News and ideas about Scaffold Designer

Cost-Effectively Creating Safety-First Scaffold Designs

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an estimated 2.3 million construction workers work on scaffolds in the United States. However, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that 4,500 injuries that occur on jobsites every year could have been prevented with proper scaffolding designs that comply with safety standards. 

Ensuring safety while working at height is a stringent process of ascertaining that a scaffold or other means of access is safe to use with the lowest possible risk to human life and to the environment. A secure scaffold is synonymous with protected workers and a safe jobsite that promotes productivity.  

However, creating scaffolding models and verifying their safety can be a time-consuming and costly process, involving safety experts and long approval processes.  

We spoke with Total Access Ltd., a scaffolding supplier, to discover how they’re using a digital solution to quickly and cost-effectively model scaffolds that comply with New Zealand’s safety standards.  

The Time- and Cost-Consuming Scaffolding Safety Situation  

Total Access Ltd. is one the largest scaffolding suppliers in New Zealand — with a workforce of over 250 and 8,000 completed jobs since 2008. Despite the sheer size of the business, the company still relied on an inefficient and outdated scaffold design process:  

  • Draftsmen drew scaffolding models with pencil and paper, and 
  • Operations managers manually created gear lists  

This inefficient situation came to a head when the construction safety regulations in New Zealand were tightened. Now, scaffolding must comply with more stringent WorkSafe Good Practice Guidelines and have their safety assessed by a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng)

As a result, the company was burdened with additional engineering costs, since an external CPEng had to be commissioned for every project. To make matters worse, more complex designs meant that Total Access had to:  

  • Sometimes build an example of the scaffold in the yard for a thorough inspection, and  
  • Incur more engineering costs whenever the CPEng made repeated site visits 

Naturally, a transformation was in order.  

Digitizing the Design and Scaffolding Safety Approval Process  

That transformation was enabled by Avontus Designer. It’s a scaffold design software that helped Total Access improve their design and safety approval process, cost effectively, in three major ways.  

3D Designs Reduced the Need for Scaffolding Mocks 

One reason Total Access chose Avontus Designer is its powerful yet easy-to-master 3D visualization capability. Draftsmen could create transparent 3D designs that allowed everyone to instantly see where safety issues might occur. And they did this in a fraction of the time it once took to manually build a replica in the yard.  

Design transparency also helped the firm to secure sales. Detailed 3D drawings fostered confidence among customers that the models met the strict safety standards. Total Access took it even further using Avontus Viewer – a design visualization tool powered by AR/VR technologies – that accurately showed how the scaffolds would look when erected.  

“Customers are impressed by 3D visualizations. The drawings help make sales,” said the Draftsman and Estimator from Total Access.  

Faster Safety Approvals Meant Cost Savings 

Fast design creation meant a faster safety approval process too. Using Avontus Designer and its built-in local safety compliance, draftsmen could provide multiple scaffolding model options. The commissioned CPEng could then verify the designs and choose the best one, or suggest changes, without making many site visits.  

Improving the drawings was only a matter of editing scaffold models digitally, a process that takes minutes. In the long-run, Avontus Designer is a cost-saving solution. Total Access estimated that the monthly software subscription cost is equivalent to just a few hours of a CPEng’s time. This affordable scaffolding industry-specific solution definitely one-upped other more prominent computer-aided design (CAD) applications.  

Accurate Estimates for Better Profitability 

Operations managers benefit from using the software too. Since Avontus Designer can instantly generate a Bill of Materials (BOM), they don’t have to waste time manually creating it. 

“They also have a more accurate picture of the real cost of materials and the number of trips they need to take, speeding up the building process and preventing the firm from underpricing,” said the Total Access staff.  

Scaffolding Safety Done Right with Avontus Designer 

Digitizing the scaffolding design process is how your company can also cost-effectively create designs with fewer safety risks and comply with safety standards.  

On a larger scale, overall business digitization is a trend that’s sweeping across the entire scaffolding industry. And this trend is critical in the current environment of safe work practices amidst a pandemic.  

Click the link below to learn more about the powerful capabilities of Avontus Designer. And see if it’s the right fit for your scaffolding safety (and business improvement) needs.  

Announcing Avontus Designer® Update with Extensive Built-in Training Features

We’re excited to introduce multiple new training features and improvements to Avontus Scaffold Designer. This major release aims to help you master the software, create high-quality designs and develop winning bids. 

Scaffold Designer has transformed businesses everywhere with simple drag-and-drop design capabilities, powerful features like automatic bill of materials, as well as advanced 3D, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for scaffolding visualization. 

In the latest release, Scaffold Designer is enhanced with a comprehensive library of training videos, breaking down into bite-sized topics. A convenient side-by-side viewing mode also allows you to watch the training materials while interacting with the software. With the built-in video player, you can quickly learn Scaffold Designer and deliver professional, accurate designs in next to no time. 

Scaffold Designer's new Training Video Player allows users to learn the software quickly.

Scaffold Designer’s new Training Video Player

Additionally, you can learn how to generate stunning 3D models for winning sales presentations. By pairing Scaffold Designer with the free Scaffold Viewer app, you can instantly share your models with clients and crew in real-time, whether on-site or remotely, in interactive 3D, AR or VR. In addition to these training enhancements, the latest Scaffold Designer release also includes the following bug fixes and improvements to the design components: 

  • Boiler support structure with zero length is no longer used in boiler scaffold builds. 
  • The support structure is now properly added in boiler scaffolds. 
  • New visual elements like domes, beams, and multiple coloring, shading options for vivid illustration. 

For businesses, you can take advantage of Scaffold Designer to improve bidding strategies, by enabling users, both salespersons and CAD designers, to learn the software basics fast and create high-value design proposals. 


As of April 8, 2020, we’re offering two months of free access to Scaffold Designer to support the scaffolding industry amid the current construction slowdown. This initiative aims to help scaffolding businesses upskill employees, build new competitive advantages, and come back from the Covid-19 disruption stronger than ever.

For more information about the free Scaffold Designer license, visit or contact us at  

Calculating Scaffolding Materials and Cost

Calculating Scaffolding Materials and Cost

Material and cost calculations form a major part of a scaffolding business. They allow a company to track its scaffolding inventory and furnish jobs with adequate materials at the most profitable rate. 

