We live in a time when information is readily available to share experiences, it is my intention that you will gain some insight to Scaffolding, that will assist as a quick reference guide. If you are a worker and just wondering what to expect, or a DIY builder, that is considering the TridiPanel building system, working with; Portland cement, shotcrete, or insulated 3D panels, you will gain a new understanding about setting up Scaffolding, with an emphasis on safety and streamlining workflow, to control costs. With project images, and on the job do’s and don’ts when engineering your scaffolding setup, planning, best practices in equipment safety, how to select the best planks for the job, manpower defined roles, and scaffolding accessories.
This quick reference guide demonstrates different types of scaffolding that I have used around the world on projects that I have personally built or worked on. Scaffolding is a dominate tool in the SCIP building system, I am well versed and with the demand from others to learn, I am sharing project details and images with you.
The intricate details involved in building a temporary platform during a construction project, known as Scaffolding, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked tools, yet it is required to elevate a tradesman from ground level, it is a place to set materials at arms length, and it can improve productivity and cut costs. One common rule is if a tradesman or workers’ feet leave the ground to perform a task the labor, at a minimum, will double. The idea with well set scaffolding is to have the same advantages present at ground level. Usually a platform or scaffold may be around the perimeter of a structure, under a ceiling, or bottom side of the roof. There is no increased productivity when using a ladder or small bench in place of a working platform or scaffold.
Scaffold installation is different for each trade for example; a shotcrete company may use a wider frame that is placed a greater distance from the walls, with the task of applying their design mix to the SCIP wall panels. A gunite company, working with high velocity may set the frames a greater distance from the structure, because of the high velocity of the application. When hand applying Portland cement, cement mortar, or wire mesh, while working with SCIP, the frame or scaffold may be set closer to the structure by one foot or less. I recommend the scaffolding to be set at a minimum of arms length to the wall giving the worker more control to perform tasks. When setting your scaffold or building, gauge it based on what type of work is being done, this will save time and cost.
The setting of scaffolding is a trade to be learned, these parts are the basics of setting or building proper safe scaffolding. Assuming you have calculated the duty live load based on the project scaffold load, light, medium, or heavy.
A.) Take all measurements for the height of your scaffold from the top down. Measure the highest point, allow for the thickness of scaffold planks, allow 74″ in height to the top of the scaffold plank, for items you will use for your platform, you do not want your workers bending over or ducking their heads while working, this is not productive. Lay planks on the ground to measure the proper distance of scaffold frames for each panel wall, this will help for your frame layout.
B.) Do not put excessive amounts of scaffolding braces, x braces or other types of braces between the structure and the inside of scaffolding where the worker is facing the structure, this needs to be open for the worker to apply the cement to the panel walls or workers to perform a given task on the TridiPanel wall system.
C.) When setting steel frames or setting posts for ledgers on a soft ground, secure the scaffold in place with a base plate under the post or scaffold leg to stop the post or leg from sinking into the ground, when weight is applied or placed on the scaffold.
D.) Place scaffolding gates or guardrails around the outside perimeters of your scaffolding to prevent workers from falling. Check all scaffold planks to make sure they are safe. Ask your workers if they are afraid of heights, if so find another task for them, do not put them on the scaffolding.
SCAFFOLDING PLANKS & WALK BOARDS:
E.) If you purchase scaffold planks, invest in the best. If you choose to buy lumber and create your own, be cognizant of the following; avoid spans of over 12 ft in length. Inspect the lumber, no knots or imperfections, the seasoned wood planks become stronger with age. Inspect your planks before setting them in place, protect your workers, think safety first. TridiPanel wall scaffold planks are commonly built using 12 ft length planks, we also use 6 ft planks in small rooms.
As you may know new construction and travel are to be expected. Fortunately, I have traveled the world building new projects due to the demand to build with SCIP.
During this time, a few years back, while building a SCIP structure in South America, in the country of Belize, my temporary home was at a small local resort. As luck would have it, just outside my window, was the view of an ongoing construction site, with an interesting interpretation of scaffolding.
I was intrigued, so in passing, I spoke with the workers each day as they were applying the finish coat of cement over the block walls. The scope of their understanding of scaffolding, had no value on their time or safety. I have encountered these hazards to safety, cost, and productivity, repeatedly on many structures across the world. I hope to demonstrate scaffolding with best practices in safety, cost, and quality of work.
