From basic paint jobs to window washing on a skyscraper, several tasks require the use of a scaffold or an aerial lift. Multiple varieties of equipment are available for interior or exterior use. Whether you need to rent a scaffold for a single job, or purchase an aerial lift for regular use, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with these product-related terms.
Scaffold – A movable platform used to support workers and materials. Different sizes and types are available, but most are made from steel or aluminum. Many scaffolds are outfitted with safety rails to protect workers from falls or injury. Some scaffolds are raised and lowered by hand. There are also hydraulic models for larger construction work.
Aerial Lift – An aerial lift is used for work in areas that are elevated or hard to reach. As with a scaffold, an aerial lift can be operated either manually or hydraulically. The terms scaffold and aerial lift are used interchangeably in the construction industry.
Boom Lift – A boom lift is a specific type of aerial lift with a rounded platform, commonly used in construction or electrical work. It is also referred to as a “cherry picker.”
Scissor Lift – Also known as mobile scaffolding, a scissor lift is a platform that is raised or lowered through the extension of criss-cross shaped folding supports. Where many scaffolds can move horizontally as well as vertically, a scissor lift can only move up and down.
Plank Board – The planking or plank board is the part of the scaffold that supports the workers and equipment.
Vertical Tower – The vertical tower, or scaffolding tower, is an aerial moving platform supported by vertical support beams and horizontal braces.
Workers need scaffolding and aerial lifts to gain access to high places. From window washing to construction, these items are a necessary part of any such work site, providing access to tall buildings, windows, and other out-of-the-way locations. Scaffolding towers are temporary platforms that support workers, and are either suspended from above or fixed to the ground.
Aerial lifts are similar, but specifically refer to vehicle-mounted devices with hinged hydraulic arms and buckets that lift workers up, as in the case of cherry pickers. Some scaffolds are fixed, supported at ground levels, while others are rolling, allowing for more mobility on the job site.
Companies that sell or rent scaffolding and aerial lifts may also sell or rent vertical ladders, planks, scissor lifts, guard rails, and boom lifts. Customers may also be able to buy small trucks like fork lifts. Dealers may also sell scaffolding accessories, like brackets, poles, and posts. These interior and exterior structures can be made from steel, aluminum, wood, or other durable materials.
Many dealers sell both new and used scaffold frame packages, boards, and other equipment like boom and scissor lifts. They also offer rentals, a good way to avoid having to spend lots of money outright to purchase tower scaffolding, boards, and platforms when you only need them for a one-time project.
Scaffolding has a long history, with the very first rudimentary scaffolding reportedly used in Egyptian times to boost man power in building the pyramids. Consumers can find listings of dealers in their area on the internet, get recommendations from others in the construction field, or scour the phone book for suppliers.