However, many companies still rely on legacy methods like manual scaffold design and material calculation.

You know how frustrating it can be when just a small mistake results in expensive rework. Worse, you end up wasting precious time to amend your mistakes and can even lose credibility among your customers.

That’s why it’s so important to get your calculations right, the first time. This is where modern, industry-specific software can be beneficial.

Want to know more? You’re in the right place, just keep reading!

Challenges with Current Scaffolding Material and Cost Calculation Methods

No doubt, relying on established scaffolding material and cost calculation is convenient as everyone in your organization is used to the inner workings of your company. 

But familiarity doesn’t always translate into improved efficiency. 

To address the challenges with current calculation methods, first let’s visualize how scaffolding jobs come about and are usually managed.

Disconnect Between Scaffolding Design and Material Calculation

Scenario: Perhaps a client has approached you with a scaffolding proposal request. Or maybe there’s a new scaffolding bid that you’ve got your sights on. No matter the case, the next step would be to design scaffolding as per project requirements.


But to design and calculate scaffolding materials, you must gather building information like planned use, total working area, height and length of scaffolding, maximum live and dead load weight. Then, proceed with designing the scaffolding using one of the two methods below: 


Method 1: Given the complexity of non-industry-specific software like AutoCAD, you may still resort to low-tech hand-drawn scaffolding design, which is then counted manually for the Bill of Materials (BOM).


However, manually sourcing and inputting this information poses a risk of data inaccuracy. And more complex designs only lead to a higher risk of human error in calculating scaffolding materials manually.

On the other hand, many companies also use a more modernized approach to designing scaffolds and counting materials.  


Method 2: Non-industry-specific solutions like AutoCAD are widely used to design scaffolding. But these solutions lack capabilities needed by scaffolding companies. For example, AutoCAD only gets the designing part right; the same can’t be said for material calculation. You must then integrate AutoCAD with a counter app to get the BOM.


The distinct disconnect between manual scaffolding design process and material calculation will only result in design rework and delayed building time. 

Inaccurate Material Calculation Leads to Inaccurate Cost Estimates

After scaffolding design and material calculation comes cost estimation. A competitive estimate is one of the keys to landing that bid and getting the proposal approved by clients. 

But let’s face it, the scaffolding industry and its competitive bidding nature may cause companies to underestimate the project scope and rush through the entire process. Coupled with a disconnected scaffolding system, just a small design inaccuracy can lead to expensive material and cost miscalculations. 

Does the scenario below seem familiar? 


Scenario: In the heat of getting the scaffolding proposal done, you overlooked the fact that the job site is on a sloping surface. In your design, you used normal base jacks instead of swivel jacks. 


The business then needs to go back to the drawing board (literally, if you’re using manual design and counting methods) to correct the cost estimation.

A worst-case scenario would be to send the wrong materials to a job site. These mistakes mean spending more time on the job site and expending more on labor costs, which translates into higher operating costs. 

This was the case with one of our own customers, Skyline Scaffold. Manual equipment counting was not only tedious, it also led to inaccurate designs. As a result, designs had to be amended at the very last minute. In the worst-case scenario, jobs were sometimes postponed too.  

We saw lower returns, higher freight costs and higher design costs. We also had higher labor costs when we had to make a design change, adapt systems halfway through a project or spend extra time in the yard separating rented equipment from our own.

Jeff Remfert, General Manager of Skyline Scaffold

Read More: Case Study: Skyline Scaffold

Disconnect Between Scaffolding Material and Labor Cost Calculation

But equipment and materials alone don’t contribute to the total scaffolding cost. Labor costs also play a huge part. It’s often calculated using scaffold metrics such as total weight, the number of pieces, or even the scaffolding volume. 


Scenario: Based on your previous projects, it takes about 10 man-hours to assemble and disassemble each cubic metre of scaffolding. Once you’ve finalized the design, you then proceed to calculate the estimated labor cost according to that standard. Unfortunately, you’ve accidentally miscalculated scaffolding materials required. 


When there’s a scaffold metric miscalculation, you’ll also have an inaccurate estimation of labor cost. If left unrectified – in a worst-case scenario – you may even be working at a loss. 

In the scaffolding field, seemingly simple mistakes can add up and lead to increased costs and a less-than-stellar reputation among your customers.  

Avontus: A Modern and Industry-Specific Solution

If manual scaffolding operations are how things are done in your company, then it’s high time that you broke the mold.

Why? Well, the last thing you need is poor efficiency and even poorer profit margins becoming the norm in your organization.

Remember the modern and industry-specific solution that we discussed in the beginning?

That’s how you’re going to upgrade your scaffolding material and cost calculations in line with the industry’s fast-paced and competitive nature. 

With this approach, your scaffolding business can benefit from the following:

Fast Data Capture

Fast-paced industry requires fast information capturing. So out with that manual measuring and inputting of building information. A modern and industry-specific solution should be able to instantly import plans. 

Avontus’ Scaffold Designer does just that. Just import the building plan in PDF, AutoCAD formats, or even satellite images; then, drag and drop scaffolds into place. Not only does it save time, instant plan importing greatly improves design accuracy too.  

In the Import/Export tab, select the type of file with your building information that you want to import. 

Information Customizability

Your projects come with varying requirements. Sticking with a one-size-fits-all manual approach can limit your capability as a scaffolding business. So, your modern and industry-specific solution should also allow the customization of project information.

For example, some of the important information that must be present in the materials database for easy identification are part numbers, dimensions, and descriptions. This database must be customizable, as you might need to customize the BOM based on the materials that you’re using for a project.

With Scaffold Designer, you can customize the materials database and easily add components (e.g. emergency exit route, rescue and loading platform, etc.) into your scaffolding designs. 

Not only can you generate a BOM for each scaffold design created, you can also edit it to add parts, modify quantities, or change the description of a part. 

Error-Free, Integrated Materials and Cost Calculation

As stated earlier, scaffolding design is followed by material calculation and cost estimation. Wouldn’t it be better if these processes were integrated for seamless operations? With an industry-specific and modern solution, you can easily bring together different aspects of your business. 

