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A History of Scaffolding: Why It’s Essential in Construction

A History of Scaffolding: Why It’s Essential in Construction

The construction industry is never short of challenges. When buildings and structures go up, a seamless fusion of labor, strategy, design, and materials must come together for the final result. From surveying the land, prepping the site, setting the foundation, building the skeleton, and then completing the structure, there is always a complicated process in play. One of the least talked about and yet necessary aspects of any construction (and many industrial sites) is scaffolding. 

Getting into high and hard-to-reach places is just one aspect of construction that we are involved in. Here at C&E Industrial, we believe in high-quality and reliable materials for any and every construction site. So we thought we’d take a look at the history of scaffolding and the many roles it plays in the construction of our buildings. 

A History of Scaffolding: An Essential Piece of Any Succesful Construction Job 

When it comes to multi-story buildings and difficult to reach places, the scaffolding is essential. As many of you know, scaffolding is actually a type of provisional structure that supports the building of the main structure as well as providing the workers with some stability and safety.  

The idea of scaffolding is nothing new and has been part of the construction industry for a long time. There is evidence of early scaffolding being used to build as early as Paleolithic cave paintings in modern-day France. Drawings in the paintings indicated that these early peoples used some type of scaffolding-like mount to reach into higher places for painting on the cave walls. 

By modern standard, of course, these early iterations would not be recognizable or even really considered very safe, but it was the beginning of the idea of building support structures. There is even evidence that the Ancient Egyptians utilized scaffolding as a way to assist with helping with the pyramids. The scaffolds would help them in raising some of the heavy bricks off the ground. If you’ve ever visited sites in ancient Europe and Asia, you have likely seen early structures that were built with the help of scaffolding. 

During Medieval times, for example, the continent of Europe was very apt at building beautiful churches, monasteries, and cathedrals. Monks—not usually thought of for their construction skills—dedicated themselves to building very robust and durable structures for their religious practice. As the Enlightenment period spread across Europe, there were many improvements to the building process and the use of scaffolding continued to play a part. The Victorian Era had scaffolds made of wood and assisted with many of Europe’s most recognizable buildings. 

The 20th century saw the advent of what we think of as modern scaffolding. Yes, just like there was a father of the light bulb, one for the cotton gin, and another for bifocals, there was also a grandfather of scaffolding (although we’re not sure why he’s called the grandfather and not the father) by the name of Daniel Palmer-Jones who realized that the new metal poles introduced for scaffolding were prone to slipping. He and his brother developed a system to fix the poles together to create a more secure structure. Eventually, this led to the Rapid Scaffixes. This formed the basis for the patent and their contract to remodel Buckingham Palace. 

A Small Addition That Made a Big Difference 

After a few years of working with Palmer-Jones’s prototype, the Improved Universal Coupler came into being. This would become the standard pattern used in scaffolding for construction due to its improvement in safety and stability. 

Rebuilding After Major Destruction and the Construction Boom

After World War II, many cities in Europe had been reduced to rubble. This meant there were a lot of repairs and rebuilding to be done to much—if not all—of the continent’s major cities. The demand for improved building systems and techniques grew during the period of rebuilding. There was a large construction boom and many scaffolding companies got their start around this era. 

Get Safety and Security with C & E Industrial 

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is very particular about safety and precautions taken when using scaffolding. Certain building requirements and characteristics must be met in order to comply with strict government safety protocols. Here at C&E, safety is always our first priority too. We take pride in providing quality services and materials to people in the construction and industrial worlds. When it comes to providing robust and durable scaffolding that will offer workers and tradesmen the safety and security they need and deserve, we are here to help! 

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