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3 Easy Ways To Stay Ahead of Scaffolding Regulations

In our line of work, the announcement of new scaffolding regulations is rarely greeted with much enthusiasm, which is hardly surprising because it usually entails more work. However, scaffolding regulations are necessary for one reason – to save lives. When your team is working at height as all scaffolding contractors do, it is only natural that the scaffolds adhere to a rigorous standard.

Nevertheless, you can definitely cushion the blow of any new regulations if your existing processes are already up to par with them. In fact, there is an opportunity to be found here. If you are already on top of scaffold regulations, your competitors are left playing catch-up while you profit from new clients who want someone ready to work right NOW.

Read on to find out how you can do just that!

Ensure the Safety of Your Scaffold Designs

Safe scaffolding starts from a good scaffold design. If there are flaws in your design, even the best scaffolds erected by the most skilled scaffolders can be a safety hazard. Unfortunately, it can be quite hard to spot potential safety issues from traditional 2D scaffold designs.

Fortunately, you can resolve this issue by using an industry-specific scaffold design software with powerful 3D design capabilities. All you need to do is import a building plan, drag and drop scaffolds into place, and go through it in 3D to instantly see where safety issues might occur. One such software you can do that with is Avontus Designer®, an award-winning product that was conceived in 2013.

You can further confirm the safety of your designs by walking through it once again with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology before men and materials hit the job site. While there aren’t many scaffold-specific AR/VR applications, Avontus Viewer® is one of them. As a bonus, it synergizes well with Avontus Designer – you can import your Designer models and instantly visualize them.

An AR/VR walkthrough of a 3D model through Avontus Viewer 
Caption: Check out this AR/VR walkthrough on Avontus Viewer!

Besides being equipped to deal with existing and new regulations alike, the use of Avontus Designer and Viewer to create safe designs comes with other benefits. Aside from the greater cost-savings from faster safety approvals, the comprehensive and transparent designs can also wow clients and bring in more sales.

Always Upskill Your Scaffolding Team

Since most regulations stipulate that scaffolds must be designed, erected, altered, and dismantled only by competent persons under the direction of a competent supervisor, you should definitely be constantly maintaining or improving the competencies of your employees.

Generally, you should always keep your workers up to date with the latest changes to safety guidance and good working practices within the scaffolding industry. Specifically, you should be giving your workers job specific pre-start briefings on every job – some countries mandate it. You can also have regular toolbox talks – informal group discussions that focus on a particular safety issue such as working at height, construction site safety etc. You can also help your workers keep up with their certifications. A well-known certification for scaffolders in the UK is the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS), which covers scaffold training from trainee to advanced scaffolder in 4 stages and basic/advanced scaffold inspection.

With the aforementioned carried out in a country-appropriate manner, you now have a competent and fully compliant workforce with regulations both old and new.

Keep Up with Your Scaffold Inspections

The importance of continually checking the erected scaffolds cannot be emphasized heavily enough. Therefore, most countries require that all scaffolds be inspected regularly by a qualified person.

  • Scaffold inspections are carried out periodically on all scaffolds. The timing varies by country regulations, and it entails a qualified person checking that the scaffolds have been built to correct specifications, starting with choice of materials for the job followed by a full integrity inspection. They must also be checked once more after installation, prior to being used, and after any event that may impact the strength or stability of the scaffold i.e. adverse weather, heavy impact, or unauthorized modification etc.

However, with a large amount of scaffolds being erected and dismantled every day on multiple job sites with manpower overstretched, it can be quite the challenge. What you need is a program that gives you complete oversight over your standing scaffolds which allows you to manage every scaffold from start to finish and capture scheduling, productivity, and safety details. With Avontus Quantify, you can do all that and more. As you can see below, you can easily enable and track inspections on the scaffold register for an up-to-date status of each scaffold.

Alt text: A guide on how to inspect scaffolds on Avontus Quantify 
Enable scaffold inspections in a few simple steps!

Scaffolding Safety Regulations Are Not To Be Feared

While scaffold designs, inspections, and worker competency are quite tightly regulated due to their outsized impact on the safety of scaffold workers, we believe that with the right tools in your bag, you have nothing to fear from these regulations. Quite the contrary, you should be able to leverage your compliance with these regulations as a selling point when you’re pitching a new client.