by Frederike Berg
The history of scaffolding and what to expect from future scaffolding solutions
Where steel and aluminium predominate today, there used to be almost only wood. It is hard to believe, but remains of wooden scaffolding could already be found in the former caves of prehistoric humans. Presumably, it served them to carry out their cave paintings. Wood remained the most relevant material for scaffolding in the coming millennia. It was only through industrialisation that iron and steel became the main components of scaffolding. Since then, however, a lot has changed, not only in terms of materials. Work safety, prefabricated components, stability, lighter and easier-to-handle systems are in focus of modern technical innovations in scaffolding. Everything should be as versatile, efficient and safe as possible. But it hasn’t always been like this.
Simple modifications and handling of scaffolds were not always a matter of course
Easier scaffold assembly processes also mean saving time, labour, and money – all aspects which are indispensable to keep up with the growing demands of the construction industry nowadays. The older generation of scaffolding systems was nothing like this. The once popular pole scaffold with its labour-intensive assembly and lack of flexibility has therefore already become obsolete in large parts of the world. The at least 8 cm thick wooden poles, which are assembled with chains or wire ropes, offer little room for modification. The metre-deep holes that have to be dug in the ground to make the scaffolding stable are additional challenges for scaffolders. After centuries of use, a new solution was urgently needed to make scaffolding safer, faster and easier.
First improvements in scaffold connection methods
The successor in construction, the tube and coupler scaffold, is already doing a lot better. It not only offers the more weather-resistant building material steel, but also a simpler connection technique with a uniform tube diameter and thus faster work processes. The tubes are attached to each other in the desired direction with couplers - this not only provides more flexibility, but also higher static load capacity. But this scaffolding type creates some new challenges: It is relatively heavy and requires many individual parts, which means that scaffold builders have to carry and handle way more parts during assembly. In addition, transport and logistics become more sophisticated to ensure all required parts make it to the construction site and can be found quickly when they are required.
Scaffolding systems are revolutionising the market
But scaffolding manufacturers have also come up with a solution for this: system scaffolding. This includes both frame scaffolding and modular scaffolding such as ringlock scaffolds. Fewer individual scaffolding parts, simple and fast scaffold connection technology and overall lighter in weight, scaffolding systems are now increasingly replacing the once revolutionary tube and coupler scaffolds. System scaffolds are an essential part of modern scaffolding, because they are constantly improved and innovated. This is not least due to the fact that the introduction of the system scaffold is closely linked to the continuous improvement of safety standards in scaffolding and construction.
How does the future of scaffolding look like?
Modern scaffolding products must be one thing above all: future-proof. This means that they must be able to embrace the changing technology and safety standards as efficiently and easily as possible - and without the need for customers to buy new scaffolding systems again and again. This is to be made possible by products like the expandable guardrail, which is currently in the pipeline of the Scafom-rux developers. Simply replace old scaffold guardrails with the expandable guardrail and thus speed up work processes - because it can easily remain in the scaffolding.
Of course, investing in new scaffolding systems can still be worthwhile, especially when it comes to innovations in versatility. So, a quickly erectable facade scaffold with the flexibility and stability advantages of a modular scaffold is no longer a contradiction. Scafom-rux SUPER RS scores particularly well here with its future-oriented safety solutions. The already included advanced guardrails, for example, make the implementation of safety regulations such as TRBS 2121 particularly simple and efficient.
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