This project in East Asia where the labor is inexpensive, the contractor or subcontractor didn’t care or didn’t know how to set or build scaffolding. Try to avoid the idea to stand on whatever you can to gain height.
Simply stated, that it is not difficult to do things correctly, and in a safe manner, with the proper tools you will save time and cost. You will increase productivity, If you plan ahead where you will need scaffolding, which is usually a hidden cost on many projects with the SCIP Building System.
In this featured image, taken during a project in the middle east, there is no proper scaffolding. The SCIP panels are from China. There were no basic tools, like ladders, etc. The plank is resting on the same three chairs that the owners sat on during their lunch break. With no other option available to us, we used the chairs to set the scaffold planks on while setting the braces to the SCIP wall panels.
In the pages that follow, are images from the many projects that I have built using scaffolding, with a brief description.
Bamboo Scaffolding with twelve workers, handing up one small tray of cement, one at a time, hand to hand. This type of scaffolding is common with cheap labor across the world. With no skill given on how to perform the task better, quicker, easier, or more cost effective. A rope and bucket or pulley would achieve tremendous improvements. No business professional intentionally chooses not to streamline processes, but rather they are in business to make a profit, provide safety to their employees, and create a structure that is professionally constructed. All it takes is a little pre-planning on your scaffolding, to avoid these simple mistakes.
In awe, I have read many articles on building bamboo scaffolding, with the use of bamboo. I have learned that it is a trade taught and handed down from father to son in many countries. The scaffolding is amazingly strong. I have witnessed the use of bamboo scaffolding on high-rise structures, the scaffold builders are very professional and know their trades. The above image is an example of a bamboo structure which demonstrates a rare skill.
There are 3 different types of scaffolding; supported, suspended, and rolling. A stable scaffold base is square and level, and a safe foundation for you to stand on. OSHA.gov has an intuitive website for general requirements and standards, and the Internet has a vast understanding of the many educational tools available to further your understanding of scaffolding.
This quick reference guide is recommended as an overview, and is specific to fabricated frame scaffolds that I have built, on projects with structural concrete insulated panels, SCIP. The above photo displays three different sizes of folding A-Frames, commonly used in foot scaffolding. The frame to the left side is called a 6 ft A-Frame. It also has a bar welded at 5 feet, another welded at 4 feet, and another at 3 feet. The A-frame to the right is called a 4 footer. And to the right of the 4 footer is a 3 footer. The 4 footer and 3 footer also have bars welded at 3 feet and 2 feet. These same frames can be made of wood, and door hinges, that will open and close the frames, with a rope at the bottom in place of a chain. 1 inch by 4 inch lumber, or 1 inch by 6 inch lumber will work for your lumber. Again, there are safety codes for this recommendation available for your specific use. My best results have been to keep wood frames lightweight, and strong. I prefer this because it is versatile, economical for reuse, and easy to use. We set up and breakdown for each job. If you make your own a-frame foot scaffold, sets of these A-frames are loaded on a truck and transported with the crew along with the proper scaffold planks to perform daily work.
In this example the TridPanels have been erected, and the wire mesh has been connected.
We are using 4 ft A-frames. Preparing to apply the ready to spray Portland cement. The scaffolding planks are set off the ground. The scaffold setter will never lay a plank on the ground, because it is extra work to bend over to take it off the ground. Instead, he may move several hundred planks each day. The planks are wet, with wet cement on them, and this adds weight to the planks making them very heavy. So the worker will stack the planks on an A-frame, as shown in this photo. We are protecting the concrete slab floor, by using visqueen plastic and construction red tape, also applied over the windows.
Cheater bars are not OSHA approved or safe. For myself, I have used cheater bars on the perimeter scaffolding in this image of the 6.8 ft A-Frames.
A cheater bar clipped on to the pins which the straight braces or x-braces attach to. This bar can increase height without changing and resetting the entire scaffolding.
In this image, the nozzle man’s head and the correct height. The scaffolding is set so the nozzle man can reach the bottom side of the roof.
The workers behind him will have no problem leveling the Portland cement. This scaffolding has been placed around this entire SCIP home. This enables the crew to do perfect work and finish quickly saving on labor cost. The scaffolding is a hidden expense but will pay for itself when properly used.
