scaffolding is brick masonry.

Double scaffolding

The primary use for double scaffolding is stone masonry because stone walls present challenges when trying to create holes for putlog anchoring. In this type of scaffolding, a double row of scaffolding makes the entire support structure stronger. The first row sits parallel to the wall, while the other row sits away from the first row. Added putlog holes support the frames. Rakers and cross braces provide additional support to the scaffolding.

Rakers are a type of tie that sets the scaffolding securely to a building, and cross braces hold a part of the scaffolding in a fixed position in relation to another part of the scaffolding or some other structure.

Cantilever scaffolding

Construction workers use cantilever scaffolding when the ground is strong enough to support standards and when a wall's upper level is under construction. The standards receive support from needles, which are protrusions sticking out from a structure on which a platform sits. Workers remove the needles from holes in the structure. This type of scaffolding is often more unsteady than other types, so taking extra precautions might be helpful while constructing it.

Suspended scaffolding

Wires and chains suspend this type of scaffolding platform from a structure's roof. A lever or electronic system allows the platform to raise and lower as needed. Painters, window cleaners and repair positions commonly use this type of scaffolding.

Trestle scaffolding

This type of scaffolding includes a platform that sits on top of a ladder with wheels for maneuverability. It varies in size and is useful for outdoor and indoor purposes. Repair positions, maintenance workers, warehouse workers and painters regularly use trestle scaffolding.

Steel scaffolding

Steel supports adhered together with couplers comprise steel scaffolding. This type of scaffolding is simple to construct and dismantle. Because it's made of steel, this scaffolding is more durable, sturdier and more fire-resistant than other types.

Patented scaffolding

Patented scaffolding benefits from a steel composition and comes equipped with special couplings that lock supports firmly together. The working platform sits on height-adjustable brackets.

Wooden and bamboo scaffolding

Wood and bamboo scaffolding are more common in Asia than anywhere else in the world. These scaffoldings are notable for their flexibility and eco-responsible nature. Technicians and proficient designers construct and move through layers and stories of bamboo scaffolding while working on structures.

Tube and clip scaffolding

This is a steel-based scaffolding that is easy to assemble. It simply requires connecting supports to form long pole runs and then standards and ledgers connected with clamps made specifically for these supports. This scaffolding is popular because you can move the ledgers wherever necessary and adapt its form to irregular and oddly shaped structures to reach several different locations.

Kwikstage scaffolding

Kwikstage scaffolding is popular because it's adaptable to commercial and residential projects and is fairly easy to construct. It has a non-slip platform and double guard railing, which makes it safe for construction workers and reliable enough to place equipment upon. Galvanized steel comprises this scaffolding, allowing for sturdiness and a durable interlocking system. The system is also customizable and adjustable for any height.

6 construction jobs that use scaffolding

Here are 6 constructions jobs that use scaffolding often:

1. Laborer

National average salary: $32,656 per year

Primary duties: A laborer is an individual who works in a manual labor field, commonly within the factory and construction sectors of the job market. Industries employ laborers for a variety of projects, such as the construction of buildings, roads and bridges.

Read more: Learn About Being a Laborer

2. Building maintenance technician

National average salary: $40,401 per year

Primary duties: A building maintenance technician is a person who repairs and maintains the integrity of structures and buildings. They possess many skills since they perform a variety of maintenance work on a building, such as plumbing, electrical work, painting, carpentry, installations and other various tasks.

Read more: Learn About Being a Building Maintenance Technician

3. Construction laborer

National average salary: $40,610 per year

Primary duties: A construction laborer position involves operating equipment and machines and building structures. Construction workers follow precise blueprints to build structures that are secure, sturdy and functional.

4. Carpenter

National average salary: $53,801 per year

Primary duties: A carpenter builds, installs and repairs the structures and framing of buildings. They compile required materials, determine how they work together and then build a structure. A carpenter can build a variety of structures or appliances, such as showers, tubs, counters, cabinets and other indoor structures.

Read more: Learn About Being a Carpenter

5. Electrician

National average salary: $55,187 per year

Primary duties: Electricians are trained professionals who work on, install and maintain electrical structures. They commonly work on residential or industrial wiring, cables and electrical fixtures. Electricians can work on outdoor and indoor projects.

Read more: Learn About Being an Electrician

6. Painter

National average salary: $59,441 per year

Primary duties: A industrial or construction painter is an individual worker who paints the surfaces of buildings. They paint the interior and exterior of buildings and use specific methods to protect their work from the elements, such as temperature or severe weather, and erosion.

Read more: Learn About Being a Painter

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