On a roll with scaffold solution

CITY Access Scaffolding has used an innovative rolling scaffold technique on a recent large-scale project, leading to substantial savings in time, money and resources.

The Edinburgh-based firm, founded in 2014, was awarded the tender to provide all scaffolding on the site of the Capital’s new Boroughmuir High School by main contractor, O’Hare & McGovern.

The tender originally involved the construction of a birdcage scaffold in the school’s large atrium space, a centrepiece of the new site, to carry out works including the installation of roof trusses, plasterboard and lights.

However, it soon became apparent that the birdcage scaffolding would be an impractical option.

“Nobody ever thought about a rolling scaffold at that point; it came about when we were pricing for doing the birdcage. (We discovered) this was going to be an absolutely massive amount of weight, a massive amount of material and a massive amount of man hours in order to get up there just to do those works,” Mark Skinner, director of procedures and compliance at City Access Scaffolding, told Project Scotland.

“We started looking at other options from there.”

It was calculated that the traditional birdcage would require an estimated 13,000m3 of scaffold with a weight of over 56 tonnes, which would have taken up all of the space in the atrium, negatively impacting other works being carried out and potentially damaging the atrium floor.

Mark and director of operations, Jonathan Allan, consulted with their supplier about potentially running beams across the atrium and explored the idea of a moveable access scaffold. This concept evolved into the development of the rolling scaffold – the first of its kind in Scotland.

Kirsty Allan, head of business development, explained that the new rolling scaffold resulted in over 1,500 man-hours of work saved in the erection of the scaffold alone and a reduction of £60,000 to the cost of the project.

Other benefits included the transfer of weight to roof slabs instead of the atrium floor, increased ease of use and operation as the scaffold can be easily moved to the required work location by one worker and a reduction in the timescale of the scaffolding works from five weeks to four days.

Kirsty said, “We are very proud of this innovation and the huge impact it has had on the build time and on our client’s costs. Although we are a relatively new company, our leadership team have over 35 years’ experience in the sector, which they applied in order to develop this effective solution.

“It’s very rewarding to make such a contribution to the project, and we’re excited about the potential it has for use with other clients.”

Kirsty said that there has already been “a lot of interest” in using the rolling scaffold on other projects and they are already receiving recognition for it, having been shortlisted in the ‘Business Innovation of the Year’ category of the Construction News Specialist Awards 2017.

Project manager Mick Fearnon, of O’Hare & McGovern added, “The City Access Scaffolding team provided a very innovative design that had never crossed our minds, or indeed any other contractor that tendered for the project.

“The scaffold itself is safe and easy to use by all contractors on-site and has helped us to make considerable savings in cost and build time.”