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Archive for October, 2010

Uses of Formwork in Construction – Concrete Formwork

Concrete formwork is the use of support structures and moulds to create structures out of concrete which is poured into he moulds.

There are many different types of formwork used in construction, usually differing according to what the building requirements and challenges are. Formwork is used by creating moulds out of wood, steel, aluminium or prefabricated forms into which the concrete is poured. This is then allowed to harden and set after which it is stripped, or in the case of stay-in-place formwork it is left as part of the structure.

Formwork allows contractors to cast and construct the main parts of a building which are required to be strong and support the structure such as floors and walls, as well as smaller parts of a building such as stairs relatively quickly.

Types of Formwork
There are many different types of concrete formwork used in construction. Traditional timber formwork uses timber and plywood to form the moulds for pouring. This method is cheaper than other methods, yet not as effective because wood is not as strong as metal or steel. However, on complicated sections of buildings which need great attention to detail, timber formwork is still widely used.

Engineered formwork systems use prefabricated moulds made from a metal frame, usually either steel or aluminium. Engineered formwork is much cheaper and quicker to use than traditional formwork. The frames are extremely strong and rarely need replacing, reducing costs. Due to the formwork systems being engineered, their construction is faster and requires less manpower, again saving money. Simple structures can be built with re-usable plastic formwork systems (a type of engineered formwork), which consist of strong, lightweight, interlocking systems.

Stay–in-place formwork is used generally for the supporting parts of a structure. This type of formwork consists of insulating concrete forms which are filled with reinforced concrete and once set, are left in place.

About Concrete
When concrete is mixed, the success and quality of the concrete in structures is known as workability. Concrete can be made to different qualities depending on the amount of water, the type of water, the shape of the mould, how long the cement has been hydrating for and amount and type of cement contained in the mixture. The quality of the cement is reduced if too much water is included, causing the cement to separate from the other substances which make up the concrete mixture.

Concrete can crack, which was problematic for constructions throughout history as they ran the risk of collapse. Today reinforced concrete is used which is a much stronger substance and rarely cracks. When concrete is reinforced, it is filled with metal rods and reinforcing bars with other materials such as glass and plastic fibre.

Concrete formwork is widely used in present day construction. With the many different types of formwork available, any building project is more easily achievable because different methods can be used to achieve the desired result. When reinforced, concrete is a virtually indestructible material, perfect for major construction work, as well as small, detailed and complex structures.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) is a scaffolding and formwork contracting company, providing high quality concrete formwork services for construction which are safe and reliable, whether dealing with simple or complex structures.

Film Set Scaffolding Suppliers and Movie Scaffolding

South Africa has become a haven for film productions. Cape Town is a particularly popular location, but the rest of the country has also seen an increase in the number of films being produced.

With the increased number of productions being shot in both studios and on location in South Africa, the demand for film set scaffolding suppliers has increased in recent years. Film productions make heavy use of scaffolding and rigging, relying on scaffold hire contractors to provide film set scaffolding.

South Africa has very diverse scenery, perfect for films needing to be shot in a multitude of locations. There are first-class beaches, attractive business districts with high rise buildings, deserts, wetlands and lakes, small rural towns and high mountains that are snow capped during winter. Labour in South Africa is also comparatively cheap, lowering production costs significantly.

The Rand exchange rate is favourable to overseas film makers and South Africa offers a setting which has all the necessary scenery and facilities at a fraction of the cost of filming in other locations around the world.

The film industry in South Africa is booming with many film and production companies available to assist on films. These few points are just a couple of the many reasons that South Africa makes a great location for film productions.

Scaffolding Requirements in the Film Industry
When films are produced, scaffolding is required for many purposes. Film sets, temporary structures, platforms and access ramps for high areas are some of the uses of scaffolding on a film set.

Enormous sets require a lot of scaffolding to create items such as fake streets and imitation buildings. Scenes shot from an elevation require scaffolding and platforms to allow the equipment and crew access to high points, while assuring the safety of the crew and the equipment.

Film set scaffolding suppliers in South Africa are usually contracted to provide the movie set scaffolding and rigging.

The equipment used in filming can cost millions of Rands, making the stability and reliability of scaffolding a key concern for film makers. Scaffolding used also needs to be adaptable to different terrains. Many films are shot in locations where the ground is unstable or uneven; making the need for scaffolding that is able to perform its duties on unstable locations extremely high, as well as upholding the health and safety of the crew and equipment whilst constructed on uneven ground.

