Scaffolding and Formwork
Products & Services
Since 1985

Scaffolding FAQs

Q: What is scaffolding?

Scaffolding is a temporary structure built on the outside (or even inside) of a building. It is generally made up out of steel or aluminium tubes, assembled together with wooden boards lain horizontally on the metal to provide a working surface/supporting area for human access.

Scaffolding is essential when buildings or other structures are being built or if maintenance or restoration is being carried out on an already existing architecture. The scaffolding is made to look like a skeleton of a structure. It serves as a means for construction workers (and materials) to be able to reach any elevated area of the building.

Q: What is the difference between formwork and scaffolding?

Both of these are obviously used in the construction industry, but for different and specific reasons.

In contrast to scaffolding, formwork can be permanent or temporary mouldings or casings, used to support wet concrete until it is hard enough to support its own weight. In a nutshell, formwork is required for concrete structures such as columns, walls and concrete slabs, where as scaffolding is used for access around a building.

Q: What is important to know about scaffolding?

Firstly, it is important to know the about the different facets of scaffolding. There are three main parts: tubes, couplers (for joining the tubes) and boards.

If steel pipes are used for the tubes, they are usually galvanised, although aluminium is used more often than not due to its economic factor – aluminium is lighter and more flexible compared to steel. Other materials are also sometimes used as tubes.

Because of the safety aspect concerning scaffolding, there are many regulations to adhere to when assembling these structures. The tubes are usually a standard diameter and may then be cut to different lengths.

Scaffolds can be attached to the building with ties, or it can be separate from the building. The latter is not as commonly used as the former, as the former is seen as the safer structure.

It is important to note that scaffolds aren’t only used for skyscrapers or bigger buildings. When, for example, massive renovation is done to a home, scaffolding is recommended, bearing in mind that it is done with the necessary safety precautions in place.

In Asia, bamboo is often used as tubes, with nylon straps tied into knots as couplers.

Q: What types of scaffolding do I have to choose from?
  1. Independent/birdcage scaffolding: This scaffold consists of 2 or more rows of vertical poles supported by horizontal pieces of pipe. This is a one level scaffold. These are mostly used in work with ceilings.
  2. Single-fold scaffolding: This is a single row of pipes supported against the structure and is used for painting or plastering a walls.
  3. Suspended/swing stage scaffolding: This is the “window washer”. A tall structure could use this kind of scaffold, as it can be suspended, increased or decreased in heights.
  4. Cantilever scaffolding: This scaffold is supported only on one end.
Q: What is specialty scaffolding?

There are two types of specialty scaffolding, a putlog scaffold and a pump jack. A putlog scaffold consists of only a single row of standards with a single ledger. The putlogs are transfomed, attached to the ledger at one end, but integrated into the bricks at the other.

A pump jack is a type of portable scaffolding system. The scaffold rests on supports attached to two or more vertical posts. The user raises the scaffolding by pumping the foot pedals on the supports, like an automobile jack.

Q: What is the best type of scaffolding for me?

Hygiene security scaffolding: This scaffold is used where hygiene is a top priority, such as in kitchens and pharmaceutical and IT companies. The scaffolding will have been disinfected and hygienically sheeted where necessary to avoid contamination. Companies who specialise in this type of scaffolding will have ensured the appropriate hygiene procedure training of employees.

Bespoke scaffolding: This is basic scaffolding, usually sufficient for most ordinary building jobs. In cases where historic buildings are being renovated, for example, scaffolding will have to be designed specially. This type of scaffolding may sound straightforward if you know what you’re doing, but it should be done by a fully qualified scaffolding professional. This is because it’s not as simple as positioning work platforms in the right places. Stresses and loads have to be measured carefully to ensure that every section will have sufficient strength for its purpose.

Asbestos risk scaffolding: In any instance where asbestos is or may be present, ensure that you hire a scaffolder that is licenced by the Health and Safety Executive.

Q: Scaffolding hire in Cape Town – how do I choose a good scaffolder?

The following questions will help you:

“Are you a licenced contractor?”

