Scaffold based upon greenwood poles

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Scaffold based upon greenwood poles

Postby PhilCoulth » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:52 am


I am trying to find out who has any experience of using greenwood poles for scaffolding. I am looking at roof restoration of my own property and can find little on the web about traditional scaffolding based on wood which was used for centuries.


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Re: Scaffold based upon greenwood poles

Postby Ken Hume » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:35 am

The rebuilding of Westminster Hall (circa 1395) with a new hammer beam roof required that a large internal wooden scaffold was built inside the old hall masonary walls using elm poles obtained from Stoke Park. Wood scaffolds are more common than most appreciate with bamboo scaffold still being quite common in the far east.

The language employed by scaffolders today e.g. like "putlog clips" is derived from the old wooden scaffold "put log" term.

The method for making and ensuring satisfactory joints between members using lashed joints is quite a specialist topic.

Scaffolds need to be designed and built by competent persons.

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Re: Scaffold based upon greenwood poles

Postby Kevin Downing » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:25 am

If you do the scaffold design and construction yourself then you will need an engineer (maybe Chartered) to sign off the design and sign off that it is fit for use. There will be a form to sign off every week as far as I remember that it has not deteriorated, GA3 form or equivalent. As Ken says they use bamboo in Hong Kong and they probably have a local Standard or Code of Practice. You could look up Code of Practice (CoP) or British Standard on or bsionline for scaffolding or falsework to get familiar with UK regs. An engineer will take longer to assess non standard materials such as poles in the round for scaffolding and hence cost more in design fees.
Be aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can come onto any site and examine a construction project and make the client liable for any repairs if it is found to be deficient in design or construction or use.
It would be worth looking up codes and standards to see what is involved in the design and work out what is most cost effective for you. You might offset an abundance of materials and free labour against design fees.
You may already be aware of some of the scaffolding features: uprights on solid ground or else footblocks; toe boards; handrails with specific heights and gaps between rails; ladders at 1 in 4; ladders to be tied; ladders to extend 1.2m or so past platforms for handholds; no access to scaffold out of work hours to prevent non authorised access; bracing; loading and concentrated loads on scaffolds; scaffold to be designed and built by competent persons. My list is not exhaustive as this is not my trade but I have had to become aware of some of the important features.
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