Health and Safety
Scaffolding used on film sets not only needs to be safe for the filming equipment, but also for the safety of the staff, crew and actors. If scaffolding does experience a problem in terms of a collapse or any other issue, even if no one is hurt, filming can be delayed which causes massive problems with budgets, the time schedules and many other important factors which the film depends on to be reliable.

Flexibility and Reliability
‘Time is money’; a statement which could never be truer than in the film industry. When producing a movie, film makers depend on efficiency and the ability to shoot the production without delays. For this reason the scaffolding used in films for sets, temporary structures and access platforms needs to be quick to assemble, dismantle and move around. The production of a film can be more expensive and delayed by scaffolding which is not easily constructed and dismantled. Complex scaffolding that is difficult to work with will require more man power, increasing costs further.

When a film is in production, certain unpredictable elements such as natural light and the weather are important factors, yet these are not easily replicated artificially and require swift movement to have everything ready in order to film when conditions are perfect. This is another reason why the scaffolding used needs to be very dependable in term of its ability to be erected and dismantled quickly and efficiently.

Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers
Scaffolding types such as Kwik-Stage Scaffolding systems and Self-Lock Tower systems are extremely useful and popular in this regard. These types of scaffolding are extremely reliable for many reasons.

Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers are very easily assembled and just as easily dismantled requiring much less man power to do so than other types of scaffolding. Because the scaffolding is dependable in terms of time saving and lessened need for manpower, Kwik-Stage Scaffolding and Self-Lock Towers are a massive benefit to the film industry as they save time and cut back on costs.

The Kwik-Stage System is also very useful in the film industry as it is able to be erected on uneven terrain without compromising on efficiency or safety. This scaffolding system adheres to strict health and safety regulations. The scaffolding system is tested by engineers before use to make sure that it is compliant with the standards needed for heavy industrial scaffolding.

Using reliable scaffolding such as Kwik-Stage and Self-Lock systems from a film set scaffolding supplier in South Africa, the film industry reaps a sizeable benefit in terms of time saving, less man power and ultimately lowered costs. Couple this with a favourable exchange rate and dramatically different types of scenery within close proximity to one another; South Africa is a prime location for successful film production.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) is a Cape Town scaffolding contractor supplying scaffolding to the film industry for film sets, as well as supplying a host of other products and services to clients for construction and formwork, special events and other needs.

FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa – Scaffold and Formwork Contractors

The FIFA World Cup 2010 Football Tournament (Soccer World Cup to South Africans) is a mere 20 months away and South Africa is truly abuzz with preparations. There is an enormous amount of pressure on South Africa to execute a successful and memorable tournament and work has begun in full force to ensure that the tournament is fault-free.

Construction and Scaffolding is Key
The construction sector is booming and reaping the benefits of these preparations as stadiums are built along with new roads and freeways. Buildings, suburbs and districts are being renovated to create an attractive, first-world image of South Africa to visiting foreigners and television audiences from around the world.

Scaffolding is imperative to the preparatory processes as scaffolding is required for not only various formwork and construction projects, but also to provide safe and easy access for renovations and restorations.

Roads
The influx of people into South Africa for the World Cup, and especially into the main cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, requires that many infrastructure upgrades be made in these cities. The Department of Transport has been given a budget of R92-billion to bring the standard of the roads up to a level where they can cope with the enormous influx of traffic.

In Cape Town, the freeway system has always been relatively small and unable to cope with the volume of everyday traffic in and out of town. Roads are being widened to cope with the increased traffic that 2010 will bring. Many other cities are expanding their road infrastructure and repairing problems such as potholes. Scaffolding is used to build these new roads and complete the necessary formwork for the new infrastructure.

Buildings and Structures
In 2010 host cities, hotels are being built, old buildings are being restored to their former attractiveness and ‘bad’ areas are being cleaned up. The older buildings that are being restored are a mixture of high-rise blocks and smaller structures and scaffolding is needed to complete all of these adjustments and new structures.

Scaffolding is needed in the restoration process to allow workers access to high and difficult places to reach, whilst maintaining the safety of the workmen and bystanders.