One worker is spreading cement off foot scaffolding. The technician on the right side holding the darby hand float tool is positioned closer for leveling the cement.
The scaffolding needs to be the proper distance off the wall or it becomes extremely difficult to pull or move the Portland cement. Note the proper height to the building.
Over the years, I have devised scaffolding techniques while building with concrete wall panels, and I train the crew based on the workflow, to streamline our processes, and create a safe work space.
The Portland cement crews each have one “Scaffold Setter” (as shown above) who anticipates the direction the crews will be working. He sets the foot scaffold ahead so the crew does not lose time. When that given area is finished, he will then move the foot scaffold ahead, and repeat. He also moves the two wet heavy 12 ft long scaffold planks. And cleans up after the Portland cement crew.
This valued position streamlines our processes, because it saves time by being one step ahead of the workflow, which improves the overall job safety, with defined placement and timing.
Steel scaffolding, frames that are prefabricated can be purchased and used on different types of structures. This type of scaffolding would depend on its use for the SCIP Building System. I recommend the walk through frames, with the width of 3 ft. frames, and the 5 ft. wide frame.
These walk through frames are used for masonry, block or brick use. They come in various heights, however in SCIP construction we use heights starting at 2 ft. through 4 ft. The standard height is 6 ft /8. The smaller frames are used as height adjustments and normally go under the 6 ft /8 frames. There is a walk-through arch scaffold frame that is 10 ft /8 that is used for two story structures. There are adjustable legs which fit into the bottom of the lowest frame. With these legs you can add approximately 1 ft. plus to the height, by adding 6 ft. of height for the worker, improving arm’s length, while building a 2 story home. When selecting between wood frames or steel frames I used what was available, now online shopping opens up a variety of options. Most of these photos were taken in the U.S.A. State of California the southern part of the state where cement and stucco homes are common.
There is an abundance of Scaffold sub categories with ready to ship accessories available to assist in safety, productivity, and time saving costs. Scaffold leveling legs, allow you to adjust the platform height of the entire structure.
They are adjustable, and you can use wheels, or an extension leg with base plates depending on the ground. This subcategory falls under; scaffold jacks, bases, and wheels. I use the 2 ft high folding A-Frames/ Trestle to slightly adjust the height, the open trestles allow Installation of scaffold planks on the rungs. OSHA, has guidelines for safety and guardrails. I set the guardrails on top, and outside the edge of the scaffold frames. Then a straight bar or rail will be attached to act as a safety rail to keep workers from falling.
Scaffold planks are the most critical aspect to safety and setting your scaffolding, because it carries your workers. In SCIP construction I tend to use 12 ft. in length.
The frames are set 10 ft. apart. The scaffold planks will overlap 1 ft. in each direction. Typically we have an assortment of shorter planks that we use in special areas. For example, small rooms. You can choose between these available planks; wood planks, metal planks, composite planks, fabricated decks, or fabricated platforms. I tend more towards wood because these planks are very strong, they can be used in different size bays by lapping end, I will cut the length I need, we work in heat so I like that the material doesn’t get hot when there is a rise in temperature. I especially like scaffold planks that are seasoned, with inner surfaces sealed and a screw locking pin has been inserted through form end to end, which I have found keeps the planks from splitting at the ends, this to me improves the strength to weight ratio, addressing safety and cost because it sustains overtime. The type I use most in SCIP construction are wood planks which are approximately 2” thick and approximately 10” wide.
I use cross braces, sometimes called straight braces, for both my standard arched scaffolding, and my walk-through towers, to prevent stacked frames from sliding, this ensures a safer scaffolding platform. Scaffold straight braces, and x-braces should fit easily if the scaffold has been laid out level and square.
The straight braces I commonly use are 10 ft in length and help keep the frames 10 ft apart. The x-braces help add strength by stiffening and holding the scaffold ridge. Typically we install the x-braces on the exterior side of the structure away from the wall or surface. Also the x-braces only have to be placed on every other set of frames. It is very important to keep SCIP wall bracing on an even layout preventing it from interfering with your scaffolding. Recommendation is to place all x- braces on the outside of your scaffolding to make the structure surface easy to work on eliminating the necessity for the worker to reach and work through the x-braces.
