All you need to know about hiring scaffolding including materials, labour and time frames.
Some roofers and painters/decorators will own and erect their own scaffolding or access towers, but usually if a substantial scaffolding is required a specialist company will be used. The cost to scaffold will depend on a number of factors, such as how many sides of the building need to be accessed, how long does the platform need to stay up, are there any public footpaths or roads in the way, is bridging required to clear a conservatory or similar, plus how many levels are needed (if multiple working platforms are required for a job like repointing a gable end then it will be more expensive than a job where only one working level is required, such as replacing roofline products). Although there are many jobs that can be done using ladders, but for safety reasons, most times when it is required to work at height scaffolding is recommended (required in fact for those in the trades by health & safety).
Scaffolding is an unusual trade in that it is always just part of another job and never done on its own! Basically anything involving working at height requires scaffold, so it is used extensively by roofers, painters and builders. Erecting scaffold is expensive so often if a job requires an access platform, it makes sense to tackle any other jobs that may require scaffold at the same time to reduce labour costs. It makes financial sense to do as much work as possible using the scaffold once you have already paid for the erection of it!
Scaffolding is where steel poles are erected vertically and horizontally like a giant meccano set, then wooden walking boards are laid down. Handrails and access ladders are then added as standard for easy access to all levels. Scaffolding is very versatile and can be used in narrow spaces or areas that seem almost impossible to access such as around high chimneys. Professional scaffold companies can provide safe access to almost any part of a building.
Remember that the scaffolding cost will increase the longer you need the scaffold in place, so be careful about erecting the scaffold too soon, plus ensure that the company doing the work is fully prepared to start as soon as scaffold is in place, the last thing you want to do is pay for scaffold that nobody is using!
Scaffolding is normally hired out for a fixed period, usually 4 weeks, with an additional rent applied on a weekly basis if the scaffold is required for a longer period. On larger jobs you need to establish who will be paying for the additional scaffolding rental costs if the job takes longer than expected. Location will also have an impact on price. With labour being a substantial part of scaffolding costs those in London and surrounding areas will pay a lot more than those in the North.
For scaffold to be built on three sides of a typical semi-detached house for a single roofing job, typically costs around £650-£800. To bridge over a conservatory with a walkable bridge expect to pay £400. A simple scaffold tower built to the height of the gutters will cost around £250, although bear in mind that tradesmen will often inflate this price if the job they're doing is a small one, i.e. repairing gutters, etc. Ideally have all roofing type jobs carried out at the same time.
These figures are of course just rough guides, the actual costs for erecting scaffold to a semi-detached house will depend greatly on a number of factors such as how high it needs to be, how long you need it, how many walking levels are required, the location and ease of access. If the scaffold will block or restrict a public path or road, then a license will be required from the local authority which will of course also increase the overall costs. Unusually shaped buildings with unique design features will also affect the overall costs as the scaffolding company will need to spend more time creating a safe and secure scaffolding design.
Below are some estimated costs of scaffolding in different scenarios:
If the jobs require painting or rendering at different levels, add around 10% to the price as extra lifts will be needed.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Hire Duration|
|Scaffold 3 sides of Detached Bungalow||£650||6-8 weeks|
|Scaffold 3 sides of Semi-detached House||£750||6-8 weeks|
|Scaffold Bridging Over Conservatory||£400||6-8 weeks|
|Scaffold Tower||£250||1 day|
|Scaffold a Chimney||£500||1 week|
Individual costs for hiring scaffolding for 6-8 weeks on 3 sides of a semi-detached house - Total Cost: £750