Airports
One of the major construction projects taking place to accommodate the World Cup in 2010 is the expansion of South Africa’s main airports. Over R5.2-billion has been invested in developing South Africa’s airports to world-class standards. Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have seen the majority of expansions, especially Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport which has benefitted from a R1.6-billion investment to develop the central terminal.

The terminal is linked to the Gautrain, a high speed train which will travel from OR Tambo Airport to Johannesburg.

Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg airports have had their existing parking facilities upgraded to large, multi-story parkades to allow sufficient parking for the influx of visitors. R132-million has been budgeted for refurbishments at national airports which will provide temporary facilities during the tournament.

Stadiums
There are five stadiums which are being constructed from new, adding to the stadiums already existing in South Africa. Green Point Stadium in the Western Cape (the previous Green Point Stadium was demolished in 2007), the Peter Mokaba Sports Complex, the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban are under construction currently to be finished for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The FNB Stadium, Ellis Park in Johannesburg and Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane, along with the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in North West and Vodacom Park in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) are in the process of being upgraded to increase capacity and improve facilities.

These stadiums require enormous engineering feats and advanced use of scaffolding and formwork to ensure that the structures are completed on time and in good quality to achieve the maximum success for South Africa in hosting the tournament.

The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world. All eyes will be on South Africa to perform not only on the field, but also as a host country. With current construction underway, scaffolding is helping engineers and contractors to achieve top results in less time, with less man power but with the maximum safety available.

About The Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) is a scaffolding and formwork contracting company providing scaffolding and formwork services to building contractors and restorations currently underway in South Africa.

Scaffold Hire In Cape Town: Construction Scaffolding

Scaffolding hire in Cape Town is no longer sought after as a construction aid only. With new technology available as well as a greater demand for scaffolding for temporary structures used at public events and short projects, the uses for scaffolding have become increasingly varied.

With the influx of international music artists, film productions and an increasing number of building restorations, scaffolding is in high demand. Added to this are the many CBD revamps and the massive building projects being undertaken in preparation for the Football World Cup in 2010, making scaffolding a service in high demand.

Film Sets
Cape Town is now world renowned as a preferred film production spot. There is a massive diversity of scenery, culture and landscape and a very willing workforce. Cape Town is also a top destination for international film shoots due to the favourable exchange rate. With a pleasant Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, mountains, forests, historic and modern buildings and a variety of other scenery, the production process can be made far easier.

The scaffolding being used on set, needs to be safe and extremely reliable as the scaffolding is likely to be on uneven terrain and will need to support heavy and expensive equipment, not to mention the crew! When multiple locations are used, the contracting crew will need to assemble and dismantle the scaffolding quickly and efficiently and without compromising safety. This is where new technologies are helpful because they allow for quick assembly and dismantling without danger.

Public Events
Cape Town plays host to many large-scale public events such as marathons, rock concerts and expos. Most of the events require temporary structures such as scaffold towers and stages for performances and prize-givings as well as for advertising canvasses for the sponsors of the events.

These events are paramount in building Cape Town’s reputation as a world-class city as they are broadcast across the globe and form a basis upon which many foreigners place their opinion of Cape Town. Since these events are filled with people, the safety of the scaffolding needs to be of the highest standards. If there is a flaw in the set up and an accident occurs, many people could be injured.

Access
Another aspect of these massive public events is the management of traffic flow in terms of pedestrians and vehicles. When staging an event where large crowds are expected, it is sometimes necessary to use scaffolding to construct a safe passage for pedestrians across major roads and intersections. Most attendees will have parked their cars in an allotted car park and walked the rest of the way to the event.

Scaffolding aids this process by allowing pedestrians to cross these obstacles and dangerous terrains via temporary footbridges, ramps and walkways. Scaffolding is also a great help in allowing disabled persons to enter an event where there are steps or difficult terrain. Access scaffolding can also be used as a safety precaution on construction sites, helping labourers to avoid uneven terrain which can be dangerous and time consuming to navigate.

Making the Show Go On
It’s not longer just the construction sector that is looking to hire scaffolding contractors. In the vibrant city of Cape Town as in other cities around the world, numerous public events are creating a need for scaffolding for many different purposes.

The main concern for event organisers is public safety and efficiency of work to produce world-class events. Scaffolding and proper scaffold use by trained contractors reduces the risks and increases efficiency at large-scale public events.