That’s why we enabled Scaffold Designer to be integrated with Quantify, our scaffold inventory management system. Now, you can instantly create estimates based on your BOM while viewing the available inventory balance. 

Integrate Scaffold Designer with Quantify to seamlessly transition from design to material calculation to cost estimation. 

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Accurate Scope Visualization and Confirmation

It’s only logical that you share your scaffolding plan with your clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding project requirements. Scaffold Designer allows you to create and export living models (2D plans and 3D models) into various formats (e.g. PDF, 3D, and 2D DWG).

On the other hand, our dedicated design visualization software – Scaffold Viewer – has high-tech capabilities like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Together, customers will then be able to see every aspect of the design. For example, maybe you included a compact 8-leg stair tower in your plan instead of a stacked one.

With a living model, customers can request for design modifications before men and materials hit the job site. Once you’ve nailed your scaffolding proposal as per customer’s requirements, instantly turn them into a shipment and you’re ready for that job.

Export your design into 3D PDF format and share it with your customers for confirmation before proceeding with work.

Upgrade Your Material and Cost Calculation Methods

When you get the scaffolding design right, the corresponding material and cost calculation will be accurate too, especially if you use an integrated scaffolding system. 

Overall, inaccuracies and inefficiencies are minimized while productivity and profitability are maximized.  

With all the added capabilities afforded by Avontus, isn’t it high time that you’ve upgraded your scaffolding materials and cost calculating system? 

Contact our team and we’ll show you how to nail your estimates and win more bids with modern scaffolding software.

Related: Introduction to Estimating Scaffold Materials & Costs with Scaffold Designer

AutoCAD vs Scaffold Designer

Avontus Scaffold Designer vs. AutoCAD: Guide to Scaffolding Design Software

Creating a scaffolding model is a complicated procedure. And it’s even more challenging to communicate its intricacies to customers. 

Fortunately, computer-aided design (CAD) applications have come to the rescue.  

Designing and presenting complex scaffolding proposals is much easier now with automated drawings and 3D visualization. With the right technologies and tools, you can reduce the design effort and streamline the cost estimation process. 

However, using generic CAD software for scaffolding projects can be time-consuming and inefficient. Think about the tedious process of calculating materials, generating quotes, coordinating work among teams, and tracking equipment along the way. 

That’s why we built Scaffold Designer, powerful design and estimation software that brings the simplicity of drag-and-drop design and one-click estimates to even the most complicated scaffolding projects. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the key features of Avontus Scaffold Designer and how it measures up to the industry’s most popular CAD software, AutoCAD. 

Why Should You Use Industry-Specific Design Software for Scaffolding? 

In the competition for customers, most contractors aim to get their bid out the door before anyone else, even if they have to compromise the quality of the scaffold model.  

However, only proposals that balance the three core pillars, speed – quality – price, win the job. That is, being able to communicate the critical construction components for precise scaffolding erection, ensuring accurate material counting for competitive quotes, mitigating potential risks, and controlling costs. 

Here’s why leading businesses choose industry-specific design software for tailored scaffolding solutions.  

  • Automated drawing of scaffolding components: Save time with built-in features like guard rails, toe boards, and other critical components of scaffolding.  
  • Create a winning proposal at speed: A scaffold design software allows you to create professional-looking 2D and 3D models in next to no time. Your sales team can even modify the design to reflect the customer needs in real-time during the design walk-through.  
  • Unity of systems for all aspects of design, asset control, and rental: Instead of spending time and effort in manual materials calculation needed for the design, scaffolding design software allows you to generate a bill of materials automatically for accurate quotations and inventory management 
  • Scaffolding safety standards: A critical part of designing scaffolding is safety. Scaffolding design software helps you customize to local standards to ensure safety compliance, such as leg load calculations, bracing, ties, sills or sole plate configurations.  

As competition in the scaffolding industry heats up, bidding for work requires more than just a good-looking proposal. Robust visualization in scaffold design and accuracy in estimation is key to a winning scaffolding proposals.  

Investment in design software isn’t just for accelerating the bidding process. The goal is to build confidence in your customers and deliver value at the beginning of the contract.   

With these benefits understood, here’s a comparative guide to Scaffold Designer and AutoCAD. 

How Avontus Scaffold Designer Compares to AutoCAD 

Considering the requirements of scaffolding design and construction, we will weigh the value of AutoCAD and Scaffold Designer based on the following points: 

  • Scaffold-specific features 
  • Materials estimates 
  • Visualization capabilities 
  • Cost and usability  

Learn more about the key differentiators between Scaffold Design and AutoCAD below.  

Scaffold-specific toolsets for scaffolding business 

  • AutoCAD 
    AutoCAD itself provides a number of toolsets and apps for multiple architecture supports, such as electrical and mechanical toolsets, making it one of the most widely used CAD softwares in the market.  

    While it’s hard to beat the extensive drawing capabilities offered by AutoCAD, the built-for-all design functionality also creates some major drawbacks. This is especially true for scaffold designers, since you’ll need to manually create even basic components like brackets, ledgers, connector bays, or loading bays, depending on the scaffolding types and safety requirements.
  • Scaffold Designer  
    Scaffold Designer is packed with every little detail that goes into the construction of scaffolding, such as independent scaffolds, power plant boilers, dance floors, bird cages, circular tanks, hanging scaffolds, cantilevers, and bridges.  

    You can even customize a pre-built scaffolding model to cut scaffold drawing and counting time by up to 90 percent. The software incorporates the specifications of popular scaffolding types like Ring, Cup, and Kwikstage system scaffolding among others, so you‘ll have a construction-ready design. 

Materials counting for quick and accurate bill of materials 

  • AutoCAD 
    AutoCAD doesn’t provide a materials counting feature for scaffolding design. Instead, you can install a third-party plugin, Scaffold Counter by Avontus, to generate your bill of materials.   

  • Scaffold Designer  
    Once you have completed a design, Scaffold Designer automatically generates a bill of materials to help you identify the materials needed, make necessary modifications, and predict equipment availability. 

