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Does scaffolding design and calculation require for all scaffoldings ?


Whether  scaffolding design and calculation require for all scaffolding arrangements ? It is quite normal  that confusion sometimes  arises. I hope this blog about scaffolding design gives some light into this subject. To be more professional , it is always advisable to have scaffold design and load calculation for all scaffolding arrangements. This is true irrespective of the size of the scaffold to install or the nature of the job to complete. The scaffolding design shall be unique for the workplace and right for the job.

In addition to the above, look to the specific legal requirements in your area that says about the requirement of  scaffolding design. The ultimate guidance to decide whether you need a design for the scaffolding is to consider what your customer wants. If your customer insists on a design, in most cases you’ll have no choice but to provide one. Major  contractors won’t allow to erect scaffoldings on their site without a design. If you need more advise on this subject, contact a reputed scaffolding contractor.

Benefits of Scaffolding Design and Calculation

The following are the three major benefits resulting from scaffolding design and load calculation

  • Safety : If we erect the scaffolding as per the design, the scaffolding will be stable with safe access. This enables the employees  to use the scaffolding safely. The employees will feel confident to use the scaffolding. Thus, effective scaffolding design definitely, eliminate safety risk.
  • Productivity : The assembly and dismantling of well-designed scaffolding structure can be faster. This increases the productivity and so helps for hassle-free completion of job on time.
  • Reduced cost :  Repeating and Re-working of  scaffolding can be costly and delay the projects. Effective scaffolding design reduces the risk of re-work by accounting for all project needs and requirements  from the very start. Also, this will avoid a lot of unbearable legal costs of accidents arising due to poor planning of scaffolding erection.

Steps while  Planning Scaffolding Design

1.  Collection of  relevant information :

At the beginning of the planning stage itself , the  user shall provide the following information to the designer. This helps to ensure the proper design process and bespoke calculation. It also helps  to ensure the scaffolding design is safe and adequate for the intended use.

These information usually include

  • The location of scaffold installation.
  • The nature and condition of  ground beneath the scaffold.
  • Information about  the building or structure against which the scaffold has to be erected, preferably with any relevant drawings or dimensions.
  • The intended use of the scaffold including the time period of scaffolding requirement.
  • The size of the scaffolding required by height, width and depth & number of boarded lifts.
  • The maximum number of workers allowed to use the scaffold at one time . Also, the  maximum direct loads supposed to impose on the scaffold.
  • How the scaffold will be accessed (for example: external ladders, staircase ).
  • Whether the scaffold has any other specific requirements like sheeting, brick guard or netting .
  • Any specific requirements or provisions in place like pedestrian walkway, provision for hoisting or mechanical lifting….etc
  • Any other additional  Information regarding restrictions which could affect the erection, alteration or dismantling processes..etc

 2.  Bespoke Calculation and Design Drawing  :

Scaffolding design work require the help of  professional expertise in the field. After the careful consideration of all above criteria, the designer take the correct  design approaches to have bespoke calculation. Whatever, the following are the basic requirements we have to take into into account for scaffold design and calculation.

  • An assessment of the loading conditions and combinations on the structure (Like dead load, live load, wind Load, etc.).
  • A check on the capacities of the scaffolding components used  to sustain the loads and combinations of loads imposed upon them.
  • The rigidity and overall stability of the scaffold structure, ensuring the adequate factors of safety.
  • The loads imparted by the scaffold into foundations / adjacent structures.

After the completion of scaffolding design work , the designer will produce  the design calculation and design drawings. The  design includes all details like maximum bay length and lifts heights, safe working load of the scaffolding , maximum leg load…etc

The  criteria of  legal requirements of design varies  in each country.  So, it’s mandatory to carry out scaffolding design and load calculation to comply with legal requirements in your area .  For example, consider  we are talking about the needs of   design for scaffolding in UAE . In that case, we have to take into consideration  the scaffolding legal requirements in UAE. The detailed explanation of legal requirements is out of the scope of this blog. However, we have included basic guidance of it.

If you are in United Kingdom, the following is the general scaffolding design requirements.

‘’It is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 that unless a scaffold is assembled to a generally recognised standard configuration, eg NASC Technical Guidance TG20 for tube and fitting scaffolds or similar guidance from manufacturers of system scaffolds, the scaffold should be designed by bespoke calculation, by a competent person, to ensure it will have adequate strength, rigidity and stability while it is erected, used and dismantled”.  Read more at the websitehttps://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/scaffoldinginfo.htm”

If you are in USA, visit “https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/osha3150.pdf “  to read the local guide on this subject.


In short, it is advisable to have scaffolding design and calculation as per the legal requirements in your area. After all, it is preferable to have it even if it is not required legally.

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