About The Author:
CFC is a scaffolding and formwork company based in Cape Town whose products include scaffolding for building and formwork, as well as for large events, access requirements, film sets and restorations. CFC is committed to adhering to stringent health and safety standards in compliance with OHS Act & SANS 10085 and prides itself on getting the job done right, first time.

Types Of Formwork – Concrete Formwork Contractors

Formwork is a complex technique involved in construction which requires specialist contractors for proper use. It’s the term given to specific moulds or receptacles into which concrete is poured to make slabs for construction or actual components of buildings. Once the concrete has hardened to an adequate level, the forms are removed. This is known as ‘stripping’.

There are many different types of formwork which are used in building, for many different purposes. There are three main materials for creating formwork – traditional timber formwork, engineered formwork (usually a metal frame) and stay-in-place formwork systems (usually pre-made concrete systems). Using these types of formwork, there are a variety of different ways to create slabs and structures from formwork.

How It Works
Roman engineers began using slab formwork to complete major constructions which used concrete. The engineers built their constructions using arches and domes because concrete does not have a strong resistance to stress. Concrete only became a popular material with which to build once reinforced concrete was invented.

Different Types of Formwork
Traditional slab formwork uses timber, masonry and carpentry to complete construction. The method works through tree trunks or other lumber supporting rows of stringers which are placed three to six feet or one to two meters apart with joints placed between the stringers.

Metal beam slab formwork is much the same as the traditional slab formwork method, the only difference being that steel is used instead of timber and metal props are used instead of supports. This system is reusable and more methodical than the traditional method. The finish of the concrete is smoother and the formwork is easier to remove after the cement has cured.

Modular slab formwork is created from pre-made timber modules or modules made from steel or aluminium. These are usually produced in a factory offsite and added to construction once completed.

The Table or Flying Form System
Another type of formwork is table or flying form systems. These consist of slab formwork tables which are reusable. These tables do not have to be dismantled and can be used in high buildings where cranes or elevators are used to lift the tables. Once the table is positioned, the space between the wall and table is filled. Tables vary in size from eight square meters to 150 square meters. This type of formwork is a huge saver of both labour and time and is a favourite of construction engineers and architects. However, table formwork is best used in the construction of large, but simple structures.

Because the system is easily dismantled into single parts, it is transportable. The system is built in the same way as beam formwork, apart from these single parts. Joists and stringers are screwed, bolted or welded to become a deck.

Formwork should be placed at the correct height so that there is sufficient space to remove them once the concrete has set or cured. Due to this reason, the support systems of table formwork need to be height adjustable. Adjustable metal props can be used to support the systems. Some use steel or aluminium to insert stringers and supports into the systems, while others use metal frame shoring towers to attach the decks to. Others attach the decks to walls or columns that have been pre-cast which means that contractors do not need to use vertical props, simply support shoes bolted through holes.

Crane Lifting for Table Formwork
Tables produced which are five to seven meters wide with a potential length of over 100 feet are lifted by crane. The decks and formwork are moved to the edge of the building once the concrete has been cured and the crane lifts the protruding edge upwards, the rest of the formwork follows.

The advantages to crane-handled flying formwork include lowered labour costs and a more methodological way of functioning. However, lifting of this nature requires extremely advanced cranes to function, which can be expensive.

Elevator or Crane Fork Lifting for Table Formwork
When smaller tables are produced, such as those that are two to three meters in width and four to seven meters long, these are lifted by crane transport fork or material platform elevators which are attached to the side of the building.

Shifting trolleys are used to transport the tables horizontally to the elevator or crane platform. Crane fork flying formwork is used mostly in the US and Europe and other countries where labour costs are high as this technique is labour reducing, therefore cost reducing. Smaller tables can be customised to suit buildings of a more complex design. The disadvantage of this type of formworking is the cost of raw materials and cranes.

Formwork should always be undertaken by a professional contractor who is experienced and certified in their knowledge and services. Because formwork involves concrete which is heavily affected by a number of stresses, the incorrect use can be dangerous as the concrete may collapse. Formwork has however allowed people to build structures never before dreamed possible and paves the way for future construction.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are approved formwork contractors in Cape Town who use up-to-date formwork techniques and systems to keep their services at an outstanding, yet cost effective level.

How to Choose a Contractor

Choosing the right contractor to suit your building and construction needs is vital to ensure that the project is completed properly, professionally and safely.

