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WELLINGTON MONUMENT Apex tops out on the world’s tallest triangular obelisk


Tech trends that will reshape the future of construction

Business Spotlight: Enigma Industrial Services

Lynn Way: The first female President of the NASC

SETTING THE STANDARD FOR SCAFFOLDING The NASC is the national trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK and has been setting the industry benchmark for nearly 80 years. Our full contracting members are among the best in the business, accounting for the vast majority of the UK’s scaffolding spend – with a total annual turnover in excess of £2 billion – and are independently audited every year. For demonstrably safe, skilled and compliant contractors it has to be NASC.


CISRS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement prior to the renewal of all CISRS Scaffolder / Advanced cards. Operatives whose cards expire in the next six months should look to book a course now to ensure they do not lapse. For more information visit 2 | SCAFFMAG.COM






NEWS ROUNDUP Leach’s enters the system scaffolding market after

exclusive agreement with MonZon



13 18


Trade Body signs the Armed Forces Covenant and

NASC president steps down at AGM

CISRS cards go smart with a digital revamp BUSINESS Des Moore shares his opinion on the recent election

result and what it means for our industry •T  he long Brexit debate has caused a decline in construction in London, but what’s it like in the North? •D  omestic Reverse Charge VAT – is your firm affected? • Should you join a Trusted Trader website?





We shine the spotlight on Enigma Industrial Services

and crack the code

We take a look at the latest developments


HEALTH & SAFETY Stuart Pierpoint highlights some of the issues to be

aware of when working at height at this time of year


PROJECTS Apex Scaffolding (Exeter) Ltd tops out on the world’s

tallest triangular obelisk - The Wellington Monument










We speak with Lynn Way, the new and first-ever

female President of the NASC

The scaffolding industry came together in Wales to

celebrate the best in class

The use of non-genuine components is a matter of

great concern, Gary Griffiths explains

Andrew Kitley looks at technology trends that will

reshape the future of construction. Are VR & AI the future of scaffold management?



Welcome A Happy New Year to you, and a very warm welcome to this, the first issue of the new decade. I am genuinely excited to unveil for 2020 and beyond this new fresh vibrant style for Scaffmag. I very much hope you enjoy the new look and feel of this highly anticipated publication, that is not only popular here in the UK, but also around the world. In this issue we look to focus on technology within the scaffolding and construction industry and how it’s reshaping the future of our sector. Our features writer Andrew Kitley gives his thoughts on the trends that will profoundly impact construction in this new decade (see p46). Meanwhile, scaffolding software firm Avontus asks if VR and AI are the future for scaffold management (see p42). With Brexit now a sure thing after the recent result of UK General Election, where the Conservatives achieved a historic victory, businesses can now hopefully plot a more stable course for the future. But what challenges are yet to follow? Des Moore CEO of the TRAD Group shares his thoughts with us on the election and Brexit, and how it will affect the industry over the coming years (see p18). Elsewhere in this issue, our man Richard Trenchard chats with Lynn Way, who has recently become the new President of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC). Lynn opens up about her background within the industry and lays down her plans for leading the confederation forward as its first ever female President (see p26). Our front cover image in this issue shows the impressive 175ft Wellington Monument restoration project in Devon. We caught up with Apex Scaffolding, based in Exeter, to give us the lowdown on the structure and its challenges (see p64). Happy reading!

EDITORIAL Editor Daniel Norton T 01472 476024 M 07776 218831 E @ScaffMagDan Features writers Andrew Kitley Richard Trenchard Design Demot Rushe

CONTRIBUTERS Des Moore Gary Griffiths Stuart Pierpoint MSA Safety Avontus

ADVERTISING Manager Jessica Norton T 01472 476024 M 07776 218831 E

PUBLISHED BY ScaffMag, 4 Town Hall St, Grimsby, North East Lincs, DN311HN Cover photo: Iain Potter

Daniel Norton - Editor


News WELSH CONTRACTOR ENJOYS ‘BESTEVER YEAR’ ❖ BGB Scaffolding is reaping the awards after winning new contracts and achieving a 50% increase in turnover. The firm has enjoyed its “best-ever year” by growing its workforce to 26 people and receiving top industry prizes. Led by Managing Director Ben Badham, the Kinmel Bay-based firm was named Business of the Year (under 100 staff) at the second annual Welsh SME Business Awards in Cardiff. They also took home the overall winner prize, and in past weeks trainee Jamie

LEACH’S ENTERS THE SYSTEM SCAFFOLDING MARKET ❖ Scaffolding tools and safety product suppliers, Leach’s, have become the exclusive UK distributor for the MonZon No Limit Scaffolding System and its weather protection system PROTECT IT. The Swedish made MonZon system, which its makers claim to be the safest, lightest, most flexible and fastest scaffolding system, is now available from Hereford-based Leach’s. MonZon’s No Limit Scaffolding System is completely aluminium and it uses a metric grid system that allows scaffolders to erect scaffolds from 25 to 300cm in any 90-degree direction. “Leach’s has signed a letter of intent to exclusively distribute our products in the United Kingdom,” says Jonathan Månsson, CEO/Founder of MonZon.


“I have known the company Leach´s for many years and have followed their development regarding tools and safety products to our industry with great respect. The interest in flexible, lightweight and safer scaffolding is growing all over the world, which we see in the markets we are currently in. “Through Leach’s now comes our long experience that extends over three generations in implementing innovative scaffolding solutions to future MonZon users in the UK. Together, we will provide our industry in the UK with scaffolding and weather protection that is light and strong to improve ergonomics and environmental aspects without compromising safety,” Jonathan added.

Hargraves won the Apprentice of the Month title at the CITB National Construction College (NCC) in Birmingham.  BGB Scaffolding has also reinforced its partnership with Orsted, the global leader in offshore wind, supplying and constructing scaffolding on the world’s two largest windfarms Walney Extension off Barrow-in-Furness, and Hornsea One off the east coast of Yorkshire. Looking ahead to 2020, the 38-year-old is aiming for a further 20% turnover rise and has revealed the business is now operating on three further sites on the south east coast.

TRAD UK SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY New TG20 scaffold design software in development ❖ A new version of the TG20 scaffold design software is currently being developed. A small team from the NASC is again working with scaffolding software experts CADS, who produced SMART Scaffolder and the original groundbreaking scaffold design software TG20:13 eGuide. The TG20:13 eGuide was one of the biggest changes within the UK scaffolding industry in

❖ A UK scaffolding group has hosted an industry seminar with guest speaker Katie Piper to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity in scaffolding and wider construction. TRAD Scaffolding, part of TRAD UK, has highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusivity within the scaffolding and wider construction industries by hosting a seminar for clients, staff and some of its workforce. The seminar, called ‘All Walks of Life Welcome’ focused on TRAD’s already-positive record for bringing a diverse range of employees into the industry, and highlighted the ways the company is intending to do more in the immediate future, including encouraging socially-marginalised groups like ex-offenders into the industry, giving people a second chance and welcoming anyone into the business. Building on the theme, the seminar also covered the importance of looking after general wellbeing and mental health in the workplace.

recent times, when it was officially launched in February 2014. The scaffold design software became part of a suite of guidance from the NASC that included the Operational Guide, Design Guide, eGuide and the TG20:13 User Guide. ScaffMag understands that the new version of the eGuide is being built from scratch and the NASC team is currently reviewing feedback from the industry on the original software. It’s looking at ways to update and improve the program. The trade body said in the recently published NASC Yearbook 2020, “With the consensus being that TG20:13 is still fit for purpose. Work is focusing on how to modify the software rather than make wholesale changes. “The planned updates include better and more uniform functionality, making it easier to use, while also slightly increasing the scope of the software.” The new version of TG20 eGuide is expected to be released sometime this year.


