A day in the life of a Scaffolder

Posted over 1 year Ago

Scaffolders working hard and at height

Whether you’re interested in learning more about scaffolding as a career, or an experienced scaffolder looking to dive deeper into what it means to support people and projects in your area, it’s important to know what the reality is for scaffolders in the UK. On a day-to-day basis, your role at a job site could look a variety of different ways, but there are a few constants any scaffolder can expect to see at a standard job.

We’re going to walk through what an average day might look like through the eyes of a scaffolder, and in an effort to spice things up, we’re going to get honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of this incredible career path. So without further ado…

Rise before the sun.

More often than not, scaffolding crews are up early to get to a job site and get started. This isn’t always the case, but you should know that caffeine might be beneficial if you tend to struggle before 7 o’clock in the morning. You’ll gather at the job site with the rest of the crew and take some time to unload equipment - this includes most of the supplies you’ll be using that day or for that specific project.

Depending on the day, this can take a few minutes or a few hours. While the rest of the crew gets acclimated to their day, the chatter kicks in and makes it hard for anybody to stay tired - or crabby - for long.

Setting the crew up for success.

After everything is unloaded and everybody’s fully awake - because let’s face it, for some of us, it takes a while - you’ll use these pieces to create the base and set up the foundation of the project. Your training will include different approaches and strategies to use, but the most important thing is to mind the apprentices and trainees, they tend to stand in the way and not realise that they’re a liability - did we say that out loud? Once your set-up is complete, it’s time to move on to the tougher stuff.

Attach the scaffolding to…something.

Not all scaffolding projects are affixed to a traditional building. Some are more free-standing, some are attached to indoor objects like walls or stairwells, and some are attached to monuments or statues boasting weird (and sometimes difficult) shapes. This part of the project can sometimes involve a bit of creative thinking and improvising in order to maintain the safe practices.

Eat a monstrous meal.

Scaffolding is no walk in the park. Unless your walks in the park look like hour-long sprints with weight vests. Scaffolders work hard from start to finish on a job, and at some point during the project, you’ll break for some refuelling. This is when you should rehydrate, prioritise electrolytes, and consume enough protein and carbs to keep energy levels high. The last thing anybody needs is a hungry, dehydrated scaffolder on the job.

Incorporate safety measures for the job site.

When the next crew gets on the scene to work on the construction project, they’ll expect to be able to use their scaffoldings safely throughout their work. To set them up for success, scaffolders often incorporate netting, handrails, and extra holds to help make things easier and more safe. Not only do these measures keep insurance companies happy, they keep crews happy, too.

After everything is set up, secured, and safe for the next crew, scaffolding teams might gather to talk about any finishing touches needed, a plan or approach for tear-down, or a run-down of plans for the next day. Then, it’s time to go home, where you’ll probably indulge in some rest and relaxation before getting up to do it all over again.

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