Here is the layout of what I typically use; 2 straight braces that are 10 ft. in length. Also an image of an x-brace when opened correctly. 2 10 ft. scaffold legs with wooden pads under the bottom legs. 2 rail poles which will then be set to help prevent a worker from falling. 2 10 ft. straight braces, 2 scaffold legs, with 1 ft. square boards to place under the legs when and where necessary. The legs are adjustable by placing pins through the holes and through the legs.
Pins, locks and clips are what keeps scaffolding together. At the top of the photo, are two posts which fit over the ends at the top of the frames, intended to be used where safety rails are fastened to prevent workers from falling.
A pulley is used to hoist materials up and down and it is equipped with a brake to prevent slippage.
It is positioned as a post or bracket that can be supported off of your scaffolding.A pulley also assists in meeting safety regulations because workers are not standing below any suspended loads. It is inexpensive and because it saves time with work efficiency, as a post or bracket that can be supported off of your scaffolding, you save on labor costs. Especially for items that are required to be raised, this tool allows you to move items from ground level, up many floors quickly.
When engineering the scaffolding for this, Multi Family Residential, we used 10 ft 8 in. frames to build a 2-Story tower with the ability to walk through the scaffold arches. Understanding the scope of work for this project was the premise by which the scaffolding was erected, giving attention to detail in time management and safety , we needed to have unlimited versatility set up for this high production project, and spraying the Portland cement.
There are legs at the bottom and x-braces on every other set of frames with straight braces between with very few braces set against the wall surface. This 2-story tower scaffolding frame is set around the entire building structure, so it is set on all four sides of the building, including low areas at the front of the unit using A-Frame foot scaffold.
The 25 units in one building must be completed at the same time. A high production crew may spray cement on ten structures in one day, which is why this type of engineered scaffolding saves time and money. When the scaffolding is set up properly, the workers perform as if they are on ground level, increasing production time, by not being slowed down because they are working off the ground.
The nozzle man and hose puller are working in front of him, this crew starts at the top or highest point and works down to the ground level. This workflow is also the guide in which to measure the set up for scaffolding top down, when you reach ground level you can bend under, duck under, or crawl. You become nimble, increasing productivity to complete your work, as it is not necessary to be on the scaffold.
As you can see, the worker on the scaffolding that is dragging the rod or darby across the Portland cement, has no obstructions between him and the wall he is working on, increasing productivity, safety, and quality of work.
Now the entire crew works together on the finish coat of the structure. The foot scaffold has an extra 4-ft A-frames at the lower portions in the front of the structure, with walk-through frames on the other three sides.
Engineering scaffolding for a raised 20 ft high inverted roof which was also the finished ceiling inside the main living area in the home. The project in Hawaii, the “Hi’ilani Eco House” created many unique challenges that our team encountered. We had to place shoring to support the 20 ft high raised inverted roof.
The approximate length is 100 ft by 32 ft W, a plan was engineered where the four inch by four inch shoring posts used to support the SCIP panel roof and roof beams could also be used as scaffold supports. The post we set on a given layout, has ledgers placed against the bottom side of the roof as roof supports, which was measured down approximately 76” where ledgers were placed a second time to support scaffold planks allowing two inches for plank thickness.
The ledgers were two inches by eight inches, with lumber placed on the edge and nailed to the four by four post, which is parallel to the bottom of the SCIP roof panels. Renting metal screw jacks at “Fifty dollars” each rather than purchasing the four by four post for half the cost, solved the problem and also provided both shoring and excellent scaffolding. The scaffold planks were rented from a local contractor for ten months. We also rented other scaffolding accessories from the locals, for this project. The local contractor assisted on this project, and this added tremendous value to this project, and created life long connections. Employing local labor cuts costs, improves your network, and it is a benefit for the local economy. This type of planning ahead, by engineering scaffolding for an out of state job, is best practices for any SCIP building system, hiring local labor you can trust, renting not buying, and building your network has lasting benefits.
This high level of difficulty appears simple, with this SCIP panel crew, the experienced Hadrian TridiPanel Systems team is spraying the bottom side of the SCIP roof system. Safety first for this crew who is extremely proficient at spraying Portland cement, the scaffolding is set at exactly the proper height, with the man holding the long rod who has to shave and pull and cut the excess Portland cement off the bottom side of the roof. If he is too low, he cannot perform this task. Scaffolding stance for the man with the trowel must be at this level because he has to be able to work the cement also. And the nozzle man has to have the correct pattern.