    Plus, you can integrate Scaffold Designer with Avontus Quantify to ensure accurate material counting for competitive quotes, mitigating potential risks, and controlling costs from bid to completion. 

Not having to sit someone down to do an equipment list is a huge time-saver, and because it’s part of Quantify, it immediately tells us what we’re short on. If we have to redesign, the draftsperson can make a change in minutes rather than hours. It’s ten times faster than AutoCAD.– Jeff Remfert, General Manager, Skyline Scaffold 

Visualization for a killer proposal and scaffolding construction 

  • AutoCAD 
    When it comes to visualization, 3D modeling is part and parcel of the software. AutoCAD is one of the most powerful 2D and 3D CAD softwares in the market, especially for engineering and architectural design. 

  • Scaffold Designer 
    The recent Scaffold Designer 2020 release has pushed Avontus’s 3D design capabilities closer to its counterpart. Some of the key features include 3D drawings with more extensive shading modes, vector-sharp views of the 3D model, and export to 3D functionality that is compatible with BIM packages, AutoCAD, and Acrobat PDF Reader, among others. 

    Whether in the boardroom or at the job site, using Scaffold Designer and Scaffold Viewer, you can easily bring your design to life with the added power of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).  

This additional feature enhances scaffolding visualization capabilities, helping you communicate your vision to customers effectively and gain their confidence. Crews can also “carry” the design in their pockets for real-time construction execution and safety precautions. 

Usability and costs 

  • AutoCAD 
    Since it is created for regulated professions like engineering, architecture, and construction, AutoCAD users are typically required to get certified to use the product, which covers extensive knowledge beyond scaffolding requirements. As such, hiring an AutoCAD expert is also a big investment for scaffolding companies. 

    Another drawback with its complexity is that you can only communicate the scaffolding proposal and construction to non-AutoCAD users on paper. This may take much longer to coordinate work between designers and the on-site crews.   

    Pricing $200 monthly subscription for a stand-alone single-user license.

  • Scaffold Designer  
    Scaffold Designer offers ease of use for any user, even non-design experts. The powerful editor allows you to customize scaffold models to reflect the actual building condition with high accuracy. Featuring a drag-and-drop interface, Scaffold Designer offers the same automation experience that you have in AutoCAD, tailored to scaffolding. The best part? You can learn at your own pace with built-in training videos. 

    Scaffold Designer really shines when it comes to bidding. If you’re relying on AutoCAD-trained engineers to build 3D models for proposals, you’re likely investing thousands in bids that may or may not be successful. With Scaffold Designer, your sales team are able to create the designs themselves, in a fraction of the time. 

    Pricing: From $169/user for monthly subscription or customized pricing for on-premise deployment 

Need a quick overview of AutoCAD and Scaffold Designer? Get the comparison chart below. 



Scaffold Designer 

Design capabilities 

  • Complex drawing tools for architects, engineers, and construction professionals 
  • Support major scaffolding types and manufacturers  
  • Simple navigation with specific toolsets for scaffold designer 
  • Customizable scaffold design structure 
  • Design to your local regulatory standards  

Visualization capabilities 

  • 2D drawing and 3D modeling  
  • Annotate drawings  
  • Export to DGN files, Navisworks, and Bing Maps 
  • AutoCAD-like 3D modeling capabilities 
  • Compatible with BIM packages, 3D PDF, AutoCAD, Navisworks, SCIA Engineer, Microsoft Office, and more for cross-platform collaboration 
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality enabled for visualization 

Materials estimation 

  • Automatic bill of materials generation 
  • Fully customizable material list for modification 
  • Accurate cost estimation  
  • Integrate with Quantify for asset control and rental management 


  • Steep learning curve 
  • Requires intensive training  
  • User-friendly with built-in training videos 
  • Avontus provides on-demand training 

Labor cost 

  • AutoCAD certified engineers are expensive 
  • Required additional purchase of scaffolding design plugin for materials counting
  • The software can be used by anyone who knows about scaffolding 
  • Cut down on labor-intensive procedure like equipment counting 


  • Subscription-based (from $200/user/month) 
  • Stand-alone license for a single user 
  • Subscription-based (from $169/user/month)  
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee for new subscriptions 
  • Scalable based on your enterprise need  

Want to see Scaffold Designer in action? Book a demo with our team today. 

avontus beatmyscaffold 2019

The #BeatMyScaffold Contest Has Found Its Champion!

After a month of inspiration-filled and scaffolding-packed design submissions, the #BeatMyScaffold Contest finally came to a close last October. Fifteen contenders went head-to-head with their best scaffold designs in a bid to win a brand new DJI Phantom 4 Drone worth $1,399 and to be crowned the “Ultimate Scaffold Designer.” It was an exciting contest that had us on the edge of our seats!

If you are new to the #BeatMyScaffold Contest, here is how it worked. Contestants were required to submit their most innovative, complex or creative Avontus® Scaffold Designer project to our contest page via their Facebook account. Contestants then had the opportunity to share their designs with their friends and family to earn votes. At the end of the contest period, the entry with the most Facebook votes won! 

Scaffold Designer 2020 releases update with enhanced 3D capabilities and functionality. Read more about it here.

Through the contest, we were able to showcase the amazing work from Avontus customers to over 20,000 social followers. We were in awe of many breakthrough designs created with Scaffold Designer, and the whopping 400 vote count is a testament to their capabilities. And while everyone enjoyed the opportunity to win Facebook fame and glory, only one winner was lucky enough to take home the grand prize of a DJI Phantom 4 Drone.

And now, to announce the winner…

avontus beatmyscaffold 2019 contest winner


The award goes to Brandon Marton from Hinton Scaffold Solution Inc! Congratulations Brandon! You made the impossible possible. Halfway through the #BeatMyScaffold Contest, you stole the number 1 spot and ended strong with over 100 votes! We have seen your multiple Facebook shares to try to get those votes and evidently, your hard work has paid off.

scaffold design for wastewater digester tank

Brandon’s winning scaffold design


Check out that fantastic design! We decided to check in with Brandon for a few words about his project so that we could get a better understanding of how he did it.

  1. What project was it for?
    The project was for a wastewater digester tank for the city. The contractor required access to clean the entire interior, then replace the roof of the tank and re-insulate and seal.

