Scaffolding load classes in the European Union and United Kingdom


Scaffolding load classes in the European Union and United Kingdom

Wherever in the world you want to assemble a scaffold, you can be sure that there are regulations in place to ensure its safety and reliability. One key aspect of these regulations is the classification of scaffolding into different load classes based on the intended use and the maximum permissible load per scaffold level.

The way in which the load classes are categorised depends on the standards that apply in each region. For example, the EU divides into 6 load classes for scaffolding and the UK into 4 load classes. See below for the exact breakdown.

What are the load classes for scaffolding in Europe?

Unlike the height and width of a scaffold, the load class is not visible to the naked eye. To avoid accidental overloading, it is therefore important that each section of the scaffolding has the same load class.

In the European Union, EN 12811-1:2003 regulates which scaffolding you can use for which jobs. There are 6 load classes:

  • Load class 1: max. 0,75 kN/m2
  • Load class 2: max. 1,5 kN/m2
  • Load class 3: max. 2,0 kN/m2
  • Load class 4: max. 3,0 kN/m2
  • Load class 5: max. 4,5 kN/m2
  • Load class 6: max. 6,0 kN/m2

Which scaffold load class do I need for my project?

For example, while class 1 scaffolding can only be used for inspection work, class 2 scaffolding can be used for activities such as painting or cleaning, as long as no building materials are stored on the scaffolding. Class 3 scaffolding is used for a wide range of renovation and facade work, as it can carry lighter parts and materials. If heavy materials need to be stored on the scaffolding levels, such as for heavy maintenance or bricklaying, load class 4-6 scaffolding is suitable.

What are the load classes for scaffolding in the UK

The National Access and Scaffolding Federation's (NASC) TG20:13 is a guidance for all tube and coupler scaffolding in the UK. TG20:13 covers four load categories including

  • Class 1: Very light duty (max. 0,75 kN/m2)
  • Class 2: Light duty (max. 1,5 kN/m2)
  • Class 3: General Purpose (max. 2,0 kN/m2)
  • Class 4: Heavy Duty (max. 3,0 kN/m2)

Class 1 scaffolds are designed for inspection tasks, while Class 2 scaffolds are suitable for painting work, for example. Class 3 scaffolds can be used for construction work such as bricklaying. If heavy duty work such as masonry and heavy cladding needs to be done, scaffolds with class 4 need to be used.

Knowing the load class and therefore the maximum load capacity of your scaffolding is an important part of ensuring the safety of your team and others on the scaffolding. For more information and insights on safety in scaffolding, see our blog articles below.

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