// News



❖ System scaffolding supplier, HAKI, has announced the acquisition of UK based Span Access Solutions Ltd. The latest development follows years of partnership between the two companies; each benefiting from collaborative working and integration of product lines. HAKI has said the strategic move is aligned with its commitment to provide the safest working conditions in complex environments. The introduction of products like Span Access’s TechniSpan™ – a safe and efficient alternative to under-deck scaffolds – into HAKI’s portfolio will see the business offer more solutions for safer practices during temporary works. In addition to product compatibility, the two companies have also agreed to share design, engineering and technical capabilities. Span Access, now a HAKI company, believes the acquisition of the business will

add significant value to future temporary works projects. Ross Turner, Managing Director of Span Access, commented: “Span Access and HAKI share the same vision for specialist access solutions. The acquisition by HAKI will allow us to offer a comprehensive range of innovative, class-leading products tailored to our clients’ requirements.” Thomas Schüller, CEO of HAKI Group, added: “It is very satisfying to now be able to commence acquisition activities to strengthen and expand HAKI’s operations. We have previously been partnering with Span Access, whose vision and offerings excellently complement HAKI’s product portfolio. Over the upcoming months, we will focus on integrating Span Access into HAKI. At the same time, we are continuing to seek out opportunities for strategic acquisitions, to further strengthen and broaden our offering.”

The North Yorkshire based specialists Acorn provided scaffolding services to housebuilders and the events sector. Past projects included the awardwinning ‘Steel Yard‘ structure used at Creamfields. Howard Smith and David Costley -Wood from KPMG’s Restructuring practice were appointed as joint administrators to Acorn Scaffolding (Yorkshire) Ltd on 2 December 2019. According to a statement seen by ScaffMag, Acorn had absorbed the impact of several key customers entering administration. The company was unable to withstand cash flow pressures resulting in insufficient working capital to trade through the quieter winter season. As a result, the company’s directors took the necessary steps to place the company into administration.


Scaffolder with Down’s Syndrome wins Best Apprentice Award

A record-breaking quarter of a million pounds was raised at the Lighthouse Construction Industry’s Charity lunch, held at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London on Friday 6th December. The cash was raised through

❖ On The Tools has named a scaffolder

table sales, live and silent

with Down’s syndrome the country’s top

auctions, heads and tails, a raffle

apprentice. A staggering 4,500 people

and event sponsorship.  

voted for Todd Scanlon in a recent

All of the money will directly

public vote for the 2019 On The Tools

benefit construction families in crisis

awards. He had been nominated for

and help the charity to provide even

overcoming his fear of heights, and for his energy and commitment to learning in his apprenticeship.

more support to the construction and leading construction brands.

industry, including mental health

According to his employer,

training, development of their

Swindon-based Coles Scaffolding

helpline app and an increased

presented with the honour at the On The

Contractors Ltd, Todd has always

portfolio of charitable services

Tools awards ceremony held at

impressed customers and work

available through their 24/7

Edgbaston Cricket Ground. It’s designed to

colleagues with his professionalism,

construction industry helpline.  

celebrate and recognise both individuals

enthusiasm and politeness.

The 30-year-old from Swindon was


Find this image upsetting? We do too. But with two construction workers taking their own life EVERY single working day, we need to act now. You and your business can change the life of a construction worker today by simply providing an annual company donation. You choose the amount that suits you, starting with a minimum of £250. Here’s what you’ll receive in return; A helpline pack of cards for you to distribute to your workforce and posters to display throughout your business and sites Discounted Mental Health First Aid courses A letter and certificate of thanks for participating in our Company supporters Programme Publicity of your logo on our website if you pledge a £1,000 or more per annum ‘ Thank you’ message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Publicity of your logo and link through to your website on our monthly E-Zine Bespoke graphics so you can promote our partnership to your customers and colleagues

Save the life of a construction worker today, Visit; SCAFFMAG.COM | 9

// News: Trade Associations

Trade body signs Armed Forces Covenant ❖ The National Access and

Forces. The trade body has confirmed

Forces community and have outlined

Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has

they have created a £150,000 funding

plans to increase these efforts in the

further strengthened its connection

pot dedicated to the training of

coming years.

with the military by signing the Armed

ex-services personnel.

Forces Covenant. By signing the Armed Forces

NASC’s new President, Lynn Way

“We recognise the skill set of ex-servicemen and women, which is why

said: “We are proud to have signed the

we’ve created a funding pot to provide

Covenant, the UK Scaffolding Trade Body

Armed Forces Covenant, making our

an extra incentive to consider a career in

has made a formal commitment to

commitment to encouraging Armed

scaffolding. We believe this pot will help

promoting careers within the scaffolding

Forces personnel to take up roles within

them transition as seamlessly as

industry and providing training

the scaffolding industry official.

possible from the Forces to the

opportunities to ex-military personnel. The NASC has stated that the signing

“In the past year, we have begun

scaffolding industry, providing many

promoting the variety of highly skilled,

individuals with a long-term career and

cements an existing NASC objective to

well-paid and rewarding careers

the UK scaffolding industry with the

engage more regularly with the Armed

available in our industry to the Armed

workforce it needs to continue to thrive.”


NASC PRESIDENT HANDS OVER ROLE AT AGM ❖ TRAD UK’s Des Moore says he is pleased with the progress made by the organisation in his two years as President and believes there is more to do to bring the industry on board. After two years in the role of President of the NASC, and four as non-executive Director, Des Moore handed over to a new President at the NASC’s AGM in November. The early change comes as Des’ business, TRAD UK, requires his full attention due to the illness of one of the company MDs. In his speech, Des thanked the staff and members of the NASC for their support during his term, saying that it had opened his eyes to the concerns of smaller scaffolding companies and the need to be more inclusive, diverse and welcoming across the industry. “I think there are a number of challenges ahead for us all,” said Des. “Clearly there is no decisive outcome on Brexit, and we are in the middle of a General Election cycle that is also uncertain. We still don’t know what the effects of these political decisions will be on our industry… so it is particularly important that the NASC supports its members and that we support each other. As a united industry, we can stand together and weather whatever might come our way.” Des also updated the members on progress made against the pledges he made when he took on the Presidency in 2017. These included increasing the representation of women in the industry, rejuvenating the NASC’s regional meetings and encouraging younger people to take part in setting the direction of the organisation.


“The new formats we have introduced to the regional meetings have made them more engaging and that’s encouraging more members to come along and take part, which is exactly what we need. There are now more women involved both in the wider scaffolding industry and in the NASC in particular. And we are succeeding in bringing younger people into the organisation and encouraging them to engage and contribute at all levels,” Des reported. “There is still work to do in improving the perception of the NASC across the industry,” he added. “We have a huge role to play in giving our industry the best possible reputation and I’d really like to see a continued effort from all members to work together.” Lynne Way, Company Secretary and Financial Manager at Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding Ltd, became the new President of the NASC at the AGM.