  2. Were there any challenges?
    The challenge for us was to demonstrate the two phases of the project clearly and show how we would provide access to a sloped bottom entering from the top manhole in a confined space.

  3. How did Scaffold Designer help you with the project?
    We were able to clearly demonstrate our concepts and the different phases of the project wholly due to our use of Avontus Scaffold Designer. Without the ability to show the model in 3D and provide the drawings, the client was having difficulty from our competitors to understand how their project needs would be facilitated.

  4. Has the project been completed?
    Yes, this project was completed earlier this year.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank the rest of our contestants for contributing their amazing designs and making the #BeatMyScaffold Contest a success! Next year, we will be sure to add more exciting prizes to spice up the contest in its second year. So, stay tuned!

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome designs from the #BeatMyScaffold Contest via the all-new Scaffold Designer Gallery.


Scaffold project proposal

How to Nail Your Proposals for Scaffold Projects

The commoditization of construction projects has put scaffolding businesses at stake. Like it or not, you are now in the battle to not only win bids but also to protect profit margins against low bidders.

But low bidding isn’t a sustainable financial model. With lower bids, you either risk project delays (or even failure) or operate at a loss.

Wondering how leading scaffolding companies consistently win new businesses, even with a bigger price tag?

They build their scaffolding proposals around a value-first approach.

Value contractors focus on developing a well-thought-out scaffolding blueprint that clearly communicates the unique expertise built into each design. And they leverage technologies to deliver on their commitments and increase confidence in customers.

Now is your chance to win the battle.

Continue reading to learn how to nail your project proposal with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) solutions.

The Economics of Scaffolding: Shifting from Cost to Value

In traditional construction management, customers are used to thinking of design and build as discrete, sequential phases. That is, they often consider the price of the design, without taking into account the cost of execution. Hence, when it comes to scaffolding proposals, lower prices are often associated with higher value.

In reality, construction work often requires modification to ensure quality and safety, which is usually priced as change orders in the final quotation. That’s why scaffolding bid estimates are often inaccurate and incomplete, resulting in (unpleasant) surprises for customers, costly project delays and, in the worst case, construction safety hazards. 

But customers don’t always appreciate this reality. They prioritize lower bids, without fully understanding the creativity and expertise in your design and how a well-thought-out proposal can ultimately save cost in the build phase.

But don’t fall into the lowest-bid-wins trap. Compromising quality for low production costs will only damage your reputation as a contractor.

Customers will soon realize the costs of low bidding:  

  • Hidden fees from change orders, insufficient material costs, or incomplete bid
  • Delays in construction work due to poorly defined scope and schedule
  • Costly mistakes resulting in field design or modification of scaffolds to ensure safety

The most successful scaffolding companies excel at communicating the value of their designs.

They start by clearly assessing customer requirements and project scope, and then prepare a tailored scaffolding design with accurate estimates. A winning proposal should also allow for alteration or modification of scaffolding as the project progresses without causing delays or profit loss to either customer or contractor.

Today’s state-of-the-art scaffold modeling and visualization technologies can help you master your proposals, identify scope risks before you hit the job site, and impress customers with your expertise.

Next, we will show you exactly how to cement your pitch with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Nail Your Project Proposal with AR and VR for Scaffolding

Seeing is believing. The power of AR and VR technologies allows you to bring your scaffold design to life.

Instead of pitching unrealistic deliverables to simply match the market price, you can now walk your customer through an actual scaffold model, whether in a conference room or at the job site, to show them what they will actually pay for.

Below are key elements of a winning scaffolding proposal.

Visualization capabilities

A killer proposal starts with a robust design.

Customers aren’t scaffolding experts. It’s not easy for them to validate your design and its value. This is where two-dimensional sketches fall short.

Let’s focus on enhanced visualization capabilities for your scaffold plan.

Leverage modern tools like Scaffold Designer to design scaffolding models in 3D. Compatible with AutoCAD or BIM packages such as Navisworks, Revit or Tekla Structures, the software offers an intuitive interface to help you design complex structures at speed. Then, display your design in Scaffold Viewer, which will turn your sketch into an interactive 3D scaffolding.

Enabled by AR/VR technology, you can even take your design to the job site and scale it to fit the building façade.

As far as safety is concerned, your customers may not even be aware of potential risks with their existing structures. Having visibility into scaffold erection in real life allows them to assess the safety requirements or identify obstructions.

With added visualization capabilities, any modification to the model can be made directly on the scaffolding design. And the new prototype is readily available to all members on-site, reducing downtime and potential hazards as the work progresses.

Accurate quotations at speed

With the design at hand, you can easily calculate project quotations that suit your customer’s budget.

Scaffold Designer automatically generates a Bill of Materials (BOM) and a set of scaffold metrics for any design, so you can export to Quantify to create a detailed materials cost estimate.

Get ahead of your competitors with automatic estimates, from scaffold drawing, equipment counting, to bill of materials. Cut your design and planning process by up to 90 percent with higher accuracy. No guesswork and hidden costs, you can further configure the material catalog to reflect the project requirements as and when required.

[Avontus Quantify] generates a great looking proposal sheet, giving customers a great preview of what they’ll be working on. This has helped our company get a few jobs that we would not have normally gotten.” – Blake Burgess, Scaffolding and Insulation Estimator B&B SCAFFOLDING/BURGESS & BERRY INSULATION

Brand differentiation

Utilizing real-time 3D modeling can help speed up your drawing as well as quotations, especially when dealing with field-design and installation processes. With this, you are already a step ahead of the competitors.

By investing in digital technologies, you can capture site requirements, generate necessary equipment, and render 3D scaffolding models to fit the job site so your customers can “see” what is in place virtually.

Your scaffolding proposal doesn’t have to be presented on paper. Drive more sales with augmented reality. With complete transparency and precision, your customers will gain confidence even before the project kick-off.

A carefully planned proposal also enables you to ensure that all necessary safety precautions are in place. Having the design available and synced on mobile devices, your crew can stay aligned on any updates from bid to completion. By establishing your reputation through high-value and consistent successful project delivery, you also shut out contractors who bank on low bids. 

