CFC looks back at the scaffolding industry

CFC looks back at the scaffolding industry

Did you know that our industry spans back over 400 years BC? In this month’s news we take a closer look at the early rise of scaffolding.

From the magnificent Sistine Chapel, the Gaza Pyramids, the Empire State Building to the Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, scaffolds have been in existence whenever there were built or decorated structures.

These structures were usually constructed from whatever natural material was available in the area. For example, in Asia, they used bamboo held together by ropes to build scaffolds and it worked quite effectively because it’s flexible and durable.

With the advancement of industry and the ever-increasing demand for high-rise buildings, metal soon replaced rope to create sturdier and safer structures. Today, metal remains standard in modern scaffolding and can be credited to two brothers; Daniel Palmer Jones and David Henry Jones.

Daniel is considered “the grandfather of scaffolding”, well-known for the many patents he introduced for various scaffolding components still in use today. His brother, David, patented the “Scaffixer,’ a coupling device, which is stronger than rope and revolutionized the scaffolding industry. Then in 1919, he devised the ‘Universal Coupler’, which soon became the industry standard coupling and remains today.

Together the brothers founded three companies; the Patent Rapid Scaffold Tie Company Ltd, Tubular Scaffolding Company and Scaffolding Great Britain Ltd (SGB). They gained further fame in 1913 with the commission for the reconstruction of Buckingham Palace, a contract that set the benchmark in the industry. Colin Poole, co-founder of CFC, spent many of his first years in the industry working for Scaffolding Great Britain.

As structural methods continued to advance, one key element remained a cause of concern – safety. With scaffolds being erected by individual firms, there was no regulation of safety standards and practices.

Today, after many developments, there are strict standards and regulations globally for the scaffolding industry. These include the specification of performance requirements and the methods of structure and design.

At CFC we believe that scaffolding needs to provide a safe place to work from and we work incredibly hard to ensure strict safety measures are always met for each individual project and its unique environment. We take great pride in being part of an industry that has given rise to the creation of some of the world’s most symbolic pieces of architecture and design.