If you intend working on anything above head height, you need to hire scaffolding. Also, if you’re spending more than about 30 minutes on a leaning ladder or even on a step ladder, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states you should do a risk assessment. Then, find an alternative platform to work from. In other words, scaffolding.
Usually, it’s not practical to buy your own so we usually hire it. The average cost of scaffolding hire per m2 works out at about £15 to £20 per m2.
Of course, you may not need built-to-order scaffolding. If it’s just one person needing a platform at one location, you can always hire a scaffold tower. Generally, you hire these from a local tool hire shop, erect them yourself, and move the tower about on wheels. The cost to hire an 8m high tower will be between £200 and £250 per week or hire the scaffold at a cost per day of £30. All prices are exclusive of VAT.
How Much Does Scaffolding Cost?
Scaffolding, whether you hire a scaffold tower or have it built in-situ, is very important when ‘working at height’. The HSE issues guidance on whether to use ladders or scaffolding. Although ladders are convenient and very portable, they aren’t very stable to work from. Also, your feet will suffer considerably after an hour or two standing on ladder rungs. Furthermore, you also need at least three points of contact on a ladder, meaning you have to work one–handed. Not always practical!
Scaffolding Price List
|Scaffolding Task||Hire Cost (per week)|
|Chimney & roofing||£60 per day to £450 per week|
|Guttering tasks||£350 to £500|
|Converting a loft||£400 to £600|
|3 bedroom house||£900 to £1200|
|Conservatory||£450 to £1000|
|Roof covering||£100 per m2|
All these tasks will vary depending on your requirements and the factors we discussed. So, it’s very difficult to determine an accurate cost. You must ask for a real quotation from a specialist company to have an accurate figure.
Let’s take a quick look at the meaning of each of these tasks.
Chimney & roofing scaffolding
This scaffold fits over the ridge of the house and surrounds the chimney. It provides a working platform for tradesmen to repoint or rebuild a chimney.
Guttering tasks scaffolding
If you’re replacing fascias, guttering or roof tiles, you need access to the complete width of the house at gutter level.
Scaffolding for a loft conversion
This is probably the most common use for scaffolding. You need access to the roof exterior to remove and replace tiles, alter structural roof timbers, construct lead flashing and lay new roofing felt.
Scaffolding 3-bedroom house
If you intend painting your property you’ll need access to every part of it. Have as many ‘lifts’ as needed to cope with the height and access the full width of each wall.
Scaffolding around Conservatory
A conservatory roof is notoriously fragile and won’t support much weight. So, if you need to do any maintenance work above a conservatory you need a bridge so everything is accessible.
Roof cover access
If the workplace needs protection from rain, dust or sunshine you must have a cover. The scaffold can be fully enclosed or only the roof if needed. You can also have a safety net fitted to prevent falling items from damaging property or people below.
The price of any scaffolding will vary and depend on many factors. So, you’ll need to consider these before definitely placing an order.
You certainly don’t want scaffolding to collapse when someone is working at the top. So, you have to ensure that there are appropriate foundations for the scaffolding. Usually, scaffold towers have lockable wheels so they’re easy to move. But, they’re often used in back gardens on soft ground. If so, these towers use footplates (square plywood boards) to spread the load on the feet. They also use outrigger legs to prevent toppling. Large scale scaffolding, however, supports a lot of weight and also needs footplates to spread the load. These don’t use wheels as only a qualified scaffolder can move them.
The number of lifts – If you’re working on all the windows of a multi–storey building, you’ll need to allow a person to stand at the correct height for each window. So, you must choose the number of lifts and have them placed wherever you need them. However, don’t have them closer than the average height of a person.
Size and height – The overall height and width of scaffolding depend on the size of the area you need to access.
Access – While the scaffold is in place, you have to allow normal access at ground level, especially if the scaffold is on public lands such as a footpath, or road. The scaffolding design gives the required head height and access points. You also need access points for ladders from the ground to the working platform. Finally, you must prevent members of the public from accessing the scaffold when no-one is around.
Permits – You’ll need a permit from the local authority if any part of the scaffold stands on or overhangs public land such as a footpath or road. You’ll also need suitable markers and lights to warn members of the public of an obstruction.
Geographical location – Scaffolding on level ground will be of a different configuration to scaffolding on a slope. Similarly, the scaffolder must take into account the type of ground everything stands on and the prevailing wind.
Bridging – Sometimes the scaffolding has to bridge footpaths, driveways, conservatories or roofs. The design will consider this.
Quantity and quality – There are different quality components for use when the scaffold design calls for it.
Modern scaffolding in the UK consists of three basic parts.
- Tubes are made from steel or aluminium and come in standard lengths. Alternatively, they can be cut to the required length necessary for the task.
- Couplers are clamps of different sizes and configurations. They’re used to join the tubes together into the framework you require.
- Boards. These rest on top of the tubular framework and clamp in place to prevent movement. They provide the working platform. And, come in different thicknesses depending on the load to be supported.
The components together make the framework, platforms, guardrails and toeboards.
Scaffold Rental & Hire Times
Scaffolding isn’t just rented by the square metre or linear metre, it’s also rented by time as well.
Most scaffolding companies will only hire their equipment for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. However, there are some around that will hire for short term projects.
The total scaffolding rental costs comprise a cost for the number of equipment components (tubes, boards, couplers etc), setting up and dismantling cost, plus a set amount for the length of hire.
