Mast Climbers or Scaffolding? Things You Have To Consider For Your Vertical Access Equipment

Mast Climbers or Scaffolding? Things You Have To Consider For Your Vertical Access Equipment

Vertical access might be easily overlooked when starting a project.

It can be easy to choose a tried and tested option, or one that you are familiar with or have easy access to, but there’s a lot more to consider.

What work needs to be completed? Where is your project? What are your expectations?

Believe it or not, answering these questions can hugely impact the vertical access you select.

This article isn’t aimed at highlighting one option over another, but instead should make you consider the variety of options and the challenges that each can help you overcome.

You can view a more definitive guide here, but for now, let’s explore the 5 key considerations you need to bear in mind.

1: Are You Willing to Change You Mindset on Vertical Access

One of the most common things hear when discussing access equipment is “we’ve used scaffolding for so long, why we should change?”

That statement alone should start alarm bells ringing.

It’s no wonder that productivity within the construction industry has changed very little in the past 50 years or so. In order to start making a difference, mindsets need to change, and construction is no different.

Just because scaffolding has worked for your high-rise projects for multiple years doesn’t mean it’s the only form of vertical access. ‘Modern methods of construction’ is a term often thrown around the sector, but it’s one that needs to be embraced. Computer networks are changing, manufacturing processes are changing and so are vertical access technologies, all of these are modern evolutions on the sometimes centuries-old forms of working.

Shifting the mindset only ever so slightly towards the point of consideration should be enough to open minds to entirely new ways of working.

Recently BFT Mastclimbing highlighted some now everyday products and tools that, at conception were overlooked and not embraced, but are now considered ‘household essentials’. If mindsets hadn’t changed then, humans would still be in the dark ages.

While vertical access and mast climbers aren’t going to revolutionise everyday life, it’s enough for your projects to be completely overhauled, evolving into more seamless and productive ones.

2: Alternatives To Scaffolding: Have You Considered A Hybrid Solution?

Scaffolding or mast climbers? Which should you use on your project?

There’s a common misconception that the two options are binary. If you’re using scaffolding, you can’t use mast climbers and if mast climbers are your vertical access choice, there’s no reason to choose scaffolding.

In reality, both do work together. The issue is, this isn’t well communicated. The thought is that mast climbers and scaffolding are vertical access rivals.

A hybrid solution is typically the right one.

Nothing protects the public from construction work like scaffolding. Creating tunnels and bridges on the lower floors for public and worker access, scaffolding is the only choice.

Then, for the vertical access itself, mast climbers should be the option.

This hybrid approach to vertical access on your high-rise building means the work itself can commence far quicker and with minimal disruption to the site and surrounding areas.

When sourcing vertical access, it’s important to understand this and have these conversations.

3: Beyond The Construction Project: Impact on Residents

It’s very easy to focus on your individual project. What are your budgets? What’s the timeline? Do you have everything you need to be able to successfully complete it to a high standard?

But what about other things that are affected by the work you’re conducting?

Vertical access is required on multiple varieties of building. From high-rise office blocks to inner city student accommodation, whatever needs to happen on the exterior of the building is going to impact those on the inside.

How would you feel if your office windows were blocked out by scaffolding and monarflex for extended periods of time? What about if your own home was enclosed by scaffolding and you had to put up with trades outside of your window for months on end?

This is a common occurrence and with the recent legislation following Grenfell, high-rise buildings up and down the country require immediate reparative work on the exterior of the building. The work is disruptive enough, especially when you consider it's extensive because thousands of people are living in homes which are basically, too dangerous.

But selecting familiar vertical access forms isn’t good enough.

Scaffolding is still common on these projects without any consideration of the ramifications it’ll have on those on the inside. As we’ve explored, it’s more than an inconvenience, fully enclosing your home has a fundamental impact on mental health.

4: Construction Access Equipment: Project Logistics

Your projects and your business rely on streamlined logistics.

The smoother the operation, the less time spent on-site and the greater your margins. For contractors and Quantity Surveyors, this is critical.

BFT Mastclimbing doesn’t have to tell you the logistics that need to go into scaffolding, let alone the operation required when a high rise is being scaffolded. Multiple trucks delivering hundreds of metres of poles, piles of boards and countless fittings, often in tight inner-city areas or awkward construction sites is a recipe for a slow construction project.

With delivery on multiple trucks, and upwards of 6 weeks to erect and fully enclose a 40m building, there’s an obvious bottleneck in the construction process.

After all, without vertical access, your project can’t commence.

When you set targets and deadlines you need to understand how other forms of construction vertical access can help you meet targets and improve the overall effectiveness with which the work gets completed.

Fewer deliveries mean less disruption to the site and a quicker installation time along with a reduced carbon footprint.

This installation is amplified when the vertical access that you use can be erected in a much quicker time. For the same 40m high building, choosing a mast climber over scaffolding can save you upwards of 12 days in installation alone. That’s before you consider the advantages it can have on the work itself, too.

5: Understanding The Work You’re Doing

How long is the project scheduled to last? What work is going to be completed? How tall is the building? All of these questions need to be answered before you can decide on vertical access for your project.

Scaffolding and mast climbers aren’t interchangeable, and each has its own benefits.

If you’re working on a building lower than 3-storeys a mast climber isn’t an appropriate form of vertical access, likewise, if you’re building is a high rise in an inner city, a mast climber is going to be a much easier method of gaining access.

You also need to think about the trades that require vertical access.

Are you using brick workers, re-cladders, electricians or repair teams on your project?

Each trade has preferences in how they work and what they prefer, but the right choice of vertical access can make all the difference.

Scaffolding requires set loading areas with materials having to be transported to the relevant part of the building. With a mast climber, for instance, materials can be loaded in the same spot at the bottom of the mast and can ascend to wherever the trade needs them.

Understanding the work and the requirements of the trades and the location helps understand the vertical access you need, and it’s not as straightforward as picking one form over another.

Other Considerations For Vertical Access

There is a range of other factors that should determine the vertical access you select for your project, and we’ve highlighted only some of the most obvious ones.

Understanding the other considerations is essential and you can find a full checklist available here.

In it is a further 5 considerations you need to factor in when thinking about your vertical access.

It shouldn’t be a decision that you make based on familiarity but instead one based on what BFT Mastclimbing discusses in this checklist.

If you have further questions or want to understand what your options are and how a mast climber can be used, speak to the BFT Mastclimbing expert team today.

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BFT Mastclimbing Ltd

BFT Mastclimbing Ltd

BFT Mastclimbing is the UK leader in provision of Mastclimbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) to the construction industry.

MCWPs are a highly deployable alternative to scaffolding which can be used on both construction and maintenance projects....
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Erob.munns@bftmastclimbing.com
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