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.
The use of scaffolding in the repair and maintenance of many of our homes is something that just cannot be avoided. 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 scaffolding for you, take a few minutes to learn a little about the factors affecting the cost of scaffolding and the different types of scaffolding.
On this page
- Why do you need to use scaffolding
- Factors affecting scaffolding costs
- Materials used in scaffolding
- Modern scaffolding
- How scaffolding is made
- How scaffolding works
- Do I need a permit for scaffolding
- Rules or regulations for the scaffolding industry
- Scaffolding minimal rental time
- Scaffolding cost per square meter
- Scaffolding for a loft conversion cost
- Cost of scaffolding house
- Chimneys and conservatories: How do they affect the cost
- Advantage of hiring your own scaffolding
- Tips before hiring any contractor
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you need to use scaffolding
Whether you already have a home or are about to build one, at some point, you will need to access the roof and higher parts of the house. You may need to replace roof tiles, or work on the chimney or paint the eaves. Many of these jobs can be undertaken safely using an extension ladder, but other jobs will need you to hire and erect scaffolding to do the job safely.
Scaffolding will give you access to the higher parts of your house and a platform to work from. More than one professional can work from the same scaffolding platform, saving time and, therefore, money. Scaffolding is useful when you are handling heavy materials such as bricks and mortar. You can stockpile the materials on the scaffolding before starting work that will save you many trips up and down. (see scaffolding rules and regulations here)
Factors affecting scaffolding costs
Many factors will affect the scaffolding hire prices. Below 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 so that people can stand on them to perform work at heights on buildings in a safe manner. The earliest scaffolds were constructed of wood, which is still common today, but it is labour-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 the 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 construct the 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 the contractor can then 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 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
Scaffolding is a very flexible system that allows you to access areas inaccessible by any other means safely and securely. Scaffolding relies on jacks or metal supports. The jacks are made from heavy steel tubing with adjustable feet locked into position with steel pins. Every jack has horizontal tubes where you can place boards to walk on and store materials.
The built-in ladder rungs make climbing a scaffold easy. The jacks are placed apart, so a walk board is spanning between them. The walk boards are heavy planks of wood that the tradesmen stand on. The scaffolding jacks are placed on top of each other to reach very high places until the desired height is reached. The feet are removed from the bottom jack, and it is placed over the top of the other.
Do I need a permit for scaffolding
Many communities require a permit before a scaffolding can be erected. In the UK, everyone must obtain a permit before erecting a scaffolding that 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 scaffolding 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.
Rules or regulations for the scaffolding industry
Because safety is essential when you are on a scaffolding, whether it’s one story off the ground or ten, there are stringent rules and regulations regarding all aspects of scaffolding. Safety standards have been imposed on the industry, from standards requiring high-quality materials to be used in the construction of the parts to the very size of those parts.
The scaffolding industry is governed by ‘Work at Height’ regulations. These regulations are “essentially criminal law”, according to the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC). They have been put in place to help guarantee the UK and European standards for scaffolding use.
The regulations came into force on 6th April 2005, and they apply to all work at height (such as on a scaffolding site) where there would be a risk of somebody falling and causing an injury.
To adhere to the regulations, you will need to ensure the following:
- All work at height should be appropriately planned and organised.
- Anyone involved in work at height must be a competent professional.
- The risks from work at height need to be assessed first, and suitable work equipment is selected and used.
- The risks from fragile surfaces must be properly controlled.
- Equipment for work at height should be properly examined and upheld.
These regulations also set out a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height. They stipulate that duty holders must:
- Avoid work at height if at all possible.
- Use work equipment or other measures to avoid falls where they cannot avoid working at height.
- If they cannot remove the risk of a fall, then they should use work equipment or other measures to reduce the distance and consequences of a fall, if one should happen.
Scaffolding minimal rental time
Although most scaffolding services require an initial rental period of six to eight weeks, a few places will do a short term project. You will usually pay the cost of the material plus the cost of labour for setting 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 the company you hired will not complete your project 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 per square meter
On average, expect to pay from £15 per metre for a basic scaffold, plus £19 per metre for additional materials and edge protectors.
Scaffolding for a loft conversion cost
Now let’s take a look at some specifics to understand better 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 metre is £16 – £20 per metre.
- Additional materials start at £9 per metre and will vary depending on the job.
- You will also need edge protectors and handrails, which start at £10 per metre.
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, as moving it could endanger anyone that might want to use it later on. Although this is a fairly broad estimate of the cost, it should give you an idea of how much you might pay.
Cost of scaffolding house
Regardless of the type of building or refurbishment work that needs doing, your first question will be, “How much does scaffolding cost? ” So let’s take a detailed look.
Scaffolding costs around a conservatory
Sometimes it is necessary to carry out some work on a conservatory. Common projects are roof repairs, gutter cleaning or painting and decorating the house itself. Whatever the reason, it is required to build a bridge over the conservatory roof, which makes it difficult and dangerous as roofs sometimes can be fragile, slippery or generally unsafe. Estimate to pay from £450 to £900 per week for scaffolding rental depending on the size of the company you will hire and where you live in the UK.
