What is scaffolding?

Scaffolding refers to safety structures built using wood, aluminium or steel (and sometimes other materials) that are used to support a building during renovation, or used to support construction workers as they perform repairs or carry out construction on a building.

If you’ve been outside today in any UK city or town, chances are you’ve already walked or drove past some scaffolding. You probably didn’t notice it – scaffolding is such a common staple in British construction that it’s no longer remarkable when we see it.

Why is scaffolding important?

A key feature in construction work and one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance the efficiency and safety of a construction project, scaffolding is important for these main reasons:

Building access

If a building needs repair work, renovations, or other construction work done, getting access to the building can be difficult. This is especially true if the building in question is a large, industrial building or high-rise building. While there exists tools – such as power access platforms – that can help elevate construction workers to the right level, these are often dangerous to manoeuvre, and don’t allow lots of workers access to the building at one time.

With scaffolding, a team of construction workers can be working around the building at the same time, helping to create an efficient working environment and offering better access to the building.

Safer working conditions

Perhaps the most important reason why scaffolding is so important: it helps create a secure and safe working environment for construction workers. While working at height will always pose some level of risk to worker safety, having a secure scaffolding in place allows construction workers to move around the building without having to worry about slippy ladders or tripping over tools.

Scaffolding enables workers to store important materials and tools within the scaffolding structure, rather than having to go up and down ladders with heavy materials.

Key positioning and perspective

If construction workers are going to be carrying out repairs or performing construction on a building, it’s important for them to have access to the building at every level, and be able to position themselves efficiently to carry out the needed work. Scaffolding provides visual perspective: this is especially true when it comes to large buildings, industrial buildings and high-rise buildings.

Sometimes, the success of a construction project will often depend on small details; these small details are only fully accessible when workers are given access – via scaffolding – to explore the full exterior of the building. When workers have full access to a building, not only is the work carried out more efficiently, but outcomes tend to be improved too.

It’s cost-effective

Scaffolding remains so popular in construction due to its low prices. In comparison with power access platforms and other machinery used for working at height, scaffolding is highly affordable for both businesses and homeowners.

What’s great about scaffolding is you can hire it just for a day if need be; when you hire scaffolding services, you’ll typically be charged either by day, by week, or by month, with most companies offering cost-effective prices for longer rentals.

It’s durable

Aside from being cost-effective, easy to use, and ensuring safe conditions for construction workers, scaffolding is also highly durable. Certain scaffolding structures made of stainless steel can even last for years at a time; if you’re a DIY enthusiast, or a property owner who carries out lots of work on various homes, you could even buy your own scaffolding for whenever you hire workers to renovate or repair your home.

Efficient working conditions

Working within a scaffolding structure is much easier than working with ladders or machinery designed for working at height; for one, scaffolding permits more than one construction worker to work around the building at the one time. Plus, as they can store tools and materials on the scaffolding site, workers don’t end up wasting time going up and down ladders to transport necessary materials.

Scaffolding also offers construction workers a sense of physical balance that isn’t provided with a ladder; some tasks (such as detailed painting) require full balance and concentration; with scaffolding there to provide it, workers are able to carry out their tasks more efficiently.

Easy to assemble and disassemble

Another great thing about scaffolding is its ease-of-use; unlike certain machinery (which often requires a licence and a few years of experience in order to use it) all construction workers can use scaffolding, provided that they adhere to the UK rules and regulations regarding working at height.

Scaffolding is also incredibly easy to erect and disassemble. Erecting scaffolding on an average-sized home in the UK only takes a couple of hours, while taking it down takes even less time.


Frequently asked scaffolding questions

What’s the best type of scaffolding?

If you’re looking for scaffolding that is both safe and durable, stainless steel has to be your number one option. Steel is highly durable, while also providing a strong and secure structure for scaffolding purposes.

Is scaffolding safe?

While working at height will always incur safety risks, scaffolding – when installed correctly – is 100% safe to use when working on a construction project. Safety is guaranteed if all ‘Working at Height’ regulations are adhered to.

What is the most commonly used type of scaffold?

Frame scaffolds are one of the most frequently used types of scaffolds.

Mike Alexander
Hey there, I'm Mike - writer and part time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I've since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I've learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK.

How Does Refurbb Work?

Tell us some details of your project

Let us know the details of the work required. From a tin hat scaffolding to scaffolding towers.

Tell us your UK address

We have a national network of scaffolding professionals here in the United Kingdom – whether you are in Scotland or London!

Speak with pro's and compare quotes

You’ll access our portal to speak with pro’s in your area and compare quotes – saving £££!