Scaffold Viewer makes bid presentations, planning reviews and client-handovers easier and more efficient. It’s a powerful sales tool that enables your business to rise above the rest.

Read more: Introduction to Estimating Scaffold Materials & Costs with Scaffold Designer

Better Visualization – More Winning Bids!

Take advantage of modern technologies to bring your scaffolding proposals to the next level. From design to delivery, scaffolding visualization is the key to a successful bid. 

Don’t let the low bidders put a damper on your win-rate or margins. Win customers and retain them with value-focused thinking.

Get in touch with us to learn more about scaffolding software and solutions for your business. 

Scaffold Designer's new Training Video Player allows users to learn the software quickly.

Avontus Designer®: Enhanced 3D Design Capabilities and Streamlined UX

3D technology is paramount for successful scaffold design and visualization. It helps you to catch mistakes and fine-tune your blueprint before your scaffold goes up.

But generic 3D modelling solutions are inefficient, costly, and time consuming. With the technology available today, there’s no reason you should have to spend hours designing a scaffold, or even more counting the materials.

That’s why we’re now releasing a revamped version of Scaffolding Designer 2020 – a dedicated and easy-to-use scaffolding solution with enhanced 3D capabilities that rival high-end CAD software. 

Scaffold Designer 2020 also includes exciting new UI/UX refinements like an in-app Training Video Player with over 20 bite-sized tutorial videos, new vector icons, and streamlined ribbon navigation for an intuitive and faster software experience. 

Continue reading to learn about additional feature enhancements and bug fixes. 

New Feature: Enhanced 3D Capabilities 

We know how important 3D technology is for visualizing your scaffold designs. Yet, you shouldn’t have to spend weeks (or more) learning CAD software or hours designing 3D models for project proposals. 

That’s why we’ve added enhanced 3D capabilities to our industry-leading scaffolding design software. Now, you get many of the features you’d expect to find in a premium CAD software, along with the unparalleled ease of use you’ve come to expect from Avontus software.

  • New shading modes (e.g. Realistic, Flat, Hidden Lines, etc.) have been added to 3D model view, enabling you to create vector-sharp views of the 3D model from a raster copy.
New shading modes are available with Scaffold Designer 2020 3D model view.

  • New toolbar has been designed for 3D conceptual and model views. Toolbar icon size can be customized in Options menu.
New Scaffold Designer toolbar has 3D conceptual and model views.

  • Added export to 3D PDF for conceptual and model views. Exported files can now be viewed in full 3D using Acrobat PDF Reader with no other application required.
Export your design to 3D PDF format for conceptual and model views.

New Feature: Powerful New User Experience

Our new release also includes UI/UX refinements – one of them is our new in-app Training Video Player. With over 20 short tutorials that are topic-focused and developed from real support cases, you can quickly learn the ins and outs of Scaffold Designer 2020. 

Its side-by-side viewing mode enables you to watch the tutorial videos while interacting with the software at the same time. This maximizes your time and makes it easier to get up to speed on the software. Learn the software basics fast and dive deep into each tutorial video at your leisure. 

No more searching for videos on YouTube or pouring through support documents. All the help you need in a simplified, one-stop application.

Scaffold Designer's new Training Video Player allows users to learn the software quickly.

Old bitmap icons have also been replaced with newer vector icons to enhance clarity, consistency, and system performance. And with a streamlined Import/Export ribbon navigation, all your import/export needs are contained in a centralized tab for a more intuitive user interface and faster user experience.

Streamlined Import/Export ribbon navigation ensures that all your import/export needs are contained in a centralized tab.


We’ve also improved existing features: 

  • Standard (vertical posts) calculations have been enhanced to optimize material usage. 
  • Bay size material drop downs in the Scaffold ribbon tab now show description and part number to help you quickly identify the horizontals used for a selected bay.

Bug Fixes

Yes, we heard your requests loud and clear and have fixed the following bugs: 

Smarter design creation and editing 

  • Base collars are now not added when screwjacks are removed from verticals. 
  • Sill boards are no longer added to legs with casters.
  • Updated and corrected the weights on Kwikstage wood planks and wood toe boards.
  • Ledgers longer than 2m are now automatically converted to double-ledger or truss (whichever is available), unless there is an override value in Bay Level Editor.
  • Fixed the issue with grouped building shapes not drawing correctly in 3D views or being placed in the wrong location.
  • Fixed the issue with drawing flipped (vertical or horizontal) building shapes in 3D view.


Clearer UI

  • Convert to Connector Bay has been removed from under New Connector Bay and is now under Edit Bays group.


Improved software performance

  • 3D model view now automatically resets and clears when crashing due to an internal error.
  • Fixed a bug in Material Master when resetting to default materials causing some materials to lose accuracy.

See Your Success Clearly with Scaffold Designer 2020

Master our brand-new Scaffold Designer 2020 program in minutes and bring your scaffold designs to life in seconds. 

Have suggestions for our scaffolding solutions? Let us know your thoughts here

To view system requirement for Scaffold Designer 2020, click here

Carpenters Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019

Visualize for Success: AR/VR Solutions in Scaffolding Design

Scaffolding visualization is the key to project success. From bidding and proposals in the boardroom to safety and assembly at the job site, the ability to effectively visualize scaffolding can have a major impact on your win-rate and profitability. 

Overly complicated proposals. Misunderstandings over project scope. Budget overruns due to scaffolding modifications. Scaffolding companies must overcome many costly issues to ensure profitability. 

Scaffolding visualization gives you a blueprint for success to help you overcome all of these obstacles. With today’s technologies, you have the power to bring your scaffold design to life in full augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). 

As part of a panel of speakers, Avontus’ VP of Operations Andrew Smith shared valuable insights into scaffolding design software and its benefits at the UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019.

UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019
Avontus’ VP of Operations Andrew Smith at the UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019.

Learn how to visualize success with AR/VR in scaffolding from our conference recap below. 

Visualize for Safety 

When transitioning a scaffold model from paper sketch to the job site, information can get lost in translation. It isn’t easy to prescribe technical requirements of a complex structure with a two-dimensional illustration, let alone assessing its safety assurance.   

