What Is a Scaffold Hoist?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2019
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A scaffold is a temporary structure built outside of a building or structure under construction, allowing workers to access the higher levels of that building or structure. Workers often need to lift materials to those heights, so a scaffold hoist is used in lieu of lifting the materials by hand, which can be stressful and dangerous, or even impossible. Many types of scaffold hoist models exist for different purposes; some smaller units use a boom arm with a pulley mounted to it, while other systems feature entire moving platforms that can lift people and materials.

The latter scaffold hoist system is far more elaborate and must be constructed and operated carefully. The system features a lift platform mounted to specially designed scaffolding sections, and it is propelled upward using a motorized rack and pinion system. Such a scaffold hoist is likely to be used on larger building projects on which heavy materials and large numbers of workers must be transported. For smaller buildings and structures, this system generally will not be necessary.


Instead, smaller structures may require the use of a small, jib crane scaffold hoist. This system features a vertical arm that supports a horizontal arm, at the end of which is mounted a pulley. A cable will run through the pulley, usually wrapping around it several times, and then it will drop to the ground. At the lowest point on the cable is mounted a hook, which can in turn be attached to a load to be lifted. Smaller pulley systems can be operated by hand, while others are motorized and controlled with switches. Motorized units are usually reserved for larger jobs, while hand crank jobs are used only for the lightest duty jobs. Sometimes a rope will be used in lieu of a cable, though fiber ropes tend to be less durable and are not used as often or for any heavy duty jobs.

Another type of scaffold hoist may mount directly to the scaffold piping. It will work much like a winch or ceiling-mounted hoist, and it will usually be motorized. This system employs the same system as the jib crane, except without the jib crane. The system will feature a wide pulley around which a cable will be wrapped numerous times. A motor will turn the pulley, either letting out the cable or pulling it back in. A hook is mounted to the end of the cable so it can be attached to the items to be lifted.


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Post 2

This article reminded me of something I read recently. It told about how countries in southeast Asia, like China, use very thick bamboo stems as scaffolding for even tall buildings. I know bamboo is strong - but wow! I imagine that they use scaffolding hoists that are similar to those we use in this country.

Something that has really puzzled me though is - how on earth did the ancients build the huge temples and other structures that are found in Greece and many other places? How did people move and lift the gigantic stones at Stonehenge? What kind of scaffolding did they have? And did they have scaffolding hoists? I can't imagine how they did it.

Post 1

How construction workers use scaffolding hoists is really fascinating. I'd like to take the time someday to just watch scaffolding being put in place and used with hoists to build a tall building.

The different hoist systems (some simple and some quite elaborate) are difficult for me to understand. But I would like to see them in action. It's interesting that hand cranks are used for some jobs and other hoists are motorized.

It sounds like dangerous work. All workers have to pay attention and cooperate with each other.

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