Every year, massive law suits are battled between companies and clients due to careless injuries, ill-constructed buildings or projects that miss deadlines. Whether choosing a contractor for construction needs such as scaffolding and formwork, or for temporary structures such as scaffolding and seating at a major event, a client needs to familiarise themselves with what to look for in terms of outstanding qualities of a prospective contractor.

Where to Start
To begin the process of choosing a contractor, a good approach is to select at least three reputable contractors and ask them to assess the job in terms of what they can offer.

If they are a trusted and reliable company with a good work ethic, they will answer any questions asked and give advice on important factors of construction such as materials, time frame, costs and so forth. The quality of the advice which they dispense is a key indicator as to who will do a good job and who will do an outstanding job.

Always ask for a quote and make sure that it is received in writing.

Better Safe Than Sorry…
The next step in the selection process is to assess what safety standards are upheld by a contractor.

In South Africa, there is an OHS Act & SANS 100085 with which all construction companies should be certified. Construction companies should also uphold and follow the various health and safety procedures as outlined by the Act in every construction project they embark on.

Employees should be fully trained by a Construction Education Training Authority (CETA) approved college or educator. It is illegal in fact to have labourers who are not trained in accordance with the SANS 10085 as promulgated in the Construction Regulations, which is a part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act).

When standards are increased by the government, the company should train their employees immediately to meet with this standard of safety. If a client is considering the use of a construction company that is not up to par with these standards, the project may become hindered by injury of labourers or bystanders and both the construction company and developers may face serious legal action.

What You Want Should Be What You Get
Another important aspect to consider when hiring a contractor is to become familiar with the materials and the types of surface work which can be used as a decoration if your project is going to have flat areas, such as a terrace.

There are many ways in which simple effects such as decorative concrete can add a cost-effective and aesthetic benefit. It is a good idea to make sure that the contractor is up to date with these techniques before they begin labour.

The crux of whether or not a contractor is trustworthy, experienced and capable of doing the job you require correctly is how they react when asked for some local references.

Any contractor based in one location or even dispersed nationally should be more than happy to provide the addresses of some previous construction jobs which they have completed. If they cannot offer any references, or their references do not seem to exist, then hiring them is going to be problematic.

It is important that those wanting to hire a contractor do check previous jobs with someone who is experienced in formwork and scaffolding, as mistakes are easily hidden from a layman’s point of view.

Finally, the decision as to which contractor is right for the job should not only be based on the findings of the points discussed above, but also on gut instinct or whether you are able to effectively communicate with them. If a contractor does not “feel right” for the job, or is not respectful to you there is no point in hiring them for the contract as there needs to be a healthy working relationship between both parties.

About The Author:
CFC is a formwork and construction company based in Cape Town whose products and services include scaffolding for building and formwork, as well as scaffolding for temporary structures. CFC is committed to adhering to stringent health and safety standards in compliance with OHS Act & SANS 10085 and prides itself on getting the job done right, first time.

Health and Safety Guidelines in the Construction Sector

Any construction site poses potential hazards to those working on it. Construction safety is one of the most important considerations when planning a construction project. Some rules and regulations are law, others are common sense, but all equally as important due to the high risk of injury and death on construction sites.

In South Africa, the OHS Act & SANS 10085 is a strict set of safety regulations regarding scaffolding and other temporary structures. Any person working in construction should abide by this act and should be properly trained in all areas of construction work to ensure optimum safety.

First Aid and Emergencies
It is advisable to educate all workers on site about first aid and fire procedures. Basics such as the location of emergency phones, first aid kits, stretchers, fire extinguisher locations and evacuation plans greatly reduce the risk of injury and accidents.

Fire equipment should always be close at hand and all staff should be aware of where the equipment is, how to use it and what procedure to follow if there is a fire.

Prevention is Better than Cure
Precaution is a main ally of construction safety. Before anyone enters a construction site, there are a number of precautions which should be observed.

Firstly, no one should enter the site without a hard hat and knowledge of how to conduct themselves properly on site. Hats, gloves, eye protection glasses and proper footwear are vital!

Workers need to be healthy and fit to work on a construction site. If a worker suffers from dizzy spells, a fear of heights, is sick or anxious, they should not work at an elevated level to prevent injury or death by falling.

