Have you tried envisioning how great structures, whether they are the tallest, widest, or fanciest started – from the bottom with tubes and clamps that covered the entire building? These scaffolds are considered pathways, right to left and down to up, for workers to be able to freely move around. While simple and unassuming, the scaffolds are like platforms for people to do their high wire act that is very dangerous. Setting up the scaffolds or working on them is not very popular because of the effort and danger involved in the job.

Regardless of whether people want to do it or not, it needs to be done. Whether it is scaffolding in Eastbourne or in Hong Kong, every new construction has scaffolds set up.

History of scaffolds

Scaffolds have been around since the Palaeolithic age. This was assumed from cave paintings that reached the ceiling even though there were no visible rocks that acted as ladders. Scaffolds have also been depicted in Greek vases. Every major civilization has made use of scaffolding to build tall structures and reach high places. The interior work for traditional churches and heavily embellished buildings, those with elaborate paintings and stucco work made use of scaffolds for the artists and craftsman to be able to move freely while working. They made use of timber, with stilts and slabs that connected together like a puzzle and with rope to fix it in place.

The scaffold now

Back then, they might have been less concerned about how safe scaffolds were made. There have been efforts in the modern age, with the creation of the tube and clamp, to make scaffolds safer for people to use. Scaffolding and how a particular style is popularised is always attached to the building it was first used on; the same way the actual scaffold needs to be attached to the main building for support. Daniel Palmer Jones’ Scaffixer only gained popularity after it had been used on Buckingham Palace. Besides the development of new material and tools, not much has changed in terms of their use.  They are still the backbone of the construction site that allows workers to reach greater heights in building. They are still the backbone for craftsmen to add their design to homes and for artists to be able to make larger than life art.

Scaffolds are attached to the building, they are designed to distribute the load wide enough for heavy machinery and people to move around above the ground. On windy days, how often do we look to a building under construction and wonder about how it manages to stay upright? There is a quiet strength to the scaffold, one that has supported workers, craftsmen, and artists for centuries.

Image: Pixabay.com