The communications gap between scaffold users and contractors can cause serious safety hazards, such as missing decks or open holes. And these issues often surface at handover, resulting in costly change orders and modifications. 

scaffold designer 3D model
3D Scaffold Model through Scaffold Viewer

Overcome the safety concerns with Avontus’ Scaffold Viewer. Simply upload your scaffolding model to have it visualized in a three-dimensional (3D) illustration. Scaffold Viewer enables a “virtual handover” and “virtual modification/variation” to catch issues before men and materials hit the job site, saving labor cost, equipment waste, and delay. You can review the scaffold model with the whole team, no more confusion and frustration over unclear project requirements. 

Visualize for Scope 

Scaffolds can sometimes take months to erect, which means a great deal of knowledge has to be recreated through work in progress. As the plan departs from the initial scope, the “field designed” scaffolding may not align with what you original priced, impacting your margin and risking delays that upset the customer. 

Are you struggling to deliver scaffolding that meets your customer’s expectations within the project scope? Let’s revisit your projects and ask these questions: 

  • Are we designing to our scope? – How to ensure the designs are accurate and attainable for building. 
  • Do we need to change our approach? – How to ensure an efficient workflow to maintain alignment with the project scope. 

Scaffold Designer helps you create a “living model” that is available from the first bid to the time of build, ensuring consistency with scope and pricing as the project progresses. Also, by eliminating the need for “field design,” you substantially reduce labor costs – one of the critical success factors in managing scaffolding projects. 

With Scaffold Viewer, the crew can take the design with them in their pockets at all times as well! 

Visualize for Sales 

Your customers aren’t scaffolding experts. They often don’t appreciate the creativity and expertise in your proposals, and instead, focus on price. This commoditizes your work, preventing you from capturing the full value of your expertise. 

We want to shift the “lowest bid wins” perception towards an emphasis on the value delivered through a well-thought-out scaffolding design. 

AR-enabled Scaffold Model by Scaffold Viewer

Enabled by augmented reality (AR), Scaffold Viewer renders your digital scaffolding sketch into an interactive 3D visualization in real life. The model can be scaled up or down to review from your mobile device. With this proof of concept, your customers can have full visibility into how the scaffolding looks even before it takes shape at the job site. 

From here, designers and contractors can simultaneously verify the work, capture any potential changes, and create variations to deliver successful projects based on requirements. Without guesswork, you can design and estimate scaffolding in a way that maximizes customer benefits – whether it’s optimizing material costs or labor efficiency.   

Visualize for Success: Win More Bids and Reach Greater Heights with Avontus 

Increased competition, ongoing commoditization, shrinking margins, and labor shortages in the scaffolding industry can easily put a damper on your profits.  

Scaffold Designer is the key to combating these issues. It gives you a powerful tool to increase differentiation, address customer needs, and deliver added value. Such visualization capabilities with Scaffold Viewer, among other technology tools, ensure project deliverables and alignment from start to finish, helping you to reduce risks and increase efficiency. 

Gain a competitive advantage with high-tech solutions like AR and VR for scaffolding design and visualization. Contact us today for a free demo of Scaffold Designer and Scaffold Viewer. 


The Evolution of Scaffold Design

From high-rise buildings, or historical sites, to far-off places, scaffolding has always been a critical component to aid infrastructure improvements and expansion.  

We’ve come a long way since the early days of scaffold construction. As an industry innovator, we are proud to present the new evolution of scaffold design. Here, you will learn about the use cases for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive 3D in scaffolding.


Bringing Your Vision to Life with Augmented Reality

To design safe and reliable scaffolding, you need the combined efforts and skills of numerous people: engineers, designers, estimators, and builders – as well as the building owners. Communicating an accurate scaffold structure to everyone can be a challenge, particularly with more complex drawings.

Historically, one of the most common planning methods has been to use a set of printed drawings. But visualizing a three-dimensional scaffold on a two-dimensional illustration is difficult. It’s all the more challenging to communicate to the scaffold team, including the building owner, the potential issues like electrical or piping obstructions. Failure to do so can cost you both time and money.

What if there was a way to conceptualize scaffolding from drawings? There is. Welcome to augmented reality, or AR.

Imagine a world where you look at a building façade and are able to simulate the proposed scaffolding in real life. Enabled by AR technology, you can now turn the job site into the construction site with life-size scaffolds. As you walk around and inspect the digital scaffolding, you can easily verify its structure and safety measures before building it. By removing guesswork, you can ensure that the scaffold is built and handed over as designed.


scaffolding software


Off-site inspection of scaffolding design is also possible with AR technology.

For example, you’re attending an important sales meeting to present a scaffold design for a building renovation. It has all the qualities that will benefit the construction crew – elegant design, cost effective, and simple to construct. The problem is, the client is not familiar with scaffolding, which limits him from visualizing your design and fully understanding the benefits that you are proposing. 

So, you lay out a large printed drawing of the plan in front of them and, voila, the drawing comes to life. Through your smart device, the scaffold structure appears on top of the drawing. Your client can now see your design in all its glory. You know right then that you’re going to get the job.

This application is also AR enabled, but it’s scaled down to a smaller model for mobile 3D viewing.


scaffolding software

Freedom to Imagine with Virtual Reality (VR)

As an extension of scaffold design software, a VR headset allows you to view the entire structure and access obstacles before the scaffold is built. With this ground-breaking technology, you’ll get a full idea of the scale of your scaffold and be able to interact with it digitally.


scaffolding software


Wearing the VR headset, you can virtually fly up the stair tower and float right at the overhang to make sure the painters can access the other side of the pipe for painting. It’s only one of the many use cases of virtual reality. It puts the design in perspective in a way that’s unattainable for people in print.


Interactive 3D: Mobility at Its Best


scaffolding mobile


The possibilities with a 3D model are endless.

For instance, while out of the office, you want to check if there is a cantilever in your design. Simply open up the app on your smart device to review the mockup. Once you are there, fly up to outside at the 6th level and confirm that you have indeed added the cantilever and there’s a double layer of bracing, just like you expected. This is an interactive 3D view.


Putting it Together with a Shared Design

scaffold softwareYour scaffold team has a copy your drawings, and that’s only the beginning.