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Fixed mansard shelter or tent

// News: Training


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GNIDLOFFACS GNITTIF & EBUT LANOITIDART NAHT STNENOPMOC SSEL %47 ❖ A brand new, purpose-built training previous AIS Training / Black Cat Level 1 and 2, Basic Scaffold Inspection GN DLOFFhas AC S GNthe ITTIF & training EBUTcentre LANlaunched OITIDA T HTIW STand SOAdvanced C EROScaffold M %0Inspection 61 centre inIVietnam become inR 2017 and

world’s first venue ready to offer CISRS Level 4 Overseas Scaffolder Training MT Scheme (OSTS) – the most advanced level scaffolding qualification. mThe etsystate-of-the-art S gnfiooR y racentre ropmin eT Vung Tau City in Southern Vietnam dradnats gniwollof eht ot smrofnoC • has been built by Black Cat Insulation 5102.80561 NE-SB Technical JSC in partnership with UK training m 0provider, 5 napsAIS eerTraining, f mumixtoaM • service the training requirements of the erutcurtS muinimulA %001 • lucrative Indo-China oil, gas and gnirevconstruction oc eruces markets. tiF tsaF dellavirnU • This new centre replaces the

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and will help to raise standards for experienced scaffolders across South East Asia and beyond. It is the latest in a long list of achievements for the Black Cat and AIS Training partnership. Since their joint training centre opened, it has proved to be overwhelmingly successful, attracting hundreds of delegates from the Indo-China region. As well as preparing for the new Level 4 OSTS qualification, the new centre is accredited to deliver OSTS

Supervisors courses. David John Adams, scaffolding manager at AIS Training said: “Our overseas partner, Black Cat, has put an enormous amount of dedication and investment into this outstanding facility. “We are delighted our centre has become the very first place ready and waiting for approval to deliver the CISRS Level 4 OSTS qualification.” To find out more please visit training.

snoitpo foor gnillor cirtcelE •

NEW TRAINING AVAILABLE AT HAKI FOR 2020 ❖ System scaffolding provider, HAKI,

(COTS) at the company’s Milton

aligns itself with the organisation’s

has added a new CISRS course to its

Keynes-based training facility earlier

mission to encourage scaffolding

expanding training portfolio, starting

in 2019, the business has now decided

careers, improve skills in the

January 2020. to introduce the CISRS BASE tnet ro retlehs drasnam dexiF foor drasnam gnilloR Following the successful launch of course for HAKI systems. the CISRS Operative Training Scheme

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// News: Training

CISRS CARDS GO SMART ❖ CISRS new smart card system has now gone live after NOCN Job Cards took over from CITB in December. The cards are thanks to a new partnership between CISRS and NOCN Job Cards after the CITB withdrew from providing the card scheme administration services, as part of its Vision 2020 programme. The new cards, which will cost applicants £30, will use NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. When the smart card is

tapped on any NFC enabled device like modern mobile phones and tablets, the cardholders name, photo, courses and endorsements will magically appear on the screen of the device. ScaffMag also understands that NOCN Job Cards are currently working on the next stage of smart cards to allow for additional features to be introduced such as card renewal notifications. David Mosley, CISRS Managing Director, previously said: “We have been

talking about smart technology for several years. We believe the new cards will add value to operatives, scaffolding contractors and end-users. “We are confident of achieving a smooth transition from CITB to NOCN Job Cards as we have been working closely with these parties over the last year and several of the staff currently working on CISRS administration at CITB are to be transferred to NOCN, so their knowledge and experience will not be lost.”  For more information on the changeover please read the CISRS Smart Card – Information for Applicants.



CISRS expands reach into the Caribbean ❖ CISRS Overseas Training Scheme (OSTS) is now available in the Caribbean, thanks to a new partnership between Scaffolding Manufacturers Trinidad LTD (SMTL) and Simian Skill. Level 1, Level 2, Basic Inspection and Scaffolding Supervisor courses will soon be available at STML’s purpose-built training centre in Point Lisas, Trinidad, following a successful CISRS Overseas Scaffolders Training Scheme (OSTS) audit earlier this month. Philip Archie, Managing Director at SMTL, said: “As we

companies in Trinidad. This goes to show the CISRS scheme has

continue making mammoth strides, we are proud to announce

no boundaries with Simian having centres in the Middle East,

this partnership with Simian Skill, through which we can offer

Asia, Africa and now the Americas.

CISRS scaffold training in Trinidad, setting the pace for the transformation of the scaffolding industry in the Americas.”

“This centre is finished to a very high standard, with excellent space for training delivery and first rate practical and

Ian Fyall, Managing Partner at Simian Skill, said: “We are

classroom areas. All scaffolding materials, PPE etc are brand

pleased to open our ninth overseas CISRS partner centre, this

new and meet the required BS/EN standards. We cannot wait

time with SMTL, one of the most established scaffold

to get the training underway.”

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// Opinion

Let’s move on Des Moore, CEO of the TRAD Group shares his thoughts with ScaffMag on the year ahead, the election and how it will affect the industry in future years


o the latest General Election is over and businesses and investors are starting to plot a more stable course for the future. Speaking to our clients in all sectors, I know I am not alone in welcoming the result which, no matter what side of the argument you were on, means we now have a clearer and more predictable path ahead of us, albeit with many challenges still to follow. However, this can only be good for the construction industry, which has certainly suffered during the past three years of indecision and lack of finance and investment. Firms have struggled – several have gone under, and some big names at that – people have worried about their jobs and livelihoods, and the economy has been tamped down by lack of investment and willingness to take on risk. At TRAD UK, we did a quick poll of customers across all our businesses, representing house builders, commercial and residential developers, scaffolding and access companies, the industrial sector and investors. The results were conclusive: We are now dealing with a government that has a plan, and that has the majority needed to carry out that plan.


For all the people we spoke to, this was positive. Share prices have risen on the result; guessing the future is largely removed from forward planning – at least for the short and medium term. The expectation now is that land purchases will move faster, investors will make quicker decisions and projects that have been on hold will start to make progress. For the industry at large, this is all great news – certainly, as I said above, in the short-to-medium term. Whilst we are all aware that there are complex trade negotiations to complete and we don’t know exactly what the lie of the land will be this time next year, there is a lot more certainty than there was at the start of December and businesses across the industry can now make stronger plans in the sure knowledge that we are leaving the EU. As I said in ScaffMag’s December issue, there is no doubt that UK and international investors will now have confidence in the UK’s general direction and will release funds for many stalled projects across the country. Whilst some of the major infrastructure projects – those particularly subject to the political nature of the decisions involved – might still see delays, I believe that 2020 will see a much-needed uplift across the industry. But I have little confidence that this bounce, or ‘spike’ will return us to the pre-Brexit levels and we will need to structure our businesses for 2021 business levels. What does that mean for those of us working on the ground? I have heard from many, many businesses across the industry

over the past few years. I have heard stories of hardship, slow order books, projects on hold and real concern about the future of the industry as a whole. These people are friends, colleagues, competitors, suppliers and customers. Of course, the result in December was a great relief to us all – no prospect of another referendum or more months of uncertainty – just a desire to get on with the job; to get important projects moving and to be ready to bid for the new work that will come in. So I am greeting 2020 with a positive attitude. TRAD UK and the other ALTRAD companies are looking forward to an upturn in projects and the start of a healthy upswing in business and investment across the whole construction industry. Like all of you, I’m looking forward to the stability and economic boost this election result will deliver, but not forgetting that 2021, in my view, is where the real challenges lie and we should proceed with optimistic caution.



