How to Set Up Scaffolding

Updated February 21, 2017

Scaffolding allows workers to work at a height with a stable platform to hold tools and material. The stability of the scaffold begins with properly installing the scaffold's first section. Placement on solid ground and properly levelling the first section of scaffold will ensure that the work platform is safe for use under load. When erecting the scaffold, additional safety components ensure the safety of people working beneath the scaffold. Toe boards and railing reduce the amount of material that falls from the scaffold to the ground.

Check the stability of the ground where the scaffolding will be located. Remove debris from the area as you check for soft spots in the ground.

Lean a scaffold frame against a wall.

Push the safety catch up on the bottom pin attached to the scaffold frame. Align the hole in one leg of the cross-brace with the pin. Slide the hole onto the pin. Release the safety catch. Perform the same procedure to affix the top leg of the cross-brace onto the top pin of the scaffold frame.

Attach another scaffold frame to the other side of the cross-brace. Use the method described in Step 3 to secure the frame to the cross-brace.

Secure a cross-brace to the other side of both scaffold frames.

Move the scaffold with a helper to its final position. Pick one end of the scaffolding up and place a 2 by 12 under each leg. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the scaffolding.

Adjust each screw jack to its lowest position. Insert a screw jack into each vertical support of the scaffold frame.

Tie one end of the line level to one of the scaffold frames. Stretch the line to the opposite scaffold frame. Tie the line off, making sure that the line rests in the same position on both scaffold frames. Place the line level onto the taught line.

Adjust the screw jacks until the line level shows that the frames are level. Place the 4-foot carpenter's level on the top leg of one of the scaffold frames. Adjust the screw jack not on the side of the line level to make the scaffold frame level across the end. Level the other scaffold frame in the same manner. Remove the string line from the scaffolding.

Span the distance between the scaffold frames with the approved floor planks.

Slide a scaffold frame connector into the top of each vertical support of the scaffold frames. Twist the connector until the spring-loaded pin snaps into the mounting hole located near the top of the vertical support.

Climb onto the scaffold. Have a helper hand you a scaffold frame. Place the scaffold frame onto the frame connectors you installed in Step 11. Place the last scaffold frame on the other two frame connectors.

Connect the scaffold frames with the cross-braces as described in Step 3.

Place a 2 by 4 standing on the 2-inch side on the floor planks, parallel to the cross-brace. Push the 2 by 4 tightly to the vertical legs of the two scaffold frames you installed in Step 12. Wrap the #18-tie wire around the 2 by 4 and one of the vertical supports. Cut the tie wire with the lineman's pliers. Wrap the two loose ends of the tie wire over each other. Twist the wire tightly with the lineman's pliers. Repeat the procedure on the other scaffold frame. Secure the toe board to the other scaffold frame in the same manner.

Attach another toe board to the other side of the scaffold as described in Step 14.

Secure 2-by-4 handrails, 19 inches and 42 inches from the floor planks. Wrap tie wire around each end of the 2 by 4 and the vertical supports of each scaffold frame. Wrap the #18-tie wire around the 2 by 4, where it meets the cross-brace to provide additional support.

Test the handrails to ensure that they are stable before working from the scaffold.

Things You'll Need

  • Four 2- by 12-inch boards 24 inches long
  • 4 scaffold frames
  • 4 cross-braces
  • 4 screw jacks
  • String line
  • Line level
  • 4-foot carpenter's level
  • Floor planking
  • 4 scaffold frame connectors
  • Roll of #18-tie wire
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Nine 2 by 4 boards 96 inches long
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