Proper knowledge of how to lift things can save a person from any possible back injuries. If lifting a heavy weight, use your legs and not your arms and if the load is too heavy, get someone to help.

Safety on Site
There are further precautions which need to be adhered to in the construction industry.

Workers should never use power tools unless they are trained in how to use them. Safety harnesses should be worn at all times when working at a height to prevent injury or death from falling. Any areas of danger should be barricaded and workers or visitors to the site should never enter a barricaded area.

When on site, if having to work around machinery or dangerous areas, make sure that construction workers can see you and are aware of you, to avoid injury.

When entering a confined space, the air supply might be weak and the space could be filled with poisonous or flammable gases. Workers should get a qualified person to test the air of such spaces with a detector.

Electrical grounding on a construction site should be checked every day. When electricity is not grounded, it can be fatal. A construction site is an unstable location and electrical flow may not be set up to normal safety standards, so it is vital that electricity supplies be checked to make sure that the supply is grounded. The atmosphere can wreak havoc with the safety of a construction site. If the weather is wet, workers should use ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent injury by electrocution. Three-prong plugs are also safer to use than others.

Ladders can be a great danger to construction workers. There should be no litter or debris around the base of the ladder or on the ladder being used. A ladder should also always extend three feet above the landing it is resting on so that workers can climb on and off easily and without risk of overbalancing. When in use, a ladder must have safety feet attached to the legs. If a ladder is defective, it needs to be tagged and removed from the site.

Scaffolds should be built according to recommendations, with scaffold planks properly secured to prevent workers overbalancing and dropping heavy loads or falling off the scaffolding. Trenches need to be sloped if their size exceeds 5 feet to prevent collapse and workers should never enter a trench without it being sloped.

Your Brain is Your Best Protection
Aside from all of these precautions and safety instructions, common sense is a big factor when it comes to safety on construction sites.

Workers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a major hazard to the safety of themselves and others. Throwing things over the sides of a building or level should be strictly forbidden as it may connect with another person on the site and injure them.

Playing around and being foolish, running and not paying attention to where you are going will make any construction site extremely dangerous. Open fires are also a major risk of injury as flammable gases and substances are common on a construction site and can catch alight easily.

A construction contractor should ensure that all staff are aware of these safety procedures and are willing to abide by them. Most contractors will mention health and safety as part of their service and adhere stringently to safety standards.

About the Author
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are construction formwork and scaffolding contractors based in Cape Town which adhere stringently to health and safety regulations such as the OHS Act & SANS 10085, and maintain their health and safety standards to the highest level.

Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Sponsorship

Addressing social needs is a major requirement for positive global growth. To make a difference, many corporations have become involved in corporate social responsibility. Many businesses have expendable capital which can be easily used to fund social development projects, or they are able to gain a tax benefit for charitable contributions.

In South Africa especially, the underprivileged in society and depletion of natural resources has become a concern for the population, and corporations are becoming more involved than ever before with investments to help these problems.

Whether through employee donations, investments by the corporations themselves or simply time donated by businesses and employees involvement in various charities and outreach programmes by corporate social responsibility has begun to create a positive change for millions of lives in South Africa.

How corporations are becoming involved
Any corporation or business can become involved in a social or ecological responsibility programme. Many companies are ‘going green’ by encouraging employees to refrain from printing unnecessary documents and wasting paper to preserve trees. Recycling paper is another popular method used to create a more eco-friendly work place. Replacing air-conditioning systems which emit harmful CFC’s into the environment with more eco-friendly air conditioning systems is becoming commonplace as well.

Other methods of companies encouraging eco-friendly corporate behavior include recycling rubbish, forming lift clubs to decrease the number of cars required to transport employees to work, encouraging the use of public transport to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and requesting employees to be more eco friendly in their homes.

All of these things help to reduce a company’s carbon-footprint.

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime
Sustainable development is another positive venture which many responsible corporations have become involved in. Giving donations may be a viable method of helping a local community, but teaching a community a method of sustaining themselves has a more long term benefit.

Companies are now becoming involved in helping locals to create better opportunities for their own lives. Initiatives such as donating books and computers to schools, teaching locals how to care for sick children, how to make money using natural resources without damaging the environment, educating with regard to HIV and AIDS and how to care for the environment are just some of the methods of allowing locals to live a better life through education.

