Shoring or scaffolding – what’s the difference?

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Shoring or scaffolding – what’s the difference?

In the construction industry, the terms "scaffolding" and "shoring" are often used interchangeably. Understandably so, as both are temporary structures for construction projects of all kinds. However, upon closer examination, fundamental differences emerge between scaffolding and shoring, especially in terms of use, design, and configuration, which makes it essential to differentiate between the two terms.

Difference in the function and purpose of scaffolding and shoring

When looking at the specific uses of scaffolding and shoring, the distinction is quite simple. Scaffolding is primarily designed to provide personnel with access to work areas at height. They serve as temporary work platforms, enabling various construction, maintenance, or repair tasks to be carried out.

 

During the construction process, shoring is used to support the heavy weights of concrete elements such as bridge decks.

 

Shoring, on the other hand, is primarily designed to support the formwork of concrete slabs and bridge decks during the concrete pouring process, as well as other structural elements that temporarily need support during the construction process.

 

The main purpose of scaffolding is to provide access for workers and their equipment to work areas at a height.

 

Difference in the design and load bearing capacity of scaffolding and shoring

Shoring is designed to bear heavy loads such as the weight of concrete as well as additional loads from personnel, formwork, and equipment. Therefore, the basic load-bearing capacity of shoring is comparatively higher than that of scaffolding. In contrast, scaffolding must be able to adapt more flexibly to different heights and uneven or irregular structures than shoring does.

Difference in the configuration and materials of scaffolding and shoring

One of the biggest similarities between shoring and scaffolding lies in their materials. Both are made of steel or aluminium, although scaffolding may also include wooden components such as scaffold boards.

While both shoring and scaffolding systems can be made from the same materials, they still differ in their respective configurations. Shoring systems can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, for example, to support concrete elements such as bridge sections or walls. Scaffolding systems, on the other hand, are assembled in various vertical configurations to adapt them to different structures or buildings.

Can scaffolding also be used as a shoring solution?

In summary, scaffolding and shoring systems differ from each other especially in their purpose, their design and their configuration. Nevertheless, there are instances in which scaffolding sytems can also be used as shoring solutions.

This was the case, for example, during the construction of the Mobilis car show in Anderlecht, Belgium. Here, 130,000 m3 of RINGSCAFF material was used to support the large amounts of concrete poured during construction. Learn more about the project in the video. Click here to download the corresponding project report as well.

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