Let me guess - you've found a great deal for the hire of a mobile scaffold tower, and now you've realised you've got no idea how to build it properly or, and most importantly, safely. It happens all the time, and no level of experience of building Lego or Meccano puts you in a better position to build an access tower to regulation without proper guidance.
Scaffold towers are a great way to access heights while preventing falls and reducing other risks. They're suitable for all kinds of jobs at height around the home and in a professional capacity, including fit-outs, installation, inspection, repair, decoration, cleaning, and much more.
If you’re using a tower for personal use, you don’t need to be qualified to build or use one. However, you must be confident, physically capable, and able to follow instructions carefully.
On the other hand, if you are erecting a tower for work as an employer, employee, or you’re self-employed, the Working at Height Regulations apply, and you must follow the Health and Safety Guidelines for working with scaffold towers.
In a nutshell, you must ensure that the equipment is suitable for the work and constructed and properly managed and inspected by people trained and competent. In addition, anyone using the tower must be trained and aware of the potential dangers and the precautions required.
How to build a mobile scaffold tower (based on our 3T* aluminium towers)
Inspect all the components. If any parts of the tower are worn or damaged, you must replace them and not use them.
Ensure the area is clear and there are no safety hazards where you are erecting the scaffold tower.
Attach the longer horizontal brace to the vertical section of the frame and NOT the shorter horizontal section. This prevents the structure from toppling over during construction.
Check that all casters are locked and that the locking nuts are securely attached to the frames.
Attach the opposite side of the frame to the longer horizontal brace and install the diagonal braces.
Install the plan brace low down on the frames. The closer they are to the casters, the better.
Install more horizontal and diagonal braces to the middle of the frame, as instructed.
Use a spirit level to check that all the braces and frames are installed correctly, and make any adjustments you need. Attach an 'unsafe for use' warning tag to the frame to prevent anyone from climbing on it before you have finished the construction.
Install the first platform to the top rungs and temporarily install the second platform on any lower rungs. Also, install the temporary horizontal brace on the vertical sections of the frame above the top rung.
While still standing on the ground, install an end guard rail to one side of the frame. Place the remaining braces somewhere you can reach them from up on the tower.
Climb onto the temporary platform level and install the second guard rail. Then, install the three remaining horizontal braces and the final diagonal brace. Once you've done that, you can move the temporary horizontal brace to its final mid-rail position.
Climb down from the tower, and remove the temporary platform from its mid-height position, and install it in its final position, next to the first platform.
You can now install the ladder, climb onto the work platform, close the hatch, and install the toe boards around the edge of the platform.
If the ground is uneven or the tower is more than three times the height of its base, you must install the outriggers for stability.
Replace the 'unsafe for use' warning tag with a 'safe for use' tag, and the tower is good to go.
To dismantle the tower safety, deconstruct it in the reverse order of the construction. Remove all components while the guardrail is in place and from the ground.
*3T stands for Through The Trapdoor, which is a system that makes the platform accessible through a hinged opening and a built-in ladder secured within the frame. The design, and therefore, the construction of advanced guard rail (AGR) towers differ. Follow the manufacturer's instructions closely when constructing these products.