HIV, AIDS, violence and unrest
One of the main concerns in South Africa is the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Corporate schemes are able to donate money to help the people involved in the problems emanating from AIDS and HIV, but helping with medicine will only help the problem to an extent.

Many companies are becoming involved in the efforts to prevent the problems persisting and worsening through education. Education is South Africa’s best chance and weapon against disease, violence and poverty. Through these educational schemes which are made possible by corporate donations, effort and time; prevention is possible.

Added to the HIV/AIDS issues of South Africa are the problems concerning TB, cancer, malnutrition, drug addiction, crime, lack of proper housing, AIDS orphans, child abuse, violence against women, animal abuse, and other serious issues. These problems not only require counseling, medical treatment and other costs, but most of all require education schemes to alleviate lack of knowledge which is a major contributor to these problems.

Corporate social responsibility and social development is a venture which is creating positive change in the problems South Africa faces in terms of the environment and humanity. With corporate social responsibility a company is able to ‘put back’ some of the opportunities they have experienced into the less fortunate. Education is such an important tool for South Africa to be able to thrive, as is treating the many sick, abused, frightened and helpless.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are a scaffolding and formwork company in Cape Town giving back to the community by supporting Ubuntu Africa, a support service and healthcare provider to HIV positive children, teens and pregnant women in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, South Africa.

Guidelines for the use of Scaffolding

Scaffolding construction services in South Africa are a necessity due to the major upgrades of so much of the existing infrastructure in and around cities and the construction of new buildings. With events such as the FIFA World Cup in the near future and the progression of South Africa into becoming a first world country, the transformation of the visual and structural aspects of the country are staggering. Along with these transformations comes the need for reliable and safe scaffolding services and systems through a safety approved contractor.

Hiring a Contractor
Hiring a licensed scaffolding contractor is the best method of finding a reliable and safe scaffolding system to use. In South Africa, contractors must abide by governmental safety legislations and the OHS Act & SANS 10085 to ensure that optimum safety is maintained during scaffolding operations and to avoid prosecution for accidents or death.

From the years 2000 to 2005, there were 3999 injuries in the United Kingdom caused by various accidents on construction sites, all of which were avoidable – with proper care and safety, accidents should be extremely minimal.

Scaffolding Safety Preparation
Before a scaffolding structure is erected, there is some preparation which should be carried out by the scaffolding contractor hired for the job and by the person hiring the contractor.

Firstly, the area where the scaffolding is to be erected needs to be a level surface that is stable, and if it is not, the contractor will need to stabilise it and make sure that it is adequate to support the scaffolds.

Safety of bystanders is incredibly important and if the scaffolding is to be erected in a public place, appropriate measures need to be taken. For example, the work can be scheduled to proceed during quiet periods, during which less people are likely to be in proximity to the structure or roads can be closed through council permission. Scaffolding should never be erected near power lines as this can be extremely dangerous and result in fatalities.

If scaffolding is to be used on a freeway or highway, the contractor is required to have a license especially for this and is responsible for applying for and obtaining such a license. However, the person hiring the contractor is responsible for asking for planning permission from the local council regarding the erection of any temporary structure and possible permanent structures the scaffolding may be used for.

Getting Started
Workers erecting scaffolding should be properly trained in the correct methods of constructing the scaffolding and working with temporary structures.

Before use, the scaffolding should be inspected, and again once it is assembled. It is also advisable that the scaffolding is checked at regular intervals for weaknesses or damage to the structure and materials. This is especially important after an addition or change has been made to the scaffolding. Equally as important, scaffolding should be checked after very dry weather, storms, strong winds and other factors which may affect the safety of the scaffold structure.

Safety During Scaffolding Use
When scaffolding structures are in use, workmen should not store materials on the scaffolding boards. Anything left on the boards could cause someone to trip on the scaffolding and fall or cause injury to someone on the ground.

Physical barriers are recommended to prevent injuries to people walking underneath the scaffolding structure, but using tape to create barriers is not recommended as people can (and will) ignore the tape and walk through. Similarly, if the scaffolding is left unattended, the access ladder should be removed to prevent access to unauthorised individuals. Movable tower scaffolding must have the wheels locked when workers are working from the towers and they are required to be stationary.

