If you need repair or renovation work carrying out to the roof of your property, or anything involving working at height such as repointing or window renovation, chances are you’ll need to use scaffolding.

Not only does this make the job easier and quicker for those doing the work, it’s a lot safer than using ladders and could also be a legal requirement to help prevent injury or accident.

What they do

Scaffolders erect and dismantle the scaffolding that allows lots of different trades to carry out their work safely on the exterior of buildings. They are often the first people to get to work on larger home repair, restoration and renovation projects and the last to leave. Their work involves:

  • Working out how much scaffolding is needed
  • Creating a stable base on the ground for the scaffolding
  • Putting up scaffolding poles and attaching horizontal tubes
  • Fixing the scaffolding securely to a building
  • Laying planks for other workers to walk on and work from
  • Fixing guard rails and safety nets
  • Taking down and loading scaffolding when the work is complete

What they charge

Most scaffolding is hired, typically for between six and eight weeks depending on the time required. You’ll be quoted a fixed price for this period that will include erecting and removing it. Should the work you need it for run over (as it often does), you will normally need to then pay on a weekly basis. Things like height required and ease of access will be factored in to the quote. As with most things, London is the most expensive place in the UK to hire scaffolding.

Here are some example costs of hiring scaffolding:

  • Hire a vertical tower – £300
  • Hire scaffolding for a chimney repair – £700 – £900
  • Scaffold a typical semi-detached house to gutter height with lift and one walkway – £800 – £1000

What to ask

A few things you should ask your scaffolder before hiring them are:

  • Does the quote include everything?
  • Are they fully insured to cover employers’ liability, public liability and contract works?
  • How and when will they want to be paid? (cash up front is a very bad idea)
  • Does everyone who will be working hold a valid CISRS card? (The validity of a CISRS card can be confirmed by contacting their helpline on 0870 417 7223)
  • Who will inspect the scaffolding?
  • How will they meet regulatory requirements including that of those relating to permits and permissions as well as safety and inspection?

Trades to trust

The National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) is the national trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK. Not only do they produce a wide range of industry-recognised safety and technical guidance for scaffolding contractors, but strictly audit their members to ensure the highest possible standards are met.

The Scaffolding Association monitors standards of safety, technical quality and workforce skills in the scaffolding sector. They also protect standards through a competence-based independently verified accreditation scheme. Membership is an assurance of quality and shows an ability to carry out the safe design and installation of scaffolding systems.

The law

Stringent rules and regulation apply regarding all aspects of scaffolding. From quality of materials used to the size of those parts, these rules were brought in and and strictly monitored following a series of major accidents involving scaffolding.

The law requires that individual operatives be competent in scaffold erection, dismantling and alteration. The easiest way to prove competence as a scaffolder is to check they hold a Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) Card.

It’s also the responsibility of the builder or scaffolding company to get a licence for any scaffolding they put up on the highway (this includes the pavement). However, it’s up to you to check they have this legal document and that it doesn’t run out before the building work is finished.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different scaffolders to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references.