Scaffolding is an indispensable part of almost every construction project. The most common use of scaffolding is to provide access to structures as they rise in height during construction. It also serves to support significant loads of building materials and workers and their tools.
There are many different types of scaffolding, and you can click this link to see what the most popular types look like. However, many innovations are going on in the field of scaffolding, and some of them are discussed below.
Lean construction is a systemic, comprehensive, approach to residential, commercial, and industrial building projects. It involves operational research, practical development, and technology from the initial building design all the way through to the finished construction. Lean construction minimizes costs and improves worker safety in a number of ways.
- Project delays are minimized – One major cause of construction worker injuries is carelessness or negligence that happens when workers are asked to work faster because the project is behind schedule.
- All participants are involved in safety – From the first planning stages, every aspect of a building construction project, including worker safety, is thoroughly analyzed and taken into account.
- The utilization of scaffolding is closely examined – Consideration is given to the best type of scaffolding for the job.
- Recurring inspections – Lean construction practices include a system for regular inspection of equipment, including scaffolding.
- Use of diverse resources – All involved parties are more likely to reach out to any resources that support the efficient, safe completion of a project. For example, resources from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
An innovative technology called reality capture is being applied to scaffolding design. It allows designers to “capture” a 3D image of the work area where the scaffold is intended to be used. The scaffold design can be placed within the image to assess how well it would work in the real world. This process cuts down on later scaffold modifications and can even factor in the materials that will be required, thus eliminating cost overruns.
The Ascent of the Robots
A German company called Kewazo has developed a climbing robot that can significantly cut labor costs and the time it takes to erect a scaffold. The robot delivers parts to the scaffolding workers where and when they need them. The use of robots also reduces the risk of worker accidents, and workers can avoid the effects of continual heavy lifting on their musculoskeletal health.
The Kewazo robot can “see” its surroundings and plan its journey to workers using a path-finding algorithm. This algorithm employs machine-learning to enable the robot to build up a better picture of how its human co-workers operate.
Scaffolding will continue to benefit from and evolve with new technologies. It will become safer for workers and more cost effective for clients. The use of reality capture, robots, machine learning, and other technologies will be embraced by scaffolding designers who will continue to produce innovative scaffolding designs. Whoever thought that the world of scaffolding could be so interesting and exciting?