// Business

Many London based construction companies are posting losses on their end of year tax accounts


BREXIT DEBATE: THE DECLINE OF CONSTRUCTION IN LONDON With Brexit on everyone’s lips and a construction industry declining in London, it’s easy to put the two together. However, when you look at construction as a UK industry, how is it faring? Is it just the south that is struggling or is it as dire in the north? We take a look to try and find some answers THE LONDON ISSUE

As the UK’s capital city, London has everything you could imagine, and it has typically been assumed to be a good place to get work. The construction industry had enjoyed the perks of being able to charge London prices, and there was a time where construction was making big money, but this has slowly declined as concerns and fears over Brexit have increased. Many big construction companies are posting losses on their end of year accounts, and they are no longer enjoying a queue of people enquiring about work. Instead, they are having to go out and fight against their competitors for even the smallest jobs; pushing prices down so much that some companies are failing to make a profit even when they do win work. The problem of undercutting the opposition has become so bad that construction firms fear they will have to take risks with health and safety in order to pay their workers at the end of each week, and this concern only seems set to get worse.


With the losses apparent in London, we are left questioning whether they’re being felt throughout the UK or not. Interestingly, the construction industry in the north has posted marginal profits, leading us to believe that it is just about coping with the crisis currently facing the UK. However, the gains aren’t huge and construction in the north is considered to be holding its own only because prices are lower and materials are cheaper. The workforce in the north also expects less in their pay packets each week, helping companies to weather the storm better. One of the key plus points for construction in the north is that there is more land ready and available to be developed with new housing. In London, on the other hand, companies are having to renovate existing sites, which doesn’t bring the same level of income and often presents construction workers with problems they need to solve rather than being able to work with a blank canvas. THE FUTURE OF CONSTRUCTION IN THE UK

The construction problem seems set to stay until Brexit is resolved and the UK economy is more stable. Workers from the south are finding themselves taking contracts away from home to pay their bills, and construction doesn’t seem set to improve any time soon in London. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as those who are willing to travel should be able to find work in the Midlands, Wales, and the north until the UK financial crisis has been resolved.


// Business


he reverse charge will mark a major change to the way VAT is collected across the construction industry. It means that the customer receiving the specified service has to pay the VAT to HMRC instead of the supplier, and the customer, in turn, then recovers the VAT under the normal rules. This may have the effect that some businesses become repayment traders, because they no longer pay the VAT on some of their sales to HMRC.

The reverse charge applies to individuals or businesses registered for VAT in the UK and who supply or receive specified services reported under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). Its aim is to assist in the identification and prosecution of perpetrators of VAT-related fraud in the industry. Both the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) had raised concerns about the 2019 deadline, citing research which found that it could lead to confusion and ultimately

DOMESTIC REVERSE CHARGE VAT DELAY – IS YOUR FIRM AFFECTED? The government recently announced that the deadline for the introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services has been delayed until 1st October 2020. Jamie Russell from Perrys Chartered Accountants tells us what that means and whether it will affect your firm

company insolvencies. Both organisations stated that many construction businesses were not ready to implement the changes, as well as facing the added complexities of preparing for Brexit, which was still set for 31st October at the time of the decision. In addition, a survey undertaken by the FMB showed that 69 per cent of construction SMEs had not even heard of the new reverse charge. However, it’s now essential that affected companies plan ahead for the 2020 deadline to ensure everything is in place. Company owners will need to:


C  heck whether the reverse charge affects sales, purchases or both – HMRC has published a flowchart to help determine this ● M  ake sure accounting systems and software are updated to handle the change ● C  onsider whether the reverse charge will have cash flow implications ● M  ake sure any employees dealing with VAT accounting understand how the reverse charge will operate ● R  eview contracts with sub-contractors to see if the reverse charge will apply to services you receive from them. ■ ●

DO TRUSTED TRADER SITES HELP BUSINESS BOOM? When you are considering new ways of gaining business should you join a Trusted Trader site? MyBuilder and Checkatrade are hugely popular with customers but are they the right choice for your business?


Trusted Trader sites are websites that allow customers to search for a reliable, local tradesman. The websites use specific algorithms to share the best and the worst in the trade so that the customer can be confident in their choice. There are three main types of site: ● G  overnment initiative sites that reassure customers by placing traders on council approved lists. ● B  usiness directories that share feedback, reviews and scores so that customers can compare who is giving the best experience. ●B  idding sites, on which customers advertise the job they need doing and ask traders to bid for the work. WHAT YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT

If you decide to go ahead and join one of the Trusted Trader sites you need to make sure that it fits with what will work best for you. If you join a bidding site, you will be expected to pay a fee for each bid, and if you join a business directory you will be expected to pay a fee to keep your business listed. Plus, you need to be aware that some competitors may resort to posting fake reviews and undercutting your prices. You also need to think about the type of reviews that are given by customers. People give reviews based on what was most important to them; how tidy you left the site or even how friendly you were. It is not always based on workmanship, so even if you do an outstanding piece of work you may not get the review you were expecting, and people can be unpredictable.

It can be a gamble to sign up for a site that shares extensive reviews of what you do. For a Trusted Trader site to work for you, you need to hope for honest reviews that show you are a trader that can be trusted to provide a great service. One bad review can damage your business for a long time! SO, SHOULD YOU JOIN?

Joining a Trusted Trader site can be a great choice and holds the potential to help you reach a wider customer base you haven’t accessed before. But we do suggest you follow the advice below to get the best out of your membership: ● J  oin a site that checks reviewer IP addresses so that only one review per customer can be added. This will work in your favour if a job doesn’t go to plan. ● M  ake sure that there is a facility that allows you to comment on any feedback given; thank customers who leave positive reviews and try to quantify any poor reviews in a polite and friendly manner. ● C  onsider the financial implication before you join; are you better off bidding for work so you have a steady stream, or do you want a constant presence and would benefit from paying a monthly fee. ● E  ducate your team on all the different aspects that customers consider when reviewing your business and get them to brush up on their customer service and clean working skills.


Ultimately, Trusted Trader sites can be a great way of getting more business if you are savvy enough to make them work well for you and your business. ■


// Business spotlight

CRACKING THE ENIGMA CODE Eighty five years is a long time in business. Industries change beyond all recognition in a decade, let alone the best part of a century. Staying afloat is hard enough, remaining at the forefront of your sector is even more difficult


evertheless, that’s what Enigma Industrial Services [EIS] Limited has done. Founded in 1935 as a supplier of industrial services to UK businesses, in the time between then and now it has grown to include divisions offering support to companies working across an array of specialisms including infrastructure, housing and industrial construction, energy and power, agrochemicals and food and beverage.  Over the years Enigma has acted as parent to a number of familiarly-named subsidiaries, including Mills Scaffolding, GKN Kwikform, Kwikform UK, FK Multi Services Ltd., Interserve Industrial Services Limited and – most recently – Enigma Industrial Services Limited. The breadth of the offering is indicative of ongoing growth, which is only ever possible when you actually deliver what has been promised to the customers you’re trying to serve.   “Over time our service offering has increased to support the demands and needs of our clients. We embed an ethical approach, high standards and excellent safety record, all of which go some way to explaining why our clients continue to work with us with returning clients acknowledging Enigma’s reputation as a trusted service provider,” Enigma’s Finance Director Ian McDougall replies when we ask what he believes sets the company apart from its competition.  “As one of the largest privately owned access businesses in the UK, we provide nationwide coverage across a range of diverse environments and our services can be delivered individually or as


