by Frederike Berg
Scaffolding around the world – From Europe to North America
Pack your bags, get on a plane and off you go - as soon as the first days of summer arrive, don’t we all feel the urge to travel? After all, who wouldn't like to see the whole world?
But even when travelling, scaffolding professionals can't quite get away from couplers, scaffolding frames and steel decks. Just walking past scaffolding like "normal people" without taking a closer look at it is almost impossible. Especially when you're abroad, you notice that the types of scaffolding used are completely different to those at home.
So, if you can't pack your bags and take a trip right now, we'll take you on a little virtual tour of typical scaffolding types in construction around the world.
Why do scaffolds differ globally?
Before we start our tour, let's take a look at why different scaffolding is needed in different regions of the world. The material and type of scaffold depends on these factors, among others:
- Differences in construction methods
- Differences in local safety regulations
- Labour costs
- Cost of materials
- Versatility (especially in densely populated areas)
- Weather conditions and seismic risk
First stop: Europe
Actually, even one trip across Europe would already show you various types of scaffolding. The UK, for example, relies on the traditional tubular scaffold, whereas in Northern and Central Europe you are more likely to see system scaffolds. This is partly due to the sense of tradition in the British scaffolding industry. However, you are bound to come across system scaffolding in the UK as well. Because here, too, there’s an increasing tendency towards using modular scaffolding.
Steel scaffolding dominates the European market
Europe relies on steel scaffolding. That's why you probably won't find wooden scaffolding anywhere. This is mainly due to the safety standards that apply in Europe and the environmental conditions there. Steel scaffolding can easily withstand rain, wind and cold and is also fire resistant. Aluminium scaffolding is also becoming increasingly popular. This is because it is particularly light, saving valuable labour times and costs.
The weather also affects the way houses are built in Europe - and therefore the choice of scaffolding for this task. For example, especially roofs of residential buildings in Europe are often pitched. This construction method prevents the rain and snow typical of this continent from accumulating excessively on the roofs. Standing scaffolds such as frame scaffolds or even ringlock modular scaffolds are mainly used to build and renovate these types of houses.
However, flat-roof buildings are also a feature of the urban landscape in Europe, particularly in large cities. So, you might also see suspended scaffolds from time to time, apart from bridge or industry applications.
Heading for America
Arriving in North America, the picture is very similar to that of scaffolding in Europe. In the USA and Canada, too, steel scaffolding is in first place, closely followed by its aluminium counterpart. Hardly any residential or commercial project can do without frame or brace scaffolding. Although not as load-bearing as modular scaffolding, frame and brace scaffolds are quick and easy to erect thanks to their prefabricated components. However, modular scaffolding, for example with ringlock connections, is also common on the North American continent.
While the continents of North America and Europe seem to be rather united when it comes to scaffolding, other continents present a very different picture. That is why we will turn to Australia, New Zealand and Asia in our next blog post.
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