The art of Scaffolding (and it is an art) has changed dramatically from it’s early beginnings with ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs and Egyptians to the mega structures we see in today’s modern high rise buildings and sky scrapers.
You could easily be fooled into thinking that scaffolding is a very modern technique used for construction and access purposes, however great wonders such as the Pyramids were all created using a “primitive” scaffolding technique. Indeed any temporary structures that are built to provide access, can be referred to as scaffold. Back in ancient times techniques were based on simple planking structures, but the fact is, it still worked and if you excuse the pun, it worked wonders.
Today’s Scaffold structures are pieced together using strong steel piping, but years ago, wood was the primary resource used (bamboo in countries like China – which is still used to this day in some areas).
The main problem with scaffolding methods as they progressed through the ages was the lack of standardisation and conformity between methods and materials. This ultimately meant that construction was more difficult when it came to working on large projects and safety was compromised through no rules or understanding of core concepts.
As we move swiftly forward through the ages, we find that in 1906, brothers Daniel Palmer-Jones and David Henry-Jones setup the Patent Rapid Scaffold Tie Company and eventually in 1919 brought into effect a set of fixings called the Scaffixer. Rather than relying on rope, these fixings used metal components to fix scaffold materials to one another, with a much greater bond than had been achieved before. This was improved further in 1922 when the company (now SGB Limited) began using water pipes as opposed to wooden poles. These innovations, although not unique their creation, brought about standardising the entire scaffolding industry. Scaffolding poles were now the same width, and the fixings were also designed in the same fashion. This meant that more complicated projects could be undertaken quicker, safer and better.
Steel poles lead to stronger structures that could be built much higher than ever before. With this new techniques such as diagonal bracing were struck upon that assisted in strengthening the access structures.
Now-days we have strict working regulations that continue to shape how the scaffolding industry operates and not only ensures that safety is paramount, but also that companies can collaborate and appropriate training can be given to those looking to join the industry. Although different countries use slightly different systems and standardisation, it’s clear to us that UK standards were and continue to be a world leader. At BDC Scaffolding, we’re glad to be in the position to help push forward this industry and aid the construction in and around East Anglia.
Thankfully, accidents are much fewer and farther between now than they ever were in the past. Safety is paramount to our business operation, both for our staff, our customers and those who might be affected by our access constructions.
If you’d like to discuss our services, please Get in touch today.
Image Credits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaffolding, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_National_Vimy_Memorial, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scaffolding_clamp_joint_connections_and_knots_Rome_-_3199.jpg