With pre-made systems such as Self-Lock and Kwik-Stage scaffolding, the risks of accidents are reduced due to the built in safety systems of the scaffolding. These systems can be constructed very easily and by fewer workmen without compromising on safety. The systems are locking systems which do not allow for any part of a scaffolding structure to become loose and due to being made from steel, the scaffolding material is virtually indestructible.

Scaffold hire is a growing necessity in South Africa, especially with special events, the successful film industry and the forthcoming FIFA World cup happening in the country. Without proper safety regulations and practices, the risk of injury and fatalities is high. Proper use of scaffolding is what will keep the construction and scaffolding industries the successful and thriving services that they are.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are a scaffolding and formwork hire company who use Kwik-Stage and Self-Lock systems for their scaffolding and supply scaffolding services that adhere to strict safety regulations.

Pedestrian and Public Safety at Construction Sites

Construction sites require a rigorous amount of care and vigilance from workers in terms of health and safety. Many accidents and even some fatalities happen to workers each year which could have been avoided through proper application and awareness of on-site safety procedures.

Pedestrian and public safety is just as vital. Many construction sites are within close proximity to areas where the public operate, requiring rules and safety procedures which are equally as vital as for the construction workers on site.

Some of the hazardous elements for pedestrians on construction sites are construction cranes carrying heavy loads, uneven surfaces, falling objects, collapses, heavy machinery and hazardous substances. Every piece of machinery and equipment used on a construction site has specific instructions regarding set up and maintenance, not only for the safety of the people working on the construction site but also the public. When equipment is used and maintained properly, workers and the public will benefit from greater safety.

Public awareness
Pedestrians should always exercise caution when in the vicinity of construction sites; however the first step towards construction safety of pedestrians should be making the public aware of danger.

All sites should display clear signs which are visible to pedestrians, indicating that construction is in progress along the perimeter of the site and at any entrance to the site. At entrances to sites, a sign should also be displayed indicating that the area after the entrance is a hard hat area, requiring the use of a safety construction hat at all times.

Common sense can save lives and if pedestrians are aware of danger, common sense will generally keep most of the public out of harms way.

Fencing off the perimeter
Fencing off a construction site is vital to public safety, and keeping all work inside the perimeter is equally as important.

If hazards are kept inside a fenced location, pedestrians should remain safe. When cranes are lifting heavy materials to deposit on the site, the cranes should not move the material over any space that is not cordoned off. If a crane needs to move a load out of the site regularly, the areas directly below where the crane will be moving its load should be blocked to the public in case anything falls from the crane.

Falling Objects
An object as small as a billiard ball can kill a person instantly when dropped from the immense height of a crane. The same applies for objects falling from the sides of buildings or any type of scaffolding. Whilst the public should be reasonably far from any high scaffolding and danger areas due to those areas being blocked off, construction workers are still required to keep tools on their belts and refrain from leaving any objects close to the edges of buildings or lying on scaffolding walkways.

Public convenience and safety
There are instances when carrying out construction work in very public areas cannot be avoided. Some areas cannot be cordoned off, such as freeways.

In such instances, it is usual practice for the construction company working on the site in question to contact the local council to organise a closure of the busy area at a time when the number of pedestrians and members of the public is less. For example, work carried out on closed train tracks and freeways during the night allows for heavy duty construction to take place without worry of hazard to the public and will not cause problems with traffic congestion and train schedules.

Uneven surfaces
Another element hazardous to members of the public from construction work is uneven and dangerous surfaces and terrain. When work is carried out on the ground, the safety of the public is threatened by the uneven and collapsible terrain. To avoid pedestrians being unable to access the areas needed and causing inconvenience, and to provide safe passage through the dangerous situations on the ground, scaffolding should be erected over the ground for the public to walk on.

Access scaffolding will allow the public to walk across areas which have very uneven surfaces and holes without the risk of injury or death through falling.

Construction safety is crucial in completing a successful project and should always take the safety of the public into account as much as the safety of construction workers by using strict rules and enforcing compliance from construction workers and the public, injuries and fatalities can be avoided to a great extent. Construction work is an incredibly important part of the evolution of the world and its infrastructure, yet is a very dangerous enterprise, making public and pedestrian safety in and around construction sites extremely important at all times.

About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are a scaffolding and formwork company in Cape Town who use workers fully trained in construction safety, making use of safety features such as access scaffolding, adhering strictly to the OHS Act & SANS 10085 and are fully invested in keeping the public safe from harm during construction operations.