Make sure your scaffolder is licenced, bonded and insured. If there are any bonding or insurance requirements, these need to be fulfilled in order to get licenced. So by following this guideline, you know you’ll choose a legitimate scaffolder.


When comparing the prices of different companies, make sure that all the quotations are for the same project, measurements, specifications and materials. A too low quote may indicate cheap, inexperienced labor or even inferior products.

“What exactly am I paying for?”

The industry standard is for a scaffolder/contractor to supply you with a detailed estimate. You should know exactly how much you’re paying for what.

“Do you have any references I may contact?”

This is probably your most useful tool in securing a suitable scaffolder. Be sure that the contractor you end up hiring has a reputation for excellent client service, good work ethic, and more.



Q: Is CFC a lisenced scaffolding contractor?

CFC (Cape Formwork Contractors) is a safety-approved scaffolding contractor. At CFC, scaffolding and construction safety is vitally important to us because it affects the health and safety of our customers, our staff members and the public at large. With the heavy duty and dangerous work involved in construction, safety is something CFC is not only passionate about, but incredibly strict about as well. We are committed to ensuring that all of our sites adhere to stringent health and safety standards in compliance with the OHS Act & SANS 10085, and we endeavor to remain up to date with all current legislation.

Q: What scaffolding needs does CFC cater for?
  • Access Scaffolding
  • Seating Stands
  • Stages & Platforms
  • Staircases
  • Access Equipment
    1. Pedestrian Bridges
    2. Ramps
  • Towers
    1. Commentary Towers
    2. Camera Towers
    3. Signage Towers
    4. Mobile Towers
  • Special Events
  • Film Sets
  • After Hours Work
  • Special Scaffolds
Q: What scaffolding systems does CFC offer its clients for hiring purposes?
  1. Kwik-Stage scaffolding
  2. Self-Lock scaffolding towers
  3. Aluminium scaffolding towers
  4. Metri-System for decking & beam soffits
Q: What is the Kwik-Stage scaffolding system?

This industrial scaffolding system is modular and has a wedge for all access scaffold needs. The wedge enables erecting and dismantling to be simple and fast whilst still eradicating the risk of having loose parts. The scaffold stays in place without movement and has dependable vertical alignment.
It can be used by bricklayers or any trade requiring a heavy duty type of scaffold. It is also flexible in terms of where it can be positioned, so this makes Kwik-Stage useful not only in construction but also for use of film sets, for special events. Kwik-Stage scaffolding is available in painted or hot dip galvanised form.

Q: What is the Self-Lock scaffolding towers system?

These towers comprise of frames attached to one another to form the tower, which are easily manageable due to their lightweight and easy construction ability and are also very safe. Towers can be constructed by two workers and are quick and simple to use. Towers can be can be built up to four times the base length or can be left free standing up to a height of six meters, after which it is attached to the structure it is being used for. Self-Lock tower scaffolding systems can be used in electrical work, building maintenance, decorating such as painting, plumbing and for use in events such as creating seating stands and access ramps and on film sets.

Q: What is the Aluminium scaffolding towers system?

At CFC we use the Span-Tower and Step-Tower Aluminium scaffolding systems. They are incredibly safe for use whilst being easy to assemble and dismantle. Aluminium towers is one of the safest systems used in the industry, because of its sturdiness whilst being incredibly lightweight. Thus aluminium scaffolding is especially used in the film, special events and sporting industries.

Q: What is the Metri-System for decking & beam soffits in scaffolding?

A soffit is the term used to describe the part of a structure that forms the ceiling or underside of an architectural structure (typically a roof’s eave). Soffits can be made with engineered scaffolding using beams or decking panels, or through the use of coffers which are sunken slabs assembled to create a structure.
With the Metriform system the soffits are reduced, as is the use of different components when using the system. Metriform system scaffolds also helps reduce construction timeframes as the scaffolds can be removed earlier than other types of scaffolds.
This system is most commonly used to create concrete flooring and soffits.

Q: Does CFC Scaffolding also sell scaffolding equipment?

Yes, we do. Our ‘Products & Services’ section above discusses at great length the scaffolding equipment we offer our clients.