multi-disciplinary activities; we frequently quote across several sites,” he continues.  “This drives better quality, continuity and economies of scale. The breadth of our services affords comprehensive support to clients utilising one of the largest stockholdings of scaffolding and access equipment in the UK.” While all this may sound as though Enigma’s story has been a straightforward case of linear growth, the firm has faced its fair share of challenges. It also recently underwent a fundamental shift in its dynamic by way of a shift in leadership.  “In October 2018 the business was purchased from Interserve and taken under private ownership with a name change to Enigma Industrial Services Limited. This acquisition was led by CEO Glen Webley, owner and operator of the other related Enigma businesses, supported by his CFO Mahendra Vekariya”, McDougall explains. “The Industrial Services business continues to operate under the stewardship of Scott Hardie, Managing Director, who has been in the post for seven years.” “With almost 1,000 staff across a national footprint that includes 14 separate locations across the country, it is easy to see why the operation was such an attractive proposition for Enigma. A management board of 11 that collectively has more than 250 years of experience in the sectors the business operates, the company has grown by servicing clients and providing access and industrial solutions across the whole of the UK. “Any acquisition of this scale involves an additional workload for many people within the business but the response from every member of staff has been fantastic. Their enthusiasm and commitment has been a huge factor in a very positive 2019 with the retention of all our existing customers, suppliers and people which have been added to in our first year as Enigma.” Enigma-IS recognises the increased focus on Corporate & Social Responsibility (CSR) as a great example of how the business continues to change. CSR is now viewed as near-essential to make sure

customers keep coming back and it remains imperative that Enigma-IS retains the flexibility to respond accordingly. Given the growing environmental concerns within construction and the tariffs now placed on impact, gentrification and displacement, it remains incumbent on companies like Enigma to consider why displacement matters and to diagnose the impact of our business outputs. “We recognise the importance of CSR to our business, our people and the local communities where we work, so our aims are simple,” says Enigma’s Human Resources Director Geoff Hughes. “We endeavour to create jobs for local people to maximise their knowledge and skills whilst providing them with greater access to employment opportunities. Large parts of our business see colleagues linked to working rule agreements where pay is invariably well above the national minimum wage levels.  The conversation moves to support offered to young people from diverse backgrounds in a bid to help them penetrate and impact on the sector. Hughes quotes more than 90 apprentices currently working across Enigma’s portfolio, each linked to a core business value. These include boosting the numbers of women employed within the construction sector, opening up opportunities for all, working closely with local businesses and developing a broad range of policies to promote, improve and safeguard staff welfare. Environmental outcomes remain a major area of focus. “Our policies and practices ensure efficient use of resources by minimising waste, reducing energy and fuel consumption in the provision of services, implementing effective and improved environmental performances using our accredited ISO14001:2015 Environmental Management System, and to measure, respond and report our carbon foot print,” he says. “Where possible we always align with our client’s initiatives which retain, protect, enhance and promote the character of the local area’s natural environment for the benefit of local people.  McDougall adds: “Implementing, managing and auditing our environmental systems and processes sit alongside our unwavering commitment to Health & Safety. The initiatives we have completed thus serve to further enhance our B2C relationships as well as positively impacting our sales pipeline.”  With such progressive initiatives it’s clear that Enigma has already secured a solid footing for further growth and development, as is proven when we quiz the pair on what projects are about to get underway or have already begun.

In addition to the Access business growing organically through contracts in Scotland, North West England and the Midlands, Hughes cites some impressive specifics. “We are currently working very closely with a number of large industrial players, notably EDF Power at Hinkley Point C for the provision of scaffolding services which is a major opportunity for us as a business,” he says. “Combined with our growing scope of works on Sellafield and elsewhere across the nuclear sector, 2020 looks like being another exciting year for Enigma-IS.”



// Interview

LEADING THE WAY Our man Richard Trenchard interviews Lynn Way, the new and first ever female NASC President



// Interview


hichever way you look at things, there is still so much work to be done within the construction sector before anything like equality is achieved. Just look at the numbers if you don’t believe us.  Statistics from 2018 suggest just 20% of people employed in British construction are female. In engineering roles, this drops to 8.7% — fewer than in any other European country. Levelling the playing field will be no easy task. Sexism remains an issue that many brush under the carpet, but perhaps most insidious of all is the fact that many women simply can’t picture themselves working in a stereotypically male sector.   Enter Lynn Way, a professional who is both an anomaly in terms of those numbers and a leading light when it comes to increasing engagement among women in construction.  Having just been made the first female president of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation, NASC, her tenure could do plenty to inspire other women to pursue careers in the industry.   “I first began working in the construction industry just after my brother started his new company, Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding, back in 1996, before becoming full-time in 1998. “The turning point in my career was when we started working on larger contracts. This is when I started going on site with Chris and getting involved with the prelims and



various meetings.   “I then achieved my accountancy and management qualifications, both of which really helped me progress within my role in the company.” Skip forward to today and Way’s track record speaks for itself. Continuing to work at Chris Sedgeman Scaffolding as it grew from startup to major player, she would go on to occupy the position of South West & South Wales Regional Chair of the NASC.  Her recent President’s Report for the NASC Yearbook 2020 expands on how she was the first woman on the Council, and at that time was used to being the only female in the room. Times thankfully change, though, as do rooms. “I walk on to a variety of sites now and people do not look surprised that you have walked in the room,” Way explains when our questions move to any negative experiences of gender within construction. “I can honestly say when I have attended sites, people have been really accepting and respectful.  I can only really remember one instance when a site foreman could not understand how a woman could be in charge of men. That was the only time in my career I can say I felt uncomfortable on site.  I have had instances very early on in my career when it was assumed I was on site to be Chris or Stephen’s secretary, but after I attended sites more often, people started to realise who I was and the position I was in.” The responsibilities of NASC president are far-reaching and complex. Way is clear on her desire to continue the work of her predecessor, Des Moore, who did much to encourage and improve representation of women in the industry.  Her plans don’t end there, though, having set an objective to have scaffolding included on a list of industries for which funds are available to repatriate ex-military personnel, pledging  £150,000 of Council money to get the initiative under way. It’s a noble idea and one that points to Way as a champion of improving access to careers within a vital sector of UK business.  And she’s also clear on the need to provide support and guidance to firms themselves — whether based on home turf or overseas, not least given the ongoing uncertainty amid one of the most economically damaging political stalemates in the country’s history.  Safe hands indeed, and for the NASC, at least, the future looks bright. ■



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// Awards

ABOVE: This year’s NASC Awards was held at the impressive Celtic Manor Golf Resort in Wales


NASC Awards 2019 Some of the best and most respected firms and members of the scaffolding and access community came together in Wales for the NASC Annual Ball & Awards 2019.