Notice that the scaffold planks are all the same distance apart, with the two finishers who are in constant movement and are both looking up not down. All of the planks are lapped in the same direction, which is paramount because the crew feels for the planks with their feet as they look up. The layout of the planks are fitted within the entire room, it is a scaffold floor. Planning for the build up of Portland cement on the scaffold planks which will be removed with a floor scraper after the crew is finished shooting the Portland cement. In this scenario, if you follow the same layout, you can build a solid safe scaffolding environment.
There are many types of mechanical lifts or mobile platforms available, and knowing the skill set of your workers should determine whether or not a mechanical lift will improve productivity, and keep you at budget.
Each project is different, so review your options for using such equipment, do you have the proper personnel, could you create damage, are you covered with the proper insurances etc? My preference is not using cement products, while using different types of power lifts, because the platform or work area is extremely small, this relates to the area of wall surface or ceiling or roof surface you can apply the cement product at a given time, the cement needs to set before being leveled and floated, if you had the correct project with no finishes a lift may possibly work. There is also the issue of keeping the equipment clean, it’s very difficult. When installing SCIP panels, there are many projects where a power lift may be of great help on the SCIP panel installation as each project is different. Something to consider, is that if you need a scaffolding to place the Portland cement this may be more productive than some type of mechanical lift, in which case you don’t need both.
A large boom lift being used by the shotcrete crew in Palm Springs, California USA. With this equipment the distance from the wall being shot due to the high velocity of this shotcrete rig, is highly recommended, if using this shotcrete method, you can see the steel frames and scaffolding to the right and slightly under the boom, this building was completely re-scaffolded after the shotcrete for the finish crew to perform their work.
The owner of this commercial building was pleased with the results, and the parking lot quickly filled with customers. All of the structures shown in this project were built using the TridiPanel, SCIP systems, several different types of equipment were used to apply Portland cement based
products, all structures were set with steel stand up frames 6 ft. x 8 in., with 3 ft. wide frames and wooden 12 ft long planks along with the necessary miscellaneous A- frames or foot scaffold previously discussed.
Pole scaffolds are a type of supported scaffold in which every structural component, from uprights to braces to platforms, is made of wood. The scaffold was designed for its simplicity to erect and install panels, and also for the ease of spraying Portland cement to the walls surface of the structure. The scaffold was used for speed and high production projects, for example Multi-Family, usually track housing projects. Some of the key differences are; that there are no braces on the inside of the scaffolding.
Also, the nozzle man and Portland cement crew, which consists of 10 to 12 men are able to spray high amounts of cement very quickly and on a daily basis. This will streamline the process and save on the cost of operation. The 4 in. by 4 in. wood post had a 4 in.-plus, rectangle metal sleeve which with a function to slide up and down the post and be set in a straight line. A metal bar was welded to the 4 in.- plus sleeve, and this bar would fasten to the SCIP wall panels while being set in a level line.
The scaffold planks would then be placed on top of the bar, and a small amount of Portland cement was then placed by hand around the wire mesh and scaffold bar connection, this system worked quite well.
This quick reference guide which includes real-time images, and step by step building examples demonstrate the do’s and don’ts of scaffolding, as it applies to SCIP, and the Tridi-Panel Building System, planning and erecting proper scaffolding while working with Portland cement. The demand to build a sustainable structure is quickly becoming the new normal, and the frequently asked questions about my building experience with concrete, and SCIP is also what I have based this scaffolding guide about.
Hopefully you can learn from my years of experience with easy to follow guidelines and suggestions to streamline scaffolding, resulting in improved productivity and on site safety, while achieving excellent quality of work. These techniques should assist in areas where you can potentially cut costs, so that you can increase earnings and revenue.
There are many manufacturers of scaffolding, if you are going to build SCIP structures take the necessary time and consider purchasing the best scaffold specific to your project. If you are a one time builder of a SCIP structure consider renting your scaffold from a professional scaffolding company. You can always inquire about your scaffolding, or SCIP projects, I am here to encourage you with your interest in concrete wall panels, SCIP and any future DIY projects.