We recently spoke about scaffolding for heritage and listed buildings as it constitutes a large part of our scaffolding hire. Another large chunk of work we do is carried out on schools. Scaffolding and working in schools present several challenges that you would not find on commercial or residential work sites and we’ll discuss them here.
Scaffolding for Schools – Getting It Right
When engaging a scaffolding project for schools the first thing you must ensure is that you have the right type of personnel for the job. They need to be well presented and pass working with children checks. Providing scaffolding for schools is quite different to industrial scaffolding or residential scaffolding and all scaffold labour hire must be properly vetted and trained.
Scaffolding During School Holidays – School’s Not Out for Summer!
Gone are the days of school being out for summer as most scaffolding for schools is carried out during school holidays. These hours can often be long and unsociable with night shifts often coming into play to get maximum productivity in the short amount of time allocated. Stronghold Hire have a balance of permanent and casual staff, so we usually find it easy enough to find the scaffolders to work through these traditional holiday periods.
Deadlines and Planning
Sometimes the work required cannot wait until the holiday periods or is simply too much to be done within the timeframe. On these occasions where we scaffold occupied buildings, we need to work extremely close with the school staff and the client to ensure that the project runs smoothly. Deadlines, as always, must be met and when scaffolding in schools a great amount of planning goes into setting up diversions, drop zones, protected walkways, loading and storage areas so that there is minimum disruption to the normal school day. Daily pre-start meetings will be carried out to ensure everyone is on the same page and to remind everyone of their surroundings and responsibilities.
Safety When Scaffolding in Schools
The other crucial aspect is ensuring that the scaffolding environment in schools is safe. As we all know children can be very unpredictable and so access to scaffolds and working areas need to be fully secured and restricted. Some of the ways that we try to control and ensure safety are:
- Plywood Hoarding – We can attach plywood hoarding 2.4m high to the base of the scaffold to ensure that children cannot climb up the scaffold.
- Meshing – Mesh is attached to the inside of the scaffold to ensure that nothing can fall out from the scaffold such as tools or roof tiles for example.
- Lockable Gates – We can install lockable gates to the scaffold to stairs to stop unauthorized entry.
- Diversions – Diverting school children using physical barriers such as temporary fencing or bollards to keep children well away from work areas is the preferred choice.
- Overhead Protection – In the areas where a diversion is not practical, we can install overhead protection, certified by an engineer.
- Delivery Times / Materials Movement – We always try to plan delivery times and material movement outside of the normal school hours where there are no children, parents or staff present.
Seen, Not Heard
When working in the vicinity of children, the way that we present ourselves and communicate is of utmost importance. We also need to be aware of our noise levels as students need to concentrate, the way that we manage these levels is often difficult but can be controlled or minimised with careful planning.
Scaffolding for Schools – A Forte
We like to think that supplying scaffolds for schools is a bit of a forte for us, with successful projects of various sizes stretching from Camden to Newcastle. If you’d like to see how we can help you with an upcoming scaffolding project then give us a call now on 02 89852020 or contact us online for more info.