// Awards


ome of the best, and most respected firms and members of the scaffolding and access community came together in Wales for the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) Annual Ball & Awards 2019. The popular black-tie event was this year held in the Usk Vally, near Newport, Wales at the 5* luxurious Celtic Manor Golf Resort, home of the 2010 Ryder cup. Set in 2,000 acres of glorious parkland at the gateway to Wales, It was an impressive venue to say the least. The Celtic Manor saw a record-breaking attendance of over 700 paying guests which was 300 more than last year’s awards held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Members of the scaffolding and access community converged at the Celtic Manor to celebrate the very best in the scaffolding and access industry on Friday 22 November. The much-anticipated annual event is growing year-on-year, so much so, according to event organisers at the NASC, the


confederation is now finding it difficult to seek future venues large enough to accommodate the sheer amount of its guests. However, it has been confirmed the 2020 Annual Ball & Awards will be held in Park Lane, London. A champagne reception awaited guests on arrival at this year’s event, followed by a fine-dining three-course meal and live music from Rockabellas and The Brotherhood. TV star, Comedian and Actor Sean Lock was the surprise guest and host for the 2019 NASC Awards. Lock, who is well known for his appearances on Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown made a number of well-received one-liners throughout the night. Most notable which had many in hysterics was: “Where would we be without scaffolders? Well, we’d be living in bungalows for a start.” During the evening a charity auction was held where guests submitted dozens of bids for a host of lots that included luxury getaways and sports memorabilia. The auction helped raise more than £50,000 on the night, which was split between The Royal British Legion and Lighthouse Construction Charity.





● GKR Scaffolding Ltd (Winner)

●E  A Scaffolding & Systems Ltd

● GKR Scaffolding Ltd (Winner)

●B  enchmark Scaffolding Ltd (Runner up)

(Winner) ● CCS Scaffolding Ltd (Runner up)

●C  ape Industrial Services Ltd (Runner up) ● TRAD Scaffolding Co. Ltd

● Palmers Scaffolding Ltd (Runner up)

●C  onnolly Scaffolding Ltd (Highly

● JDC Scaffolding (Highly Commended)

Commended) ● Apex Scaffolding (Exeter) Ltd

● Turner Access Ltd

● TRAD Scaffolding Co. Ltd ● UK Access Solutions Ltd

● RPF Scaffolding Ltd

Judges comment: “It is clear from GKR’s

● Summit Marine Scaffolding Ltd

submission they have invested both on

Judges comment: “Working on one of

the development of new technology as

the most iconic buildings in London,

Judges comment: “E A Scaffolding &

well as training their workforce through

planning and design was key for this

Systems specialist work on the Gade

psychological safety. The judges felt

successful project. The complexity of

Valley Viaduct was complicated and

GKR showed great attention to detail in

design was very impressive to the

time-sensitive. The judges felt the

the importance of breeding a positive

judges, but particular plaudits came for

commitment to ensuring the canal flow,

working culture, which was clearly

the operational changes GKR Scaffolding

as well as providing safe access to the

shown in their ‘Share, Learn, Improve’

made in order to take on such an

public, was particularly commendable,

initiative, leading to a noticeable

extensive project and for setting up a

as was the displayed sensitivity with

decrease in incidents. This is why GKR

dedicated service of management and

the preservation of the local

Scaffolding are the winners of the NASC

safety professionals. This is the largest

environment. Congratulations to E A

Health & Safety award.”

construction project in Europe of its kind

Scaffolding & Systems – truly inspiring

and one of the most challenging

and a worthy winner of this NASC

projects for this company. GKR

Project of the Year category.”

Scaffolding are worthy winners of the NASC 2019 Project of the Year.”


// Awards




● Layher Ltd (Flexbeam) (Winner)

●H  igh Peak Scaffolding Ltd –

● Apex Scaffolding (Exeter) Ltd (Winner)

● Layher Ltd (SIM) (Runner up)

● RBS Scaffolding Ltd (Runner up)

● Cape Industrial Services Ltd

Edward Oldridge (Winner) ●C  rossway Scaffolding (Elland) Ltd

● ASC (Edinburgh) Ltd

● Layher Ltd (Steel deck)

– Jordan Walsh (Runner up) ●C  onnect Scaffolding Ltd –

Judges comment: “Layher’s Flex Beam

Joshua Britton ●T  RAD Scaffolding Co. Ltd –

● CCS Scaffolding Ltd Judges comment: “It was clear from

has gone through a high level of design,

Apex Scaffolding’s submission that this

testing and quality assurance. The

company is taking a proactive approach

judges thought the innovative adaption

to health and safety, continually

of the plank beam was clever and was a

Judges comment: “During his time at

developing their systems and processes

marked improvement on an existing

High Peak Scaffolding, Edward has fully

to ensure the highest standards. Weekly

product. They felt it presents a better,

embraced his training and onsite

meetings and the employment of a

safer way of solving common problems,

experience. Feedback from Edward’s

full-time scaffold inspector, as well as

and provides innovative solutions for

employer, clients, his apprenticeship

inviting members of the workforce to

suspended scaffolding, gantry

officer and tutors was all extremely

attend management meetings, showed

scaffolding and other alternative

positive. The judges felt Edward’s work

an excellent commitment to safety

bridging solutions. All key factors in this

ethic was outstanding. He enjoys helping

from grass roots level all the way to the

Layher entry being awarded the NASC

others and is not afraid to ask questions

top. The judges unanimously felt Apex

2019 innovation of the year.”

to develop himself; an aptitude that

Stephanie Betts

Scaffolding (Exeter) Ltd.’s entry was a

makes Edward an invaluable asset to his

clear winner and they are worthy

employer, and a worthy winner of the

winners of this Health & Safety award.”

NASC 2019 Apprentice of the Year.”

NASC PRESIDENT’S AWARD ●C  rossway Scaffolding (Elland) Ltd (Winner)

positive impact was both clear and sustainable, and the range of evidence

● Star Scaffolding Ltd (Runner up)

provided to support the submission was

● ASC (Edinburgh) Ltd

also superb. The judge felt that being

● Apex Scaffolding (Exeter) Ltd

positive and open about mental health is good for the industry and he was


Judges comment: “Crossway Scaffolding

impressed with the efforts overall.

(Elland) Ltd.’s submission was excellent.

Congratulations to everyone at Crossway

Their journey to improving mental health

Scaffolding (Elland) for their work in

support and developing a multi-faceted

supporting former NASC President, Des

approach was very impressive. The

Moore’s, objectives.”


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// Systems




READ LABEL Using only genuine components should be a matter of great concern, as Gary Griffiths, MD of UKSSH explains.


// Systems


t may be one of the oldest grouses in the construction industry, but the need to flush out and banish bad copycat scaffold systems has as much to do with Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) and safe systems of work, as it does commercial concerns. I have no problem with fair competition and freedom of choice. Put me in a supermarket and I will buy own brand baked beans because I prefer the taste and may save a few pence. However, tell me that one tin in every thousand will contain a potentially harmful ingredient and would I make the same choice? Not a chance. A small cost saving would bear no weight against the potential risk to the lives of my family. The same comparison can be applied to bad copycat access systems. They may at first look the same, they may be cheaper to buy or hire, yet they could also contain potential flaws which can lead to the failure of scaffold and injury or even loss of life. That’s why UK System Scaffold Hire only use genuine HAKI components. The lesson in both cases must be to “read the label” and consider just as much what it doesn’t say as what it does! CDM Regulations place emphasis on planning and managing risk throughout the construction process.  Combine that with corporate manslaughter legislation and the construction industry should, by now, have sat up and taken notice. The planning, erection and dismantling of scaffolding is subject to the same stringent CDM regulations as the permanent structure under construction.  To put it bluntly, regulations and legislation place an overriding burden on scaffold companies to prove that they have done everything reasonably possible to ensure that their designs are robust and the components they use are fit for purpose.  Given this imperative, it’s incredible how many scaffold companies supplement their stocks by hiring


