The use of scaffolding in the repair and maintenance of many of our homes is something that just cannot be avoided. In order to keep ourselves and our workers safe it is necessary to provide a safe and secure way to reach those areas that are not accessible by a ladder. Before you blindly hire someone to erect a scaffolding for you, take a few minutes to learn a little about the factors that affect the cost of scaffolding, different types of scaffolding, and some general price estimates for low cost scaffolding.
Factors affecting scaffolding costs
There are many factors that will affect the scaffolding hire prices. Bellow you can see a summary.
- The size and height of your scaffolding.
- If a scaffolding roof cover is required.
- If one or multiple levels of scaffolding are required.
- Accesses issues (blocking roads or paths).
- Your geographic location.
- if it is required to bridge things like conservatories and pathways or driveways.
- Quantity and quality of materials.
Materials used in scaffolding
The type of materials used will also play a role in how much you will pay for your scaffolding. There are four main types of scaffolding in use around the world today;
- H-frame/façade modular system
- Tube and coupler component
- Prefabricated modular system
Although different in some ways they all are essentially constructed in the same way, a framework of either metal or wood that is constructed in such a way that people can stand on them to perform work at heights on buildings in a safe manner. The earliest scaffolds were constructed of wood and that is still common today but it is labor intensive and not as safe as some of the more modern systems available.
Modern scaffolding can trace its birth to the inventor, David Palmer-Jones, who in 1913 patented the first coupler eliminating the need to use rope. His new invention premiered during the reconstruction of Buckingham Palace that same year. With his introduction of the “universal coupler” in 1919 he revolutionized the scaffold. With the development of new lightweight metals scaffolding took another leap adapting the use of steel water pipes to the construction of scaffolding. By 1944 the first frame system using all the best technology was introduced. Although materials and some design changes have occurred in the past decades the design has not changed that much since then.
How scaffolding is made
Today no matter who produces scaffolds, they are constructed of three basic parts, tubes, couplers, and boards. The tubes are typically constructed of lightweight metals like steel or aluminium. Shaped like a pipe they come in standard sizes which can then be cut to the desired length. The choice of metal depends upon the height and weight requirement for the scaffold.
Steel is much stronger than aluminium thus can handle more weight and stress. The boards are simply the surface that the worker stands on to do the work. They are usually made of seasoned wood and come in several thicknesses depending on the amount of weight you need to support. The final piece is the coupler which is what holds the entire system together. They come in different sizes and shapes to be adapted to the structural needs of the scaffold.
How scaffolding works
The structure of the scaffold is in the basic shape of interlocking squares or rectangles. With a strong base plate at the bottom for stability and cross bars for strength the structure can be built to amazing heights. Additionally, because scaffolds are not intended to be free standing structures they will be attached to the building with a tie. Because structures differ there are several types of ties.
Through ties use openings in the building as anchors while box ties are similar but are designed to be used on pillars or like structures. Sometimes anchor or bolt ties are used. These are a ring fitted into a whole that has been drilled into the building. No matter what type of tie is used these are an essential part of the scaffolding increasing safety dramatically.
Because safety is very important when you are on a scaffolding whether it’s one story off the ground or ten there are stringent rules and regulation regarding all aspects of scaffolding. From standards requiring high quality materials be used in the construction of the parts to the very size of those parts safety standards have been imposed on the industry.
Do I need a permit for scaffolding
Many communities require a permit before a scaffolding can be erected. In the UK everyone is required to obtain a permit before erecting a scaffolding which ensures that all safety standards are met reducing the potential of on the job injuries and even death. Your scaffolding company should obtain the permit but it is your responsibility to make sure they do. If they are resistant to do so it may be wise to rethink your decision to use their services.
Now that you know a little more about scaffolding you are ready to move on to getting a scaffolding cost estimate for the property. Most scaffolding contractors will be happy to give you a free estimate either online or in person. They typically will measure using meters squared so be prepared to hear that terminology. Some will have different types of scaffolding but usually metal scaffolding with wooden boards for the lifts is the industry standard and the most common one you will find being used.
Scaffolding minimal rental time
Although most scaffolding services require an initial rental period of six to eight weeks, there are a few places that will do a short term project. You will usually pay the cost of the material plus the cost of labor for set up and tear down. So your scaffolding cost per day will depend on the size and time to set up.
Another factor you need to consider is the eventuality that your project will not be completed in time and you will need the scaffolding longer than anticipated. Make sure you discuss this with your scaffolding company to assure that you have an agreement on charges should this occur. Try to arrange for a scaffolding price per day or per week to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.
