How Long Can Scaffolding Be Left Up?

If you’re wondering how long can scaffolding be left up in the UK, we’ll explain all the important factors and everything you need to know about scaffolding duration in the UK. In this article, we’ll explain how long various types of scaffolding can be left up for, and what to look out for when checking the safety of your scaffolding for your workers.

There are several factors that you’ll need to take into consideration when it comes to the duration of your scaffolding: not simply the cost but planning permission, 7-day checks and more.

How long can scaffolding be left up for?

According to UK construction regulation, there are no official limits or minimum durations when it comes to putting scaffolding up or taking it down. However, when it comes to the security and safety of your scaffolding, there are a number of factors that you should take into consideration before embarking on any work or home repairs:

Adverse Weather Conditions

There are several risks that come with the construction of scaffolding, and while most of these risks can be minimised with strict adherence to Health and Safety regulations, adverse weather conditions render the possibility of risk incidents more likely. Wind, rain and snow can all impact the integrity of your scaffolding and impact the integrity of the work being undertaken. If you’re wondering how long can scaffolding be left up for in adverse weather conditions, there is no set limit on duration. However, you’ll want to take into consideration various options for weather-proofing your scaffolding. Adding a tin roof to your scaffolding can help minimise weather risks and increase the safety of the construction. However, tin roof scaffolding can be pricey, often adding a minimum of around £1000 to your overall costs. 

Public Places

When undertaking building work in a public place or large city, you’re likely to run into problems when wishing to erect scaffolding around a building. If your building is frequently passed by pedestrians or on the main road (requiring a roadblock) you might not be allowed to leave your scaffolding up for an extended period of time. If you’re going to be leaving scaffolding up for any significant length of time (one week or longer) you might run into public objection. You’ll first need to be granted permission from the local council if you’re erecting scaffolding in a public place, while some private buildings might require permission from surrounding neighbours. These external factors can influence how long scaffolding can stay up for, and you might end up with a shorter lease than you initially wanted. 

Cost

While some contractors will offer fixed price amounts when renting scaffolding, other contractors will request that you pay per day or per week. This is typically the only option available to you if you don’t know how long your construction work is going to take. However, pay-per-day scaffolding doesn’t come cheap, and you might be looking at around £40 to £150 a day. The longer your construction work, and the longer your scaffolding is left up, the more you will end up paying. It’s a good idea to know in advance how many days, weeks or months your work is going to take. Even though there are no limits on leaving scaffolding up, a lengthy project will put you out of pocket significantly. Don’t forget the cost of erecting and dismantling your scaffolding: this should always be included in the final cost or fixed price of your scaffolding hire.  

How long can scaffolding be left up in winter?

The integrity of your scaffolding might become compromised by high winds, heavy rain or even snow during the winter months. It’s therefore important to check your scaffolding every 7 days for any signs of wear and tear and to check for any visible safety issues.

When you’re working through the winter months, it’s also important to ensure that your workers are adequately protected from adverse weather conditions. Adding a tin hat roof can help weather-proof your scaffolding, especially if you’re working on longer projects. Tin hat scaffolding can help your scaffolding be more durable, so is ideal for longer projects. You can read more about tin hat scaffolding here.

How to check the safety of scaffolding?

When erecting scaffolding, you are legally obligated to perform the following checks to ensure that your scaffolding is safe, secure and ready to use:

Check before first-time use

Scaffolding construction can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks depending on the size of the building, the type of construction work being done and whether the building is in a central, public area (such as in London) or in a private, rural area. Before using your scaffolding for the first time, the scaffolding must be checked thoroughly for any construction errors. Scaffolding inspection should be carried out by a trained professional, whose skills and competencies have been first verified by CISRS check. Site managers or anyone experienced working with on-site scaffolding, could be deemed qualified to run an effective safety check before use.

Check every seven days

It’s important to check your scaffolding at a minimum every 7 days, and perhaps more frequently if your scaffolding is in a highly-frequented public and pedestrian area. These checks should be carried out by a trained professional or the site manager (if qualified). 

Check after damage or extreme weather

It’s essential to check scaffolding after any incident which could be deemed to have had a compromising impact on the safety of your scaffolding. This includes harsh winds, snow, disruption from pedestrians, storms, rain and trespass. When working on scaffolding, workers should also be trained to be wary of unusual noises, 

FAQs

Can scaffolding be used as a permanent structure? 

Scaffolding is typically considered reusable (semi-permanent), which means you can move and re-use it in several locations. 

Can my Neighbour stop me from putting up scaffolding? 

You are within your right to construct scaffolding on a building that you own (detached house), however, you might run into problems if your scaffolding imposes on your neighbour’s property. 

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