In reality, it takes lots of review and evaluation when working on-site. For example, there might be a complex area that requires a lot of section cuts and elevations.

With our Scaffold Design software, you can work closely with the foreman on the jobsite to easily make any necessary modifications to the scaffold. There’s no need to shut things down for redesign work–the job is ready to go once you are happy with it.

During the toolbox talk, the builders then view the design on a tablet and fly around the scaffold with the foreman to clarify the details. Having the virtual scaffolding at scale leaves no room for doubts or guesswork. There are no more questions as to what they’re going to build and how it’s expected to turn out.

Take an Evolutionary Leap in Scaffold Design

Scaffold Designer and Scaffold Viewer by Avontus make it all possible, from printed drawings to interactive 3D to virtual to augmented reality. The free Scaffold Viewer app transforms your Scaffold Designer drawings right before your eyes. Now, you can store designs in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Your scaffolding is right in your pocket, ready to be viewed and shared with your team and clients anytime.

Download Scaffold Viewer for free and see for yourself.

Ready for more? Contact us at for a free demonstration today.


Introduction to Estimating Scaffold Materials & Costs with Scaffold Designer


interface overview of scaffold designer


Hand-drawn scaffolding designs are incredibly time-intensive and difficult for clients and work crews to revise and understand. Scaffolding design and estimation software, like Scaffold Designer and Quantify, improve design efficiency and accuracy with easy to manipulate 3D models. 

Our software helps scaffolding designers reduce the amount of time it takes to design scaffolding structures and lower costs caused by inaccurate designs. You’ll even find that it’s easier to share your designs with your team and clients. 

Below, check out our introduction to Scaffold Designer and learn how to design scaffolding and generate material estimates. 


What is Scaffold Designer?

Our scaffolding design software, compatible with VR/AR, uses a drag and drop interface that gives users the ability to develop scaffolding layout designs and quickly generate a bill of materials for client proposals and scaffold erection.


What scaffolding types does Scaffold Designer support?

Scaffold Designer supports six major types of scaffolding, including:

  1. Cup Type
  2. Ring Type
  3. Kwikstage
  4. Haki
  5. Octo
  6. Safway


How does Scaffold Designer calculate materials?

The software is equipped with a customizable materials database, which includes parts numbers, dimensions and descriptions. You can even input your own materials. Designers and engineers can generate a Bill of Materials (BOM) for any designs and export to Quantify to generate a detailed materials cost estimate.

Each estimate provides accurate measurements and counts of scaffolding materials, including height, width, overall surface area and more. 


How do you estimate scaffolding materials with Scaffold Designer?

Before you start estimating materials, you’ll need to design a scaffolding structure. The example below shows you how to design your first scaffold and estimate the amount of materials needed for your design.


Step 1: Preparing the Scaffolding Drawing Environment

After downloading and installing Scaffold Designer, get started by preparing your drawing environment.


1. Click on the desktop icon or application to launch Scaffold Designer.


2. The application automatically launches with the option for you to create a new scaffolding drawing.


settings of a new scaffolding drawing

3. Select your preferred drawing units, either metric units or US units.



4. To finish configuring your drawing environment, select your scaffolding type.




Step 2: Drawing Scaffolding with Scaffold Designer

Now that the drawing environment is configured, you’re ready to start designing. In the section below, you’ll learn how to add, edit, change and save scaffolding bays, as well as generate materials and cost estimates.


Step 2.1: Adding & Editing a Scaffolding Bay

1. To add a new scaffolding bay to your design, click and drag New Bay to your drawing page. Once you’ve added the bay to your drawing, you can view the object in 3D and edit bay level details.



2. With the Bay Level Editor at the bottom of the application, you can easily edit Bay Details, like the height and number of levels.


editing bay details in bay level editor


Step 2.2: Adding Additional Scaffolding Bays

In addition to adding bay levels, you can also add scaffolding bays to any side of your original design.


1. Click to select the original bay you created.


selecting scaffolding bay


2. On the upper-left corner of the menu bar, select Add Bay from the Scaffold Tab to add a bay to any side.




Step 2.3: Changing Scaffolding Bay Dimensions

To customize your scaffold design, you can also easily change the dimensions of your scaffolding bays.


1. Select the scaffolding bay from your drawing.


choosing scaffolding bay


2. Under the Scaffold tab, select the LR dropdown in the Bay Size/Elevation group and select your preferred size.




Step 2.4: Completing Basic Scaffolding

No scaffold is complete without ladder access and vertical braces, which is why Scaffold Designer has built-in features that give you the power to do both.


1. Select the bay where you’d like to add the ladder and under the Scaffold tab, select Ladders.



2. To finish this sample scaffold, we’ll complete the model with supporting vertical braces. Under the Scaffold Tab select Side Settings and select the Top, Left and Bottom Face Braces.



Step 3: Creating a Bill of Materials

Now that you’ve designed your first set of scaffolding bays, by changing the dimensions and adding a ladder with braces, you’re ready to estimate the amount of materials needed to bring your design to life.


1. Under the Scaffold tab, select Bill of Materials to review the equipment list and scaffold units.



Step 3.1: Customizing the Bill of Materials

You’ll likely need to customize the BOM, based on the materials that you’re using for your project as well as the units. Scaffold Designer gives you the ability to change the part number, material description and modify for all materials.

1. To make changes to the BOM, simply select the box where you’d like to make your changes and adjust the cell numbers until they meet your needs.



2. Aside from scaffolding materials, Scaffold Designer also allows you to view the Scaffolding Units for the overall structure.



Step 3.2: Improving Stakeholder Workflow

Rather than exporting separate files for your stakeholders, Scaffold Designer makes it easy to keep the design and material estimates together.


1. When you’re done customizing your materials, simply select Copy to Clipboard and select Close BOM to return to your drawing.



2. Right click anywhere on your drawing page and select Paste to add your Bill of Materials. You can resize and move the material estimates wherever you’d like on the page.



Congrats for making it through your first tutorial on how to design scaffolding with Scaffold Designer and generate material estimates. To learn more about using Scaffold Designer for your next installation project, contact us or read more about our scaffolding design software.