Achieving Safe Scaffolding Foundation on Construction Sites

August 8, 2017


No structure can stand for long if its foundations aren't stable. Like the proverbial house of cards, that construct comes falling down when it's built on shaky ground. Keep that truism in mind as we evaluate the key requirements for the foundations that will safely support a scaffolding frame. First of all, we start with the ground type, the soil that the staging occupies.

Assessing Construction Site Ground Conditions

Back behind the tall construction site perimeter wall, bystanders go about their business while walking on a hard pavement. It's behind the wall, out on the construction site, that the ground becomes a muddy mess. Cranes and heavy moving gear have chewed up the soil, and there are no roads in place yet, so the ground is uneven, to say the least. What does the expert scaffolding team make of this chaotic scene? Before anything else, the staging area must be packed and firm. There can be no boggy soft spots or rocky outcroppings here, not when the entire scaffolding tower, and everyone on it, is relying on an absolutely stable foundation. Before anything else, then, the feasibility of the area as a potential frame supporting site has to be established.

Accounting for Loading and Stability Issues

The single constant in achieving a safe foundational site has to be the perpendicularity issue. Regardless of all else, that structure must stand fully upright. From here, we return again to the ground, which is a site variable, not a constant. Sandy ground will shift, for example, while wet soil acts like a sucking mire, one that inevitably destabilizes the staging. Erection technicians counteract such negative influences by dry packing the soil and introducing load distributing base plates or mud sills. Additionally, on the lower ends of the scaffolding frame pieces, there should be a level adjusting screw, a threaded segment that finitely adjusts the angle of the work platforms. Remember, even a few degrees of foundation-introduced misalignment is enough to start a tool rolling.

In its raw and undisciplined early days, a construction site is a sandy or muddy terrain. The job of the erection team, before any cross member or tubular brace is coupled, is to establish a firm and level erection area. That area is dry, flat, free of rocky chunks, and certain not to shift. Again, soil types can vary wildly, perhaps just by crossing into a nearby county, so assess all ground conditions before the gear is erected. Then, when the ground is packed and otherwise conditioned, use supplementary scaffolding attachments (Mud sills) to compensate for any fine grain foundation errors.

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