What does a Scaffolder do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2018
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A scaffolder is a building professional who specializes in putting up scaffolds and platforms. These individuals can erect scaffolds related to building construction, and they can also work on offshore oil rigs, power stations, and projects such as parade viewing platforms. Prospects for this type of work are variable, with demand being higher during periods of economic growth. The pay is typically low, because the work is fairly basic, although those who specialize in more complex types of jobs may be able to obtain better salaries.

In order to become a scaffolder, someone needs to be physically fit and a high school graduate. It also helps to feel comfortable working at heights. Training is provided on the job, with trainees eventually having the opportunity to work their way up into higher ranking positions on the team, including the position of supervisor. Experienced professionals may eventually become scaffolding contractors, contracting the work out to teams of people rather than doing it themselves.

Putting up scaffolding starts with determining the requirements for the job and making a plan. The structure is classically made from metal pipes, which can be clicked together to create a frame that is easily configured as needs change. Wood can also be used. As scaffolding is put up, platforms are established for holding tools and walking. Safety measures, such as nets to catch dropped tools, must also be added in some cases. When the job is finished, scaffolders dismantle the scaffolding and take it away.


Scaffolding is needed for some types of new building construction, along with painting, renovation, and restoration of all sorts of structures. A skilled scaffolder can work as part of a team of people to put up a stable, well-anchored scaffolding that may stay up for weeks, months, or years, depending on the job. The structure may also need to be periodically adjusted and reconfigured as the job progresses, and the specialist may have special concerns if restoration work is occurring, as he or she wants to avoid damaging the structure beneath the scaffolding.

Being able to work as part of a team is essential for this position, as most jobs require multiple people. An eye to safety and mechanical aptitude are also valuable skills, as the work that scaffolders do must be done properly, or it can put people in danger. It can also help to have a more general interest in and understanding of construction, to ensure that scaffolding is planned and placed properly.


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Post 7

Any tips on how to stand out to get hired?

Post 6

I work for an EPCM company and we supervise and pay the scaffolders. We are building a big oil processing facility and the really good scaffolders make very good money. But it is a challenging and physically demanding job.

Post 4

I am a scaffolder and work in oil refineries and am a union man and we make a very high wage. It is a demanding job at times and can be very satisfying.

A union scaffolder where I come from earns a hundred thousand plus a year.

Post 3

If you need scaffolding for any type of home repair projects, there are companies that will rent it out for you. This type of mobile scaffolding is often times more lightweight than some of the heavy duty scaffolding that is used in big commercial jobs.

It does help if you have some knowledge of how to put it together. Renting is an option for many because it can save you quite a bit of money. If you have to hire someone to come in and bring their own, it can get quite expensive, but sometimes that is the better way to go. It just depends on what kind of job you are doing and how long you would need it.

Post 2

My husband makes his living doing dry wall and he pretty much spends most of his working hours on tall steel scaffolding. He has done it so much that he doesn't even really think about it, but I don't like being on them.

They usually have several set up at one time, but even when they have to set up and take down to go from job to job, it doesn't take them very long to do it. I think it is something that would take a long time to get used to - especially depending on how high up you had to work.

Post 1

I guess I have never called myself a scaffolder, but I have worked on some scaffolding jobs from my home. We have a log home with very high ceilings. One of the ceiling fans at the very top of the ceiling had to be replaced and the only way to get to it was with a scaffold.

Fortunately my neighbor had some that I was able to borrow so I did not have to rent one. It was pretty easy to put together, but the worst part was working on the top level. This is not something I would want to do every day, and I was inside my house.

I cannot imagine how it would be to be working outside up on a very high scaffolding. Not something I would want to do very often.

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