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The Basic Components Used In Scaffolding


Scaffolding is used to provide support for workers along with structural support for the building itself when a building is under construction.

Materials such as metal tubing or piping are used to form the scaffolding’s backbone, along with couplers and boards.

Scaffolding might come in several different designs, but they are all made up of the same basic elements, even when those elements differ in design.


Scaffolding elements are classified under 3 general components:

  • Standards
  • Ledgers
  • Transoms

A standard is a long pipe or tube that runs the length of the scaffolding and is used to connect the entire scaffold to the ground directly.

A base plate provides support for each standard as they are linked to the base, which helps provide support as well as the distribution of weight.

Ledgers are placed in between standards in a horizontal fashion and provide additional support and improve the weight distribution.

Transoms come in different forms and are placed on top of the ledgers at a right angle. Transoms are either main or immediate.

Main transoms are used for supporting standards and boards while intermediate transoms offer extra board support from their position alongside the main transoms.

Other Basic Components of Scaffolding

Besides the 3 aforementioned components of scaffolding, there are numerous other supportive elements that provide support for the basic scaffolding.

Such elements include braces, couplers, base plates, decks, and toe boards that are used in various combinations to provide support for the structure in a variety of ways.

The following is a more in-depth look into these elements.

  • Scaffold Tubes

Scaffold tubes are typically made of steel or aluminium. Although there’s composite scaffolding that uses fibril-wound tubes of glass fibre in a matrix.

These come in either nylon or polyester due to the high cost of a composite tube that’s typically used only when there’s danger from overhead electric cables that cannot be cut off.

  • Adjustable Base Plates

You can choose from a variety of height-adjustable plates that usually come with self-cleaning and strong round threads that adjust to the ground conditions.

The plates come with notch and colour markings to guard against over-winding.

  • Scaffold Couplers

Couplers are fittings that hold the tubes together and come in several variants.

Scaffold couplers come in 3 basic types: swivel couplers, right-angle couplers, and putlog couplers.

To connect a transom or ledger to a standard, a right-angle coupler is used.

If a transom supports board and has to be connected to a ledger, a single-coupler or putlog coupler should be used.

For any other angle of connection between scaffold piping, you should use a swivel coupler.

  • Braces

There are several different types of races used in scaffolding such as façade braces, diagonal braces, and cross braces.

These can be used in various combinations to support the structure in a variety of different ways.

Cross braces run diagonally between the ledgers and attach standards securely to increase the overall rigidity of the structure.

However, they can still be used to secure ledgers, in which case they are simply referred to as ledger braces.

Façade braces are used to ensure that the structure does not sway and are attached on the face of the scaffold, running the length of the face of the structure and attaching securely at every level.

Diagonal braces are used to provide additional support to the basic structure that comprises of vertical standards as well as ledgers.

  • Decks

Decks are also known as planks and are available in hot-dip galvanised steel, aluminium, and an aluminium frame with a plywood board.

Decks are a structural component, which means that ledgers aren’t required at the deck level, which helps save weight as well as cost.

  • Toe Boards

Toeboards are placed between vertical standards. Toeboards are available in wood, steel, or aluminium.

Steel toe boards are the most durable and are less of a fire hazard.

  • Ties

Besides the basic structural elements of scaffolding, there are different kinds of ties used for securing the scaffold to the adjoining building.

As a rule of thumb, ties are attached every 4 metres on alternating lift levels, but the types of ties and tie patterns used may vary depending on the type of scaffold.

Through ties, for instance, are used for securing a scaffold to a building by entering an open window in the building.

Box ties, on the other hand, are used for securing the scaffold by attaching to the external features of the building, such as strong pillars.

Final Thoughts

It is quite clear, based on the information provided here that the basic components used in scaffolding, that scaffolding is a critical part of the construction.

Whether it is erecting high-rise buildings or performing maintenance and repairs of any structure, the use of scaffolding is critical.

Scaffolding ensures faster completion of construction work and ensures the safety of both workers and the public on construction sites.

Therefore, is important to always hire a reputable scaffolding contractor for your construction projects.

If you are looking for knowledgeable and experienced scaffolders, who have leading-hands that work together with you and offer expert advice, please contact us at Skelscaff today.