Whether you plan to hire scaffolding for DIY work on the outside of your house or as part of work performed by hired contractors, the following article will help you by breaking down the costs involved.
Our cost guide will also look at how long it takes to hire and erect scaffolding, the pros and cons of different types of scaffolding, what hiring scaffolding involves and any potential problems that could arise in the process.
This article will prove particularly useful if you need scaffolding soon or think you will require it at some point in the future. Scaffolding is a temporary construction used as an elevated platform for various work ranging from building construction to repair to cleaning. Not only does it provide functionality by offering easy access to parts of a building that are at a height, but it also, of course, improves safety.
Any work that takes place at more than four feet off the ground should involve the use of scaffolding. It’s also important that the scaffold is inspected correctly. It should be checked for safety reasons before it is first used and for long-term projects, every week after that point until it is disassembled. You should inspect the scaffold more often if the scaffolding has been exposed to anything that may have caused harm to it or made it unstable such as poor weather or substantial changes to the scaffolding itself.
Most of the time, scaffolding is used for roof work. However, it may also be used for other jobs such as fixing up the sides of a house or even for painting work where a ladder cannot be used or if the work is at a height such that a ladder would not suffice for safety reasons (again thinking about the 4-foot recommendation).
The cost of hiring scaffolding will depend heavily on how much scaffolding is required, but in most cases, it’s going to cost you several thousand pounds. The average cost of scaffolding hire for a property is about £1000 to £1300 if required for just one week. If, however, as is often the case, you’ll need scaffolding for several weeks, then you’ll probably be looking at paying somewhere in or around the £4000 to £5000 price range.
IThe actual labour cost is generally going to be around £500 to £1500. That is essentially how much you’ll pay to have a professional assemble and later disassemble the scaffolding.
The total cost of hiring scaffolding also depends on a range of different factors such as where in the UK you live. This is because labourers charge different rates in different parts of the nation. Hence, while the material cost may be practically the same throughout the UK, places like London and the southeast of England have higher labour costs than the national average. In contrast, in the north of England, the labour rates are cheaper than for most of the country. Consequently, the overall bill you’ll face will depend, in part on where you are based.
Beyond that, ease of access, the type of scaffolding and how long you’d like to hire the scaffolding for will also shape the overall cost. As for ease of access, the difficulty or simplicity of setting up the scaffolding will, in turn, influence how long the contractor spends putting up and taking down the scaffolding. As a result, if they spend longer working, they’ll likely charge you more.
These prices are average estimates, including both the labour and materials cost. So keep that in mind as it’s possible that such scaffolding could cost significantly less or more, depending on the scale of the project.
|Type of Scaffolding||Total Cost (Weekly to several weeks)|
|Standard Scaffold||£800 to £2500|
|Narrow Scaffold||£1300 to £2700|
|Trestle||£200 to £280|
|Scale of Scaffolding||Total Cost (Weekly)|
|Semi-detached House||£1000 to £1250|
|10m Scaffold||£500 to £700|
|Scaffold a Wall on a Terraced House||£1000 to £1100|
Before you can go about hiring scaffolding, you must figure out what type best suits your needs and preferences. Among the types available are single, double, tower and patented. In this section, we’ll break down the various types of scaffolding as well as looking at when they would be used, what type of job they are appropriate for, their pros and cons, what material they’re usually made from, how long they take to assemble and how much they tend to cost to hire.
The labour cost for having scaffolding assembled will probably end up being around £10 per hour. The prices given for scaffold hiring in the following subsections excludes the labour cost, which will, of course, depend on how long assembling and taking down the scaffold will be. As a result, the prices given are just starting points and may or may not closely resemble the actual bill you’d face if you hired such scaffolding.
A major form of scaffolding is that of single scaffolding which is also known as bricklayer’s scaffolding. It’s generally used with brick masonry. This type of scaffolding is made up of standards, ledgers and putlogs, which are positioned about 1.2 metres from the wall. Their position will also be parallel to the wall. The standards have a distance of around two to 2.5 metres between them.