Scaffolding cost for a loft conversion
Now let’s take a look at some specifics to give you a better idea of what your estimates might be. The scaffolding cost for a loft conversion is one of the most common that people are researching. Because of the height needed to reach those high areas the price will vary depending on your specific needs.
- A good starting point for scaffolding cost per square meter is £16
- Additional materials start at £9 per square meter and will vary depending on the job.
- You will also need edge protectors and handrails which start at £10 per meter.
Because this is a scaffold for a loft conversion you should understand that costs can vary greatly depending on the height and dimensions of the loft. Furthermore, don’t ever attempt to move the scaffolding yourself this could endanger anyone that might want to use it later on. Although this is a fairly broad estimate of cost it should give you an idea of how much you might pay.
Cost of scaffolding a house
The cost of scaffolding a house will depend on how many sides you need to cover. Typically you can use the same scaffold for each side of the property but if it is a roofing project the entire house will need to be covered by a scaffold.
- In general you should expect to pay £920 to scaffold three sides of a semi-detached house.
- A single side 10 meters long will cost about £570, assuming you only have one or two lifts.
Lifts are the number of places you can stand on the scaffolding to do work. The number you need will depend on the type of work you are doing. If you are painting you will need accesses to the entire wall but if it’s a roof replacement only the top.
Looking at prices for a semi-detached house may help you understand what your costs will be.
|Semi-detached House||Number of Sides Covered||5 or More Workers||10 or More Workers|
|London and Surrounding Area||All three||£960||£1,120|
|South, and South West Midlands||£820||£870|
Terraced Houses Scaffolding Cost
For homeowners who need to scaffold a terraced house the cost will depend on the type of job that you will need the scaffolding for.
- Wall work scaffolding cost is higher in general. You should expect to pay £310 for a single side scaffold.
- The scaffold cost of a terraced house can vary widely depending on the size of the property.
- In general you should expect to pay between £960and £1100.
- Contact a local scaffolding company for more accurate estimates.
If you have a simple job that needs doing the cost of hiring a tower scaffold can seem expensive. Many companies would prefer not to take small jobs where there is less potential for profit. So it is not unusual for them to cost £300 to £400.
This usually includes the cost of set up and teardown and you should always check to see how long you will have the scaffold in place. In many cases this is the scaffolding cost per week. This could also be the type of job you would need a company that offers daily rates.
Chimneys and conservatories : How do they affect cost
Another cost that you may have to factor into your repair project is the presence of chimneys and conservatories. These architectural fixtures will require more specialised types of scaffolds that will increase the cost. If you have a conservatory it will often be necessary to create a bridge over it and this could increase the scaffolding cost by £260.
If you have walkways or driveways that bisect the property, bridges will have to be created for these as well. A chimney will require its own special scaffolding often costing as much as £560. Finally, on occasion a property will require a scaffolding roof cover which costs around £95 per square meter. So when you are considering how much it will cost to scaffold your property don’t forget those special requirement for your property.
To make it easier for you to understand the potential cost of hiring scaffolding, we have created a list with various scaffolding companies:
- Independent Scaffolds start at £15 per m2
- Temporary Roof Scaffolds starting at £90 per m2
- Conservatory scaffolds starting at £250
- Tower Scaffolding starting at £250
- Access staircases starting at £250
Tips before hiring any contractor
One of the secrets that many contractors don’t want you to know is that you can hire your own scaffolding for their job. They want you to use their scaffolds so they can make an additional profit from the use of their own equipment. Don’t automatically assume that they can offer you the best price shop around so you can bargain effectively. The cost of the scaffolding can often represent a large part of the overall budget of the job.
Advantage of hiring your own scaffolding
The advantage of hiring your own scaffolding is the money it will save you whether you bargain the price down with your contractor or hire one independently. No matter where you hire your scaffolding from, safety should always be a priority, so never sacrifice quality for price. Your contractor may not be happy about it but it’s your money so why not make it go farther.
Whether you are doing the work yourself or have a contractor in to do the job, for the safety and security of everyone involved you need to erect a scaffolding. Since prices may vary so it is important to get some good estimates before you make a commitment, keeping in mind that your expected finish date may be delayed and your scaffolding contractor may have extra charges for extra time. Nothing can substitute for a good scaffolding when it comes to safety so do your homework and find the best quality scaffolding for the best price and give your home the attention it deserves.