components that have no provenance. Whether or not the decision to hire copycat systems is made unwittingly, do these contractors appreciate the real extent of the gamble they are taking? One weak component, one substandard weld, one length of tube made from an inferior steel, can compromise the integrity of an entire structure, possibly leading to collapse with the result that lives can be lost. UK System Scaffold Hire choose to be HAKI specialists because we know it provides significant time and cost savings on major projects where reliability and safety are paramount – for example where suspended scaffold is required or where temporary bridges need to provide public access. Scaffold can be suspended from the highest bridges or built to dizzying heights, and the technology to build in safety can never be underestimated. HAKI has invested enormously to provide peace of mind: even before a prototype is made, finite element analysis enables molecular stress levels to be analysed, so that optimum performance can be guaranteed while using the minimum quantity of metal. A combination which optimises strength while minimising the weight of each component. HAKI has developed a unique ultra-high tensile steel which is lighter than comparable strength products and uses less recycled steel, making tubes more robust for welding and better

suited to cold forming. The result is components which are lighter and often stronger, making life easier and safer for scaffolders. Furthermore, each individual component is marked for traceability, which means that you can follow an individual component right back to the steel batch from which it was manufactured. In a world that is becoming ever more litigious, it is increasingly important that scaffold companies ask pertinent questions of scaffold hire companies to determine whether they have an audit trail to demonstrate that their stock has been manufactured to the highest standards and that the risk of failure has been minimised.  So, the next time you are considering hiring access systems, just ask yourself a few important questions:  ●D  o I know enough about where the scaffolding was sourced from? ●A  re the components precision made so that they fit together properly and easily all the way through the project (remember, if scaffold is just 1° out of plumb it reduces the load bearing capacity by 10%!) ●D  oes scaffold come with a customer support package that includes a proper manual and a training facility? ● I s the scaffold designed to meet performance criteria or simply copied to “look the part”? In short, when I send my men out on site, can I be confident that my company will be fully compliant with CDM? ■

Public Access Staircases


Public Access Bridges Loading Towers Site Staircases Compact Staircases Suspended Scaffold Birdcages Temporary Shelters Temporary Buildings

Develop a partnership with UK System Scaffold Hire and we can help you to lower project costs and raise profitability. From concept… to design… to trial erections… to training… to delivery, UKSSH are there to support you every step of the way. With over 150 years of collective knowhow and experience, substantial stocks and a commitment to excellence, you can trust UKSSH to get it right every time. To find out more visit


Raising standards

delivering total peace of mind

Telephone: 01246 820900 or e-mail: UK System Scaffold Hire Limited, Meadow House Way, Buttermilk Lane, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S44 6AE

// Systems

NEW INNOVATIONS Well-established worldwide for its range of modular scaffolding and temporary weather protection systems, Layher Ltd has now added two new tower designs to its choice of equipment, which are both set to offer users solutions to short term access needs


he launch of the Layher Solo Mobile Aluminium Tower and the Layher Heavy Duty XL Tower offers simple transportation and installation features and brings the company’s safe and proven technology to the precise work location. The innovations underline the company’s standing in the industry, as recently highlighted by it winning prestigious awards at the annual NASC Ball. Sean Pike, Layher’s UK Managing Director, draws attention to key factors associated with each innovation. “As the name suggests, our new Solo Mobile Aluminium Tower has been developed for transport, assembly and use by just one worker, which optimises its speed and versatility in use,” he says. “A full set of Solo Tower components can be loaded into a small van, with some then used to create an initial transport trolley that enables the Solo Tower to be moved easily to the desired location.” He goes on to point out that the trolley format has been developed to pass comfortably


through standard doorways. The Layher Solo Tower is available in three lightweight component packages that allow assembly up to a working height of 6.15 metres. One-man construction is achieved via the ‘3T method’ – whereby the operative rises through the trapdoor of the structure at each level. “With the benefit of a snap-on claw design, construction is tool-free and automatically creates safe working areas,” continues Sean Pike. “Simplicity of erection is enhanced by pre-connected toe-boards, which unfold into position on all four sides, together with preassembled double guard rails that meet the requirements of industry and work safety regulations.” Once erected, a working area of 0.75m x 1.13m becomes available, which is sufficient for safe work at locations requiring short term access. When in position, a combination of locking wheels and telescopic stabilisers optimises the stability of the Layher Solo Tower for use on a wide range of ground conditions, including uneven surfaces. A load capacity of 2.0kN/m² on the maximum of one working level is achieved by a design that also meets

the European standard DIN EN 1004:2005 for mobile work platforms. Alongside this, the company’s new Heavy Duty Tower XL enables a structure with a 2MN load capacity – equivalent to 200 tonnes – to be easily constructed by simply adding just a few components to the Layher Allround system. “Partially or fully completed, the Heavy Duty Tower XL can then be readily positioned by crane – although none is required for the assembly process itself,” Sean Pike explains, “while, once again, a range of ground conditions can be accommodated using the adjustable base plate.” The tower, which provides a working area of 1.57m X 1.57m, is ideal for applications such as working scaffolds, bridges and, in particular, formwork and falsework installations. Layher has a track record that has also now been acknowledged thanks to the company achieving the acclaimed Innovation of the Year award for its new aluminium FlexBeam development, in front of 700 VIP guests at the recent National Access and Scaffolding Confederation Annual Ball and Awards ceremony. Designed for suspended, cantilevered and gantry scaffolds, the FlexBeam

achieves a 40% higher bending load capacity and lower construction heights. Additionally, the company was delighted to have been awarded the runner-up position in the same category, with its Scaffold Information Management (SIM®) software. “This builds on our established LayPLAN and LayPLAN CAD facilities to create 3D visualisations which can be seen either through a wearable VR headset or on screen, with key information outputs, such as material needs, weights and logistical details then generated,” continues Sean Pike. The award-winning developments, and the two new tower systems, will each be appreciated across the building and construction industry as well as in specialist fields such as the rail refurbishment sector, and all represent enhanced opportunities for scaffolding contractors and end-users alike. Layher’s success, which now stretches back some 70 years, has always been built on a constant drive to develop existing, or introduce new, access and temporary protection systems. “Much of our product innovation stems from feedback we receive from our customers, who often identify areas where additions to our equipment range and support services would be beneficial, with each of these latest developments an excellent example,” adds Sean Pike. “By also committing fully to the UK market – not least through the opening of our latest depot in West Bromwich, which will operate in conjunction with existing facilities in Scotland, Ireland, Yorkshire and our Letchworth head office – we believe that both we, and our customers, are well placed to address both challenges and opportunities in the future,” he concludes. ■


// Tech


Are VR and AI the future for scaffold management? Despite growing IT investment across the board, reported at $10 billion*, the construction industry still lacks an integrated solution for scaffolding work management


// Tech


ragmented digital tools, such as CAD software for design, inventory software for asset management and procurement, and accounting tools for finance, often result in data silos. This scattered environment makes it difficult for you to compile and share project information to all stakeholders. For scaffolding firms, data management is extremely critical to align all project stakeholders, especially between field and office teams, throughout the project phases. According to a recent Construction Disconnected report** by PlanGrid and the consulting company FMI, poor data and miscommunication account for 14+ hours of productivity loss per person every week and $31.3 billion of rework in the US alone. On the bright side, having a cohesive digital platform can help firms collect and exploit valuable project data to improve productivity and profitability.

inevitably result in change orders or rework, increasing costs and timelines. Not only does the procurement complexity delay construction, it also reduces field productivity. For instance, without access to back-office data, job site crews are forced to use inefficient practices like phone calls to request equipment or materials, which can take hours or even days for approval. These manual and disconnected processes, in turn, mean that accounting teams struggle to keep track of changing scope and material requirements when the time comes for billing and invoicing. When it comes to scaffolding hire, data management can make or break your business. Without real-time insights into inventory records, it’s extremely time-consuming to manage equipment utilization. Failure to accurately track your equipment fleet can hurt your profit margins, as you can’t bill customers for missing or damaged items that don’t get accounted for. With an integrated system built for a scaffolding business, you can automate design and estimates while ensuring data accuracy through all project phases.