You must also consider if the project runs overtime. Most construction projects have a timeline to work to. But, it’s also true that the work rarely conforms to the timeline. This means you’ll need the scaffolding for longer than expected. Agree with the scaffolding company how you intend paying for extra time on top of the original monthly hire. And, if you can, only pay for extra days or by the week. Not by the month.
Builders have been using scaffolding for thousands of years. The ancients couldn’t have built those spectacular buildings and arenas in the time of ancient Rome, Greece, India and Egypt without it. But, they would have used wood and rope in place of metal tubes.
Modern scaffolding, as we know it, began in1913 when David Palmer-Jones invented the first coupler, effectively doing away with rope. By 1944 scaffolding used lightweight aluminium and steel tubes. Today, scaffolding hasn’t really changed since then except for some modern tweaks in technology.
Do I need permission to erect scaffolding?
Scaffolding is very dangerous if not used and constructed properly. Not only does the user need heavily regulated permits issued by the local authority, but also must comply with Work at Height regulations.
It doesn’t matter how high the scaffold reaches. It must provide a safe and stable working platform at all times. If there’s a risk of falling, then the situation comes under these regulations. All the couplers, tubes and boards must be made to stringent specifications and regularly inspected for damage. A criminal law court handles any breach of the standards and regulations with severe punishments.
The scaffolding permit obtained from the local authority ensures that a competent person has carried out a risk assessment of the proposed work and how it affects the scaffolder, the builder, and the general public. A competent person assesses hazards and mitigates them according to the law. The regulations allow only a competent person to build the framework using approved and tested materials. Only competent people can use the scaffolding and must plan and organise all work at height. Where possible, people should avoid all work a height. But, if they can’t then it‘s regulated.
Scaffolding Hire Cost FAQs
How do you calculate scaffolding requirements?
To calculate how much scaffolding you need for any specific job, use the following instructions.
- Measure the overall length of the wall that needs scaffolding.
- Measure the maximum height you need to access.
- Choose a suitable scaffolding size. You rent most commercial scaffolding in collapsible rectangular modules of various sizes and shapes. The type you choose will depend on your requirements.
- Divide the overall length by the length of a single section. This calculates the total number of scaffolding columns you need.
- Divide the overall height by the height of an individual section. This calculates the total number of rows you need.
- Multiply the number of rows by the number of columns. You have now calculated the total number of scaffold sections needed.
- Multiply the number of scaffold sections by the company’s price per day. This gives you the total price to rent the scaffolding per day.
- If you know the expected project duration, multiply this by the total price per day. This gives you a rough estimate of the total cost, to be confirmed later by a quotation from the scaffolder.
What are the benefits of scaffolding?
- Scaffolding allows the workforce to reach above arm’s length so they can tackle high walls and ceilings without using an unstable ladder.
- The worker feels comfortable doing the construction work while on a stable and safe working platform.
- Not only does the worker feel safer, but they’re also able to work better and more safely. Compare this with working from a ladder.
- Scaffolding increases productivity.
- If you use a ladder you must continually stop and move the ladder to access another place. The scaffolding gives access to all necessary locations.
Do you need fall protection on scaffolding?
Yes. However, there are two separate situations when dealing with scaffolding and each one needs different precautions.
- Erecting and dismantling scaffolding. The scaffolder must use specialised tools and equipment such as lanyards and harnesses together with safe methods of work when erecting or dismantling scaffolding. You can find information on the Health & Safety Executive’s website or by visiting the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation website.
- Using scaffolding. When someone uses scaffolding in the course of their work, you must have fall protection available. There are two types of fall protection. ‘Collective protection’ is equipment that’s in place and doesn’t need to be actively used by the person working at height to be effective. Examples include guardrails, toeboards, scissor lifts and tower scaffolds. ‘Personal protection’ is equipment that needs to be actively used to be effective. For example, a safety harness and lanyard must be worn correctly and connected to a suitable anchor point to be effective. It must be plain from this that ‘collective’ protection is preferable if possible.
What is the maximum load for a scaffold?
This depends on the type of scaffold in use and its purpose.
- Light-duty scaffolding can support a maximum of 225kg on each scaffold section. This type needs a width of at least two planks (450mm).
- Medium-duty scaffolding supports a maximum of 450kg on each scaffolding section. This type needs a minimum width of four planks (900mm).
- Heavy-duty scaffolding supports a maximum of 675kg on each scaffolding section. This type needs a width of at least five planks (1m).
What is the maximum height for scaffolding?
If the scaffolding is tied to a solid structure such as a building, it can go as high as the building. Bear in mind that someone must design each configuration and take into account its inherent stability. That means the base area, the slope and stability of the ground, prevailing winds and their strength. In practice, scaffolding rarely reaches higher than 100m, and it has to be made from a material that supports its own weight.
Can I erect my own scaffolding?
You can if you’ve had the appropriate training and experience. Otherwise, you must use someone who has that training. A competent and qualified scaffolder must hold a valid Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme Card (CISRS). This is the qualification preferred by the Health & Safety Executive and all other major construction organisations. If you aren’t sure if the person erecting your scaffolding is qualified, CISRS provide an online card checker so you can find out if the scaffolder is currently a member.
Find a qualified scaffolder
Scaffolding is a project expense that you might think doesn’t give you a return on your investment. However, you’d be wrong. Not only does it speed up working at height, thus giving higher productivity. It’s also a legal requirement and you can be prosecuted if you don’t use a suitable scaffolding erected by a qualified person. Always seek advice from a qualified scaffolding company when you need help working at height.
To find out the average cost of scaffolding hire in your area, fill out the form at the top of this page. We’ll connect you with 3-4 background-checked professionals local to you.