Scaffolding cost around a chimney
A chimney scaffold is fitted over the ridge of the roof (the highest point where two roof areas intersect, running the length of the area). A full or half chimney scaffold is a working platform that enables professionals to rebuild or repoint a chimney stack by giving access to both sides. It is difficult to estimate the cost of erecting a scaffold around a chimney, as each one is different. Chimney scaffold costs range from £65 per day or £420 per week.
Access tower scaffolding hires to gutter height.
Even though the cost to hire an access tower starts from £65 per week. However, depending on your needs, you might end up paying over £120. Expect to pay from £350 to £500 per week to have a professional deliver and erect one at your place.
4 storey semi-detached with roof
Four storeys semi-detached house with scaffolding erected on three sides and over the roof rental price ranges from £1,000 – £1,250 per week.
2-bed semi-detached house scaffolding
When you need to repair or repaint the roof of your house, you will need to erect a scaffold around the walls. The rental price comes to £750-£900 per week, depending on your location.
3-bed semi-detached house scaffolding cost
According to our research, the average cost to erect a scaffold around the walls of a 3-bed semi-detached house comes to £900-£1,150 per week.
10 metres scaffold cost up to the first floor
In this case, the rental price per week comes to £550-£700 per week, depending on if you hire a scaffolding company. It will take approximately 2-3 hours to erect the scaffold. Expect to pay more if you require more than one lift (level).
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 access to the entire wall, but if it’s a roof replacement, only the top.
Looking at the labour cost for a semi-detached house may help you understand what your costs will be.
|To put up just a “tower”, to re-fix some bottom hip tiles||£250|
|Scaffolding bridge over your conservatory||£450|
|To scaffold out the front of your semi for roofing||£425|
|To scaffold out the front of your semi for painting||£500|
|To scaffold all-around your semi for roofing||£850|
|To scaffold all-around your semi for painting||£1100|
|To scaffold up to and around your ridge chimney for pointing or removal||£750|
|To scaffold all-around your 1930’s detached house for painting.||£1500|
source: Building Sheriff
Terraced Houses Scaffolding Cost
For homeowners who need to scaffold a terraced house, the cost will depend on the type of job you need the scaffolding for.
Scaffolding wall work
Scaffolding wall work cost is higher in general. You should expect to pay £310 for a single side scaffold per week. In general, you should expect to pay between £960 and £1,100. Contact a local scaffolding company for more accurate estimates.
If you have a simple job that needs doing, the cost of hiring a scaffold tower can seem expensive. Many companies would prefer not to take small jobs where there is less profit potential. So it is not unusual for them to charge from £300 to £400.
This usually includes the cost of setting up and tear down, 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 the 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 per week.
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, a property will require a scaffolding roof cover that 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 requirements for your property.
To make it easier for you to understand the potential cost of hiring scaffolding, we have created a list with the lowest possible scaffolding prices per meter :
- 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
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 the price. Your contractor may not be happy about it, but it’s your money, so why not make it go farther.
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.
Read more: Guide to Hiring Scaffolding Companies
Whether you are doing the work yourself or have a contractor in to do the job, you need to erect scaffolding for the safety and security of everyone involved. Since the cost of scaffolding may vary, it is important to get some good estimates before you commit. Always keep 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 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need scaffolding?”
Unless the work will be taking place over your conservatory, it is usually unnecessary to get scaffolding. It is always worth asking your builder to quote for “snow guards”. It does not need to be snowing! If these are placed over your conservatory, they can stop anything falling from the roof onto the glass conservatory roof, thus preventing any damage. Imagine the damage a falling tile could do. Snow guards are well worth the investment.
Can you quote for painting the fascia boards?
The fascia boards are what your guttering is fixed on. Once the old guttering has been taken down, it often reveals some unsightly paintwork with a new coat of acrylic paint, making the fascia look as good as new.
Do I need to change the downpipes? What happens if there are holes left when he removes the cast iron pipes?
If you have cast iron gutters, they were probably fitted back when the only way to fix them to the house was to use large metal spikes. These are often difficult to remove and leave unsightly holes behind. These will need to be made good to preserve the look of the exterior of the house.
How far apart are the fixing brackets
Plastic guttering can start to sag if the brackets are too far apart. Therefore these will be placed no more than 30 inches (800mm) apart to prevent any distortion from taking place.
Are the existing guttering runs long enough? Will I need extra falls or downspouts?
Sometimes we can add an extra downspout which will empty into the gullies. Sometimes we can add a new spout into a fall that is not well used. The important thing is that any new spout terminates into a gully that can take all the water. Adding another spout can help prevent too much water from pouring out of the gutters if they get full of silt. Most gutters silt up after 5 years or so. Therefore it is always worthwhile looking into this.
What is a “shoe”, and do I need one?
A shoe fits on the end of a downpipe, and while it is not 100% essential, it finishes the job, gives a great aesthetic and only costs about £2.50.