This type of scaffolding also generally features braces and wooden boards. The primary structure is usually made of metal. It will likely take a few hours to set up the initial single scaffolding although it will depend on the scale required. In addition, the steps of building the scaffolding up for brickwork can be a slow process that takes place gradually during construction.
Single scaffolding has the appearance of an upside-down L. Generally it costs around £90 to £130 to hire single scaffolding although this is without the labour cost.
✔ Well suited to ordinary buildings
✔ Especially safe option
✔ Generally inexpensive
✔ Relatively easy to assemble
✖ Not suited to complex buildings
✖ The brickwork must set before adding the next level to the scaffolding
✖ Single scaffolding only goes up to a certain height
This option, also known as mason’s scaffolding, is as its alternative name suggests, employed for stone masonry work. Some refer to it as the independent scaffolding. The purpose of having two rows of scaffolding is due to the difficulties of adding supporting plugs to stone. Instead, the actual frame supports each of the putlogs. With two rows, double scaffolding is particularly sturdy. Cross braces and rakers are often also used with this type of scaffolding.
In general, this option can be used in cases where it is not suitable to drill into the wall that aligns with the scaffolding. Double scaffolding tends to be metallic and is often made from steel. It may take a couple of hours to erect mason’s scaffolding although it will probably take a bit longer than it would to erect single scaffolding.
Double scaffolding has an H-shape. In most cases, it costs around £200 to £300 to hire double scaffolding if excluding the labour cost.
✔ More robust than single scaffolding
✔ Suitable for stone masonry work
✖ More costly than single scaffolding
Next, we have cantilever scaffolding. In this case, the standards are generally held up by a collection of needles. These are brought up through wall holes. With another type of cantilever scaffolding, the needles are held in place within the floors through various openings. In this scenario, you’d consider it a double frame or independent scaffolding.
Cantilever scaffolding is generally utilised when the ground below is not capable of holding up standard scaffolding; the ground is positioned next to a wall while being free of traffic or/and the upper element of the wall is being constructed. Once more, as with the previous two types of scaffolding, cantilever is usually metallic in structure. How long it will take to erect cantilever scaffolding will really depend on the scale of the project.
Cantilever scaffolding may have a materials cost of around £50 to £100 to hire.
✔ A great alternative to standard scaffolding if the latter is unsuitable
✔ Generally inexpensive
✖ Not ideal for all situations
As the name suggests, suspended scaffolding is positioned entirely at a height and is held in the air. The roof of the building or another tall construct holds the scaffolding in place with ropes or chains used to hold up the scaffold platform. The height of this platform can, therefore, be repositioned as desired. Suspended scaffolding is often used if repair work, pointing or painting of exterior walls is taking place.
This type of scaffolding is generally used where it’s impossible to construct the scaffolding from the ground up or if directly accessing the higher levels of a building is needed and where the building is tall enough that constructing scaffolding up to such a height would not be practical. Window cleaning on skyscrapers also often involves the use of suspended scaffolding. Most of the time suspended scaffolding is made of aluminium or steel.
The materials cost of this type of scaffolding will likely set you back a few hundred pounds. It could also take around several hours to assemble suspended scaffolding.
✔ Suitable for working at heights
✔ Suitable if the ground cannot be obstructed below
✖ Challenging to assemble
✖ Could prove costly
This option is a type of indoor scaffolding and one that is only designed for using up to five metres in height. It generally comprises a frame that is built on ladders or mobile tripods. Trestles are often used for interior decoration or repairs.
Its simplistic scale and design makes it ideal for small indoor projects. Trestle scaffolding tends to be metallic. It shouldn’t take too long to assemble trestle scaffolding, perhaps an hour or less although again it will depend on the size of the scaffolding.
In many cases, trestle scaffolding costs little more than £10 to £20 to hire in terms of the materials cost.
