Perhaps the most important tip for buying scaffolding is researching the industry standards and which ones are used in the area in which the scaffolding will be erected. The widths and thicknesses of the tubing can vary, which means not all systems are integrated. The purchaser should find out which tubing is required on job sites in a particular region before buying scaffolding to ensure he or she is operating safely and legally. Once the correct specifications are determined, the buyer will need to research the different manufacturers creating quality products.
Many knock-off brands exist, and they will often be far cheaper than the price of name-brand scaffolding. Buying scaffolding from such sources may not be the best idea, however, as many companies save on costs by cutting corners on construction and material choice. What may seem like a similar design may actually be quite different in terms of materials: some steel, for example, is better than other types of steel. The person buying scaffolding should be sure to research which manufacturers are creating high-quality units that are reliable and strong. The buyer should also research manufacturers that offer some sort of warranty should the structure fail.
The person buying scaffolding will also need to carefully assess how he or she is likely to use the structure. This may have an impact on how much scaffolding is necessary for purchase, as well as which additional components will be necessary; the buyer may need, for example, stairways and ladders, or even hoist systems that will allow heavy materials to be lifted quickly and easily to upper levels of the structure. Couplers will need to be purchased to connect the tubing together, and some couplers are more convenient than others in terms of installation and flexibility. Some couplers can pivot or swivel, for example, to allow for greater flexibility in configurations.
It is important to examine how workers will access the upper levels of the structure before buying scaffolding. Some structures feature ladders that run up the sides of the structure, while others feature ladders that run up through the middle of the scaffolding. This means large holes may exist in the walking path of the workers, creating an inherent danger. Ladders mounted on the outside of the structure are safer, but still quite hazardous. Stairways are much safer, though they can take up more space than ladders. It is best to research each access method before settling on a purchase.