Sidewalk Canopy As Part of Scaffolding: Why Is It A Necessity?

August 23, 2016


Do you hear that high-frequency mechanical squeal? That's a ten-centimetre deep hole being drilled into hardened concrete above your head. But you're not a part of some high-flying work crew, so why is this sound causing concern? Well, you're passing under a scaffolding tower, one that's been erected above a busy street. Chunks of debris could be about to fall from a great height and cause you and your fellow pedestrians harm, but fear not, for a sidewalk canopy is protecting everyone.

Busy Public Areas Need a Sidewalk Canopy

As the descriptive title suggests, this long umbrella-like structure protects the sidewalk or pavement from threats that are located above the heads of the unwary public. Ideally, the street would be closed down while the workers on the scaffolding go about their daily duties, but this isn't a realistic way of working in a busy city. Instead, the protective screen is installed above the sidewalk to stop falling debris from causing physical harm. In this way, falling tools, falling construction material, and even the fine chunks of loose matter from that ten-centimetre drill hole are prevented from hitting the pavement below the scaffolding tower.

A Sidewalk Canopy as a Part of Scaffolding

The upward facing screen needs to be constructed from materials that can absorb the brunt of any impact, so the fabrics associated with an umbrella-like screen have no place in this safe-operating scenario. Strong metal frames are selected for this very purpose. They form the supports and roof struts, the beginnings of a tunnel that can pass through the base of the scaffolding tower. The passage uses inverted U-frames, powder coated parts that are locked in place below the scaffolding. This barebones frame is then roofed with wooden planks or corrugated steel, the impact-resistant screens that shield people passing by below. Of course, this is a basic representation of what is a highly adaptable screening method. Nets are installed alongside some of these canopies, as are weather-oriented supplementary parts. The corrugated roofs, for example, make for handy rainwater funnels.

Workers who are part of this street scaffolding project must wear safety helmets, but sidewalk bystanders don't have access to such safety gear, nor should they need such apparel because it's the duty of the construction agency to assure the locals that this is a safe place to walk. Finally, this is a temporary pedestrian aid. A more advanced sidewalk canopy can be built with semi-permanence in mind, including an all-encompassing wood-paneled tunnel that's fully weatherproof and outfitted with electrical lighting.

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