What Are Different Types of Scaffold?

Window washers on suspended scaffold.
Cantilever scaffolds are supported at only one end.
Scaffolding platforms allow workers to safely stand and walk on a structure.
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  • Written By: M. Dee Dubroff
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 10 April 2014
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Scaffold refers to a specific type of assembly structure, usually temporary in nature, used to support workers and materials while they build or repair a structure. Scaffolding involves sturdy connections of frames and planks by bolts and couplers, which come in many forms, depending on the size and shape of the desired framework. Some different kinds include the independent or birdcage; the single pole; the suspended, or swingstage; the cantilever; and the hanging bracket scaffold.

To insure safety, a scaffold should always be assembled in accordance with the designer's instructions and the specific plan. Any person doing scaffolding work more than 12 feet (about 3.7 meters) above ground must hold a training and competency certificate, in many cases. It can be hazardous to work on a scaffold. Apart from the obvious potential for falls, injuries and fatalities can also occur from working too close to power lines, mixing and matching components, structure collapse and falling objects.

When selecting a scaffold, the specified building's design, shape, and location should be considered. The assembly's ability to adapt to the structure's contours should also be taken into account, particularly if a modular form is being considered. Moreover, the purpose for which it will be used should be considered.


The independent or birdcage scaffold consists of more than two rows of vertical poles, or standards, connected by horizontal pieces, or ledgers and transoms. It is intended for use on one level only, like when working on a ceiling. The single pole scaffold contains a single row of standards, and is completely dependent upon the structure against which it is placed for support.

The suspended or swingstage scaffold can be either raised or lowered, as it has a suspended platform. These types are commonly associated with the types window washers. A cantilever scaffold is one which is attached or supported at one end only.

An engineer should design the hanging bracket scaffold and its means of support. A safe means of access and exit should be provided for persons installing this type. This system may include horizontal components that are supported by floors of buildings or other structures.

There are variations of many of the different kinds of scaffolds. Choosing the appropriate one for the job should be done with care, as a life could depend on it.


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Post 4

Types of scaffolds: putlog scaffold, birdcage scaffold, mobile tower, suspension scaffolds, supported scaffolds, scaffolds with prefabricated beams, hoist tower, cantilever scaffold, truss-out scaffold, pavement gantry, roof stack scaffold, roof saddle scaffold, raking shores, flying shores, two-way shores/dead shores, two-way shore, raking shore, slung scaffold, staircase scaffold.

Post 2

@jo78 - There are a lot of things to consider when using a scaffold and the checklist can literally go on for miles. For starters, here are a few things you should think about.

Is the scaffold:

-under 125 feet in height?

-within 14 inches of the work?

-constructed with planks that are properly secured?

-equipped with 38 inch guardrails?

These are the main points to consider as they are safety issues, but also be sure that someone who is competent is putting the scaffolding together in the first place.

Post 1

a safety check list for scaffolds?

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