Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A good roof overhead ~ part 2 ~ the scaffolding goes up

This article follows the previous one:

The scaffolding looks impressive, and forms a sort of exoskeleton for the house while it's being worked on.  I enjoy the rhythmic appearance of the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal poles. 

I also enjoyed watching the scaffolding going up.  Make no mistake: this is heavy work requiring strength, agility and a head for heights!  For the benefit of those who have yet to read my first article about this job here is the site at the end of Day One:

But what's this?  The scaffolding supports obstruct entry to the garage.  Some weeks later this part of the structure was altered on request.  It took about five minutes to fix what should have been worked out on Day One.  As a client one doesn't always know what is possible and what is not, so it pays to be on the spot and to say what you want - firmly! 

What's that yellow tag hanging over the garage door?  "Scaffold unsafe" ?

The meaning of this sign became clearer at the end of the second day when the scaffolding was completed.  Even as the scaffolders worked at fitting everything together and bolting it into place the roofing work got into full swing right at the top of the house. 

After knock-off time the first section of roof on top of the house was tiled and the whole building was encased in scaffolding which included gates with spring-closers at points where there was ladder access.  Note that I have covered the advertising sign on the front of the structure with the image of the green maple leaf.  Just above this you can see where the ladder provides access to the top level of the structure. 

Once the scaffolding was complete the sign about unsafe scaffolding was replaced by this one, which declares "scaffold safe".  This is reassuring as it does have to bear a lot of weight at considerable heights!

The signs are an indication of the official guidelines which are used by scaffolders.  These are outlined in the New Zealand Government's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's document:
"While compliance with the Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand is not mandatory, it represents current best practice in the industry as perceived by the industry itself and may be used as evidence of good practice in court. Its contents should be seen as a comprehensive and authoritative guide to what is considered by the scaffolding industry to be preferred work practice or arrangements, and includes procedures which could be taken into account when deciding on optimal and practicable steps to be taken when scaffolding."
This document provides all sorts of information from component specifications to the various levels of trade certifications, the latter of which are recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

These poles and all the brackets with which they are screwed together are sturdy - and they have to be!  This section of scaffolding supported the structure from around the base of the house:

These grunty brackets which fasten the metal tubes one to the other are called 'couplers' and come in a range of configurations to suit different sorts of joins:

This one joins two metal tubes end to end and is called an 'external joiner':

The top level of scaffolding was supported by poles most of which were in turn supported by the roof below...

...and others by a handy platform:

The photo below shows the view down behind the ladder from the top level.  Note the brackets that clamp the ladder in place:

Here is one of those brackets closer up.  It's the back part of the bracket that clamps it to the pole, rather than the one in front:

There is that nice little swing gate at the top with its spring mount wrapped around the vertical pole:

It's a wonderful view from up there!  The three-plank width seems generous until you see that it carries more than human traffic...

...The new tiles have to be stacked somewhere handy while the roofers work to get them into place:

...And all those other building materials also have to be put somewhere:

...All that stuff that has to be put somewhere on the way to being installed - or taken away again once it is finished with:

A couple of those sturdy planks placed across the corner of the scaffolding make a good temporary work bench for John while he completes some detailed work at the end of the day:

The scaffolding proved to be essential!

My next article in this series is about flashing, which is all those various components, from building paper to stainless steel, which perform the vital function of deflecting as well as carrying water away:

Readers can access other articles in this series via the links below:

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