Alternatives to Scaffolding – Explore Other Options

We recently updated our roofing price list (which you can find here) and realised that most of our prices didn’t include the cost of scaffolding.

That’s because every house is different and there are times when alternatives such as access towers, ladders or platforms can be used instead of a full scaffold system.

This page, however, is all about access equipment and scaffold. You’ll discover when you need it, how much it will cost you and we also have some cheaper scaffold alternatives for you to consider.

As with all of our content on this site, the following information is geared towards roofers and any competent person needing to carry out roof repairs or maintenance work.

Ladders Have Been Banned in the Workplace, Haven’t They?

This is actually a myth.

Ladders can be used when it’s not practical to use other forms of access equipment, perhaps because the work can be completed in a short time period, i.e. under 30 minutes or if the work is of low risk to the worker, i.e. not very high and in a safe location.

Here is another myth:

I can’t use ladders because I need to keep two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times, don’t I?

No, you should keep three points of contact with the ladder for stability but that could be two feet and also your knees or stomach.

There is no rule that states that two feet and one hand should be kept in contact with the ladder.

When Ladders Shouldn’t be Used

While ladders can be used for short duration projects, they should be replaced with either an access tower or scaffold system for more prolonged work at height situations.

Below are two examples of access towers and platforms that many roofers, gutterers and roofline installers keep in their vans and use for quick safe access to walls, roofs and chimneys.

Can You Save Money With These Alternatives to Full Scaffolding?

Scaffolding that is erected by a professional scaffold company is usually expensive and not always required as there are alternatives to consider, especially for smaller projects.

Roofing firms and many other tradespeople often own a selection of access equipment that can be used to reach up to the roof height of most dwellings.

Not every firm has these systems, some will prefer to bring in an external scaffold firm which would add extra cost to the project.

Below are two popular systems that are owned by tradespeople and used on most projects:

The Easi-dec System

For windows and roofline elevations

For roof access and edge protection

The Easi-dec system is a platform that leans against the wall of the building and provides a safe place to work for prolonged periods of time.

The system can be used by roofline installers and guttering firms as several decks can be joined together.

It can also be used by those who need to gain access to the roof itself as the Easi-dec can act as an “edge protection” to meet HSE’s requirements.

Access Towers

 

These towers are usually made from aluminium and like the Easi-dec system can be erected in minutes.

They are an alternative to a professionally erected scaffold system for some (but not all) scenarios.

Towers are often used by roofline installers and roofers wishing to gain access to chimneys or high areas of the roof. They can be joined together to increase the height and length.

These towers are very versatile and can be used to bridge over conservatories and other obstacles.

Both the Easi-dec system and access towers can be hired but some training will be required for their safe use. This means they aren’t always ideal for DIYers seeking an alternative to full scaffolding.

These products are geared towards roofers and other tradespeople because:

  • one day of training and their employees can safely erect these systems in the UK
  • it’s quicker than getting in a professional scaffolding firm (great for emergency repairs)
  • it’s cheaper so the tradesperson’s quote will be more competitive than another firm that needs to pay a separate scaffolder to come in
  • they are long lasting and heavy duty so will last for decades if well maintained

How Much Does Full Scaffold Cost?

There are some occasions when neither a ladder or platform/tower system would be appropriate for the task at hand:

  • re-roofs – because the tiles are so heavy and alot of space is required around the roof edge, a professionally erected scaffold is usually required.
  • extensions – while small single storey extensions can be erected with aluminium access towers, larger projects and especially those reaching two or more storeys will require a full scaffold system.
  • loft conversions – these are built from the outside of the roof so good solid scaffold is usually required.
  • tin hats – this where are a temporary roof is required to keep the elements out while construction work is carried out on the property.
  • large conservatories – small ones can be bridged with platforms, but if the conservatory is wider than 6metres, it will probably need to be professionally spanned.
  • chimneys – while some chimneys can be reached with towers and platforms, some difficult-to-reach ones may require a full scaffold setup.

Below is our suggested price guide, based on our experience:

Scaffold Cost For Re-roofing to a Three Bed House

Assuming the scaffold is erected to three sides of a house and an extra elevation to one side, expect to pay on average £1000.00. You’ll pay more if a bridge needs to be constructed over a road, footpath, extension or conservatory.

This type of scaffold is used as an edge protection, work platform and for the storage of tiles and other materials.

Scaffold For Extensions and Loft Conversions

For a two storey extension to the side of a house, expect to pay around £600.00. We assume that there’s good access and no bridging is required.

Conservatory Bridging Cost

Conservatories may need to be bridged so access can be gained to:

  • replace windows
  • replace roofline boards
  • repair or replace guttering
  • install or repair solar panels
  • roof  or chimney repairs above the conservatory

Expect to pay around £450-600 to span over a conservatory, depending on its size.

Chimney Scaffolding

The cost of chimney scaffold is very difficult to estimate as a small chimney located near the guttering to one side of the house is very different from one in the centre of a roof and 20 metres high.

Small easy-to-reach chimneys can usually be accessed with towers rather than a full scaffold set up.

For a more complicated situation, expect to pay anything from £500 – 1200.

Temporary Roofs

Also known as “tin hats” these are constructed to keep the elements out of the work area. A temporary roof is constructed above the scaffold and waterproof material can be fitted to the sides.

They are typically used on large prolonged projects such as adding extra elevations to a property. They are not usually constructed for small projects or work that can be completed within a short time frame such as roof re-tiling.

Tin hats take several days to erect and require careful pre-planning, they’re generally the most expensive type of scaffolding per square metre.

For a typical semi-detached house, expect to pay upwards of £8500, for small detached homes, you’ll probably pay over £10,000.

See Our Scaffold Price List Here

Pros and Cons of Hired Scaffold and Towers/Easi-dec Systems

Below is our brief guide to scaffold vs towers/platforms.

Hired Heavy Duty Scaffold:

Pros

  • can be used by any tradespeople and homeowners once erected
  • heavy duty and great for storing heavy and large items
  • versatile and almost unlimited in height and applications

Cons

  • expensive, extra cost will increase the quote supplied to the customer
  • takes time to arrange so not ideal for emergency work that needs to be completed quickly
  • you may have to wait a few days after the work is completed for the scaffolding firm to come back and dismantle it

Towers and Easi-dec System:

Pros

  • quick to set up, ideal for quick repairs and can be dismantled and removed in minutes
  • lightweight and can be stored in a Transit type van
  • once purchased, there’s no extra cost, this keeps the roofer’s prices competitive

Cons

  • limited height and not always suitable for larger projects
  • expensive upfront purchase cost, so not always practical for small/new firms or tradespeople who’ll only use it occasionally
  • should only be used by competent persons, likely to tip over if accessed incorrectly (ie by homeowners/DIYers who haven’t been trained on its safe use)

Get a Quote Today

Are you looking to source prices for either scaffold or roofing work in the United Kingdom?

Hit the link below to see how we can help you:

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