✔ Perfect for interior work
✔ Usually relatively easy to assemble
✖ Very narrow utility
This type of scaffolding is simply that which is made from steel, and the actual design can vary greatly. Its structure is often, however, similar to double scaffolding. On the other hand, its additions that distinguish it from the latter mentioned scaffold type are stability and support which are established by the standards being connected to steel fixings or couplers.
The main value of using steel scaffolding is the safety it offers due to how robust it is. This is a big part of the reason why steel scaffolding has grown in popularity. Steel scaffolding can be used in a wide range of cases but is incredibly popular when it comes to large construction projects or those where plenty of weight will be carried.
While finding steel scaffolding with a cost below £100 (in supply costs) is entirely possible, much of the time, it will cost several hundred pounds to hire.
✔ Very strong
✔ Suitable for large construction projects
✔ Stability and support are provided by steel
✖ May be a bit on the expensive side
Patented or readymade scaffolding usually comes with a premade frame and boards which have already been fitted into their brackets at the preferred height. If you’d like to save on labour costs (since their assembly is simplified), then you should consider patented scaffolding.
Once more, you’ll probably end up paying several hundred pounds in materials cost for this type of scaffolding although prices below £100 do exist.
✔ Can save you on labour costs
✖ May not be of the highest quality
Before hiring scaffolding, it’s essential that you consider the information discussed in the previous section. Ask yourself, what type of scaffolding is most suitable to you and the needs of your project? Beyond that, you should make sure to do plenty of research into the potential providers so that you choose a high-quality company to hire scaffolding from.
Once you’ve completed step one, contact the company and arrange to have scaffolding dropped off at yours and a contractor to assemble it.
While the exact nature of building scaffolding will vary from type to type, broadly-speaking there are some general aspects of the assembly work that apply in most cases. The contractor present will usually begin by choosing an appropriate spot to act as the foundation for the scaffolding (if applicable). Next, they may add casters particularly if you intend to move the scaffolding about. Next, the frame can be added while the contractor will ensure that the frame is stable and holding its position okay.
Once the frame has been added and it’s confirmed that the scaffolding is securely in place, the planks may be added. The planks can be lifted via the scaffold bars before being added into position. Hardware may also be employed to put the planks into position.
Next, safe access may be added to the scaffold structure. It’s essential that any access added will not act as a gravity risk to the scaffolding such as if you were to climb it and suddenly tip over the scaffolding. Guardrails should also be added to maximise safety.
Once the scaffolding is constructed, the labourer will perform an inspection to confirm that everything is safe and in place correctly. Then, they will undertake a cleanup, and the scaffolding will be yours to use. Of course, before you use scaffolding, make sure that you know how to do so safely!
So long as you hire scaffolding from a reliable and legitimate provider, then you should have no specific issues when having scaffolding erected. However, there’s always a small chance that something could go wrong. For instance, if a professional were to install scaffolding incorrectly, it would be unsafe. This is unlikely but acts as just another reason to be extra cautious when working from a height even if using scaffolding that appears completely safe. All in all, you can never be too safe.
Adverse weather could threaten the construction, use or stability of the scaffolding. As discussed earlier, if there is particularly poor weather during the time in which you have scaffolding setup, it is best to perform an inspection afterwards, just to ensure that it has remained stable. If you’ve altered the scaffolding in any way during the time it’s present on your property, you should also undertake an inspection.
There is no national legislation stipulating how long scaffolding can stay up, but if it stays up for months or even years on end, then the council may raise this as an issue with you.
Trestle scaffolding is the best option for interior work.
For any work that is four feet or more above the ground.
Try checking out sites like Gumtree, although make absolutely certain that you are hiring safe and sound scaffolding. You’ll also still need to hire a professional to assemble the scaffolding once it arrives.
From as little as £65 per week to several hundred pounds, depending on the scale of scaffolding that you require.