What Is Steel Scaffolding?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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Steel scaffolding is access scaffolding that allows workers to reach high and remote locations, made from steel for strength and durability. Scaffolding provides temporary access during construction, maintenance, and repairs, and steel is one of the many materials a company can choose from when installing scaffolding. It is usually necessary to use steel when the scaffolding needs a high weight rating, will be used in harsh conditions, or must be extremely durable. Alternatives can include aluminum and wooden scaffolding supplies.

Structural scaffolding made from steel has a number of advantages. Steel is very strong and durable, with elasticity in a variety of conditions. It is not so elastic that it will bend and fail, but it's also not rigid, which could expose it to the risks of cracks and other flaws. Steel scaffolding is capable of supporting very high weights, allowing people to use it with heavy equipment and supplies. After a certain height, steel scaffolding becomes necessary because of the sheer weight of the scaffolding itself, even before anything is loaded on.


Construction companies may maintain their own supplies or can hire a firm to create temporary access for a project. Steel scaffolding projects typically bolt and clamp together, although they may be welded in some cases. They are designed to be reusable and can include decking, safety lines, and other supplies to make it safer and easier to work. In a situation where workers may be working with electricity, it may also be insulated to reduce the risk of electric shock.

Low steel scaffolding units may mount on wheels and fold up for mobility. Personnel can move the equipment around a work site or between sites without having to engage in substantial effort to configure it for each new use. One issue with mobile products, however, is the increased risk of theft. Anyone could come onto the job site and remove the equipment, unlike with larger, more fixed scaffolding that would require a work crew to take apart and move.

For building projects that require high scaffolding for access, an engineer may be involved in the process of designing and installing it. Workers need to regularly check all the components for signs of wear, loose pieces, and so forth, and must wear appropriate safety gear while working at great heights. For movable platforms like those used by window washers, the control system also needs to be maintained, to ensure it will work properly when the cleaner needs to raise and lower the platform for access.


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