The Advantages of Scaffolding Towers versus Traditional Bamboo Scaffolding

November 14, 2018

Having seen bamboo scaffolding towers in use in some Asian nations, a question popped into the mind of an erection technician: can bamboo scaffolds possibly compete with modern scaffolding towers? Well, bamboo is relatively strong, plus it's a sustainable product. If the material runs out, just wait for more to grow. Beyond those somewhat questionable benefits, however, contemporary staging systems do have more advantages to offer.

A Locally Renewable Resource

Let's open with that single primary advantage. Yes, bamboo is a locally renewable product. It grows right out of the ground in many Asian countries. It also assembles rapidly, with nylon ties holding the plant-based struts in place. Coming to the end of its life, the treelike cross-member can even be broken up and used to fuel a warming fire. But let's stop right there, for bamboo scaffolding isn't an up-to-code worksite solution. The rough-and-ready staging fails far too often. There's no way to establish a viable safety margin here, not when the system uses non-locking nylon straps. And the material will obviously fracture and shatter if it's placed under load. Worse yet, being a biological product, bamboo has an age limit, a point at which the plant-based beams will break down.

A First-World Scaffolding Solution

Steel and aluminium scaffolding cross-members can be fabricated as hollow components, yet they still exhibit measurable loading strength. The steel is sourced from a known grade, an alloy that expresses a known, consistent quantity of rigidity and corrosion resisting strength. The fastening systems don't rely on knots and nylon grip. Instead, contemporary scaffolding towers use advanced pin and locking mechanisms, which won't fail. No, bamboo scaffolding might be renewable, but that's not a feature that can easily be related to existing work conditions. Way up high, the workers rely on concrete-hard safety features, on materials and structures that will absolutely serve their purpose.

Relating the Observable Advantages

A newly erected bamboo structure has come together adequately. It's mostly secure and mostly stable. There are even codes of practice which rule bamboo staging. Hong Kong uses such ordinances, but they still pale before rigid alloy-reinforced scaffolding solutions. Modular and sectional, those metal-based systems assemble like a smoothly engineered machine. They snap together, lock together, and assemble just as quickly as a bamboo-based system.

Bamboo is environmentally friendly, plus staging made from this locally grown material has strength. It's also an inexpensive solution, especially in third-world countries. There, however, the benefits stop. Metal scaffolding rises higher, accepts more loads, and there are literally hundreds of accessories designed to safely aid the erection process. Castors, ground supports and more, these features combine with steel-toughened rigidity to provide safe and functional at-height work environments. Regardless of its merits, bamboo scaffolding cannot assure an adequate safety margin.

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