The key to successful digital collaboration is having a centralized data platform for all inputs into a project. This gives everyone from crews to facility owners complete visibility into the project plan and expected outcomes. By bringing advanced data capabilities to the job site, you can empower teams to work smarter and faster, rather than searching for project information or dealing with change orders and rework. A unified data platform significantly improves the following areas:

From design and execution to handover, every scaffolding project requires a collaborative effort from all disciplines to ensure build quality and achieve the delivery timeline. To do this, it’s essential to collect and manage all the data points to coordinate the project among stakeholders. That’s where challenges arise. Many scaffolding businesses are losing money due to inefficient workflows. Designers and engineers rely on technology like computer-aided design software to create scaffold blueprints. However, the counting of materials is often done manually using a paper-based system and documented in the back-office data repository. Such tedious design and counting processes can put contractors behind in the bidding race. Or worse, errors in materials management can directly affect estimates and quotation accuracy. There’s another problem. Even minor design modification can bring significant changes to the bill of materials. Due to the disconnected data between design and material management, these changes can easily fall through the cracks. Miscalculations



1. Project visualization and inspection To communicate the value of your proposal, you need supporting data that customers can understand: how the design fits with the unique requirements of the building structure, the arrangement of materials, and how everything looks like in real life. This information is also critical to facilitate execution on the job site. Presenting complex scaffold designs on paper is not easy. With an integrated digital platform, you can visualize scaffold models in a powerful new way, and even walk-through them in 3D, virtual or augmented reality.


Visualization capabilities allow for early identification of potential obstructions and unexpected constraints, so that designers can update blueprints instantly. With the right software, any modification implemented will automatically generate a new bill of materials. That way, teams always have access to the latest project scope, making it easier to coordinate work across sites. 2. Field productivity With immediate access to back-office data, foremen and other team members can track and locate materials, and initiate purchase orders directly through the software. Once approved, the updated materials list will be reflected in the inventory management system. There’s no need for manual data entry. This is where design, bid estimates, and materials management intersect. For procurement, connecting on-site and back-office data also makes it easier to track all the equipment moving in and out of the field. If you manage rental equipment, having real-time records of stock levels is crucial to optimize utilization and avoid downtime. 3. Digital collaboration Alignment on project scope helps all stakeholders to co-author the scaffolding plan with ease, whether in the boardroom or on-site. With data compatibility in multiple formats and platforms (for example, between design software and mobile applications), teams can communicate changes or requests for information anytime. Visibility into project data helps to identify potential risks, coordinate changes on the fly, and make necessary adjustments to ensure safety.

Scaffold Designer for design management, Scaffold Viewer for visualization, and Quantify for inventory management. Scaffold Designer is developed to automate the design and counting of scaffold models. By integrating Scaffold Designer with Quantify, you’ll have a complete inventory control solution with automatic equipment calculation, shipments, and invoices. With Scaffold Viewer, a free download for both desktop and mobile, you can visualize and walk through scaffolding models in virtual and augmented reality. Avontus’ integrated design system offers a turnkey platform for connecting your project data from initial planning and execution to completion. This support gives your scaffolding business a competitive advantage in the digital age. Get in touch with the Avontus team to learn more. ■ References: *Jose Luis Blanco, Andrew Mullin, Kaustubh Pandya, and Mukund Sridhar (2017). ‘The new age of engineering and construction technology,’ McKinsey. **Eric Thomas, Peter Schott, Lynn-Kai Chao, Jay Bowman, Jay Snyder, and Natalie Spare (2018). ‘Construction Disconnected: The High Cost of Poor Data and Miscommunication.’ FMI Corporation and PlanGrid.

BELOW: A digital platform can help firms collect and exploit valuable project data to improve productivity and profitability


Scaffolding firms are increasingly adopting design software that features automatic bill of materials to cut down time wasted in preconstruction. This is the first component of an integrated scaffolding project management platform. While construction technology is gaining momentum, few solutions focus on the scaffolding market. To solve the pressing problems in data management within the industry, Avontus Software has built a complete suite of products that unify the disparate fields of scaffold management:


// Tech

Words: Andrew Kitley


Technology trends that will reshape the future of construction In the U.K., Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become a crucial and mandated process to ensure that multiple professionals collaborate on the planning, design and construction of projects within a single information environment. When firms pool all their data, instead of working to their own proprietary drawings, they save time, reduce costs and eliminate the need for rework. In theory at least, BIM is a game changer when it comes to digitising the industry. But with much of the industry still scratching its head about BIM Level 2 compliance, let alone the ambitious ‘open data’ standards of BIM Level 3, has investment into other technologies fallen by the wayside? From my seat at the board of a tech company, that’s exactly what I’m seeing. In many ways, BIM is its own worst enemy; by focusing on one area of digitisation it ignores the incredible array of developments that promise to impact the sector like never before. But what innovations in particular will drive disruption in the near term? Here are some thoughts on the technology trends that will profoundly impact construction in 2020 and beyond. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The requirements for BIM Level 2 are, in theory, relatively simple. They mainly concentrate on 3D modelling with intelligent components, so BIM software updates the model if any element is changed. For many scaffolding

companies, this is where the digital revolution is taking place. Artificial intelligence takes 3D modelling to the next level. A few companies are leading the charge on AI automated design software, which allows scaffolders to plug in the dimensions of the scaffold they require, and the system automatically generates a 3D model plus construction sequencing (4D) and prices (5D). Thanks to AI, even complex structures can be theorised within 5D, saving time, costs and materials, and keeping a project within budget tolerances. Though it’s not an engineering solution at the moment, there is massive potential in this area for machine learning – the ability of technology to ‘learn’ from data without it being explicitly programmed. Computers could learn the steps that engineers take to solve design problems and come up with an optimal solution, using lessons learned on past projects. This would remove a lot of the technical knowledge required for engineers and will benefit projects by making sure that costs don’t overrun. AUTOMATED FRAME ANALYSIS

Frame analysis has been around for years but the latest iterations, like CADS, import the scaffolding 3D geometry and

assign sections, materials and anchors automatically, generating load combinations, assessing topography and calculating wind factors for a site. The beauty here is that you can apply loads together instead of calculating an isolated set. Against a backdrop of tighter margins, automated frame analysis can save costs through decreased materials usage. AUGMENTED REALITY

No longer the sole province of overlays on football broadcasts, augmented reality is another technology that’s making waves in construction. AR takes a live view of a physical, real-world environment and superimposes a computer-generated model of what the design will look like at completion over the top. Users can compare the design model to physical spaces, overlay location data, see the pipes and wires that might be hidden behind a wall during installation and turn all the BIM data into something visual… these are just the beginning. AR is already reducing rework and increasing safety. Scaffolders, for example, can ‘see’ the finished scaffold before it’s even built and check whether the design solution fits the exact conditions on site. It’s easier and more cost-effective to resolve any design issues upfront rather than once construction


// Tech

has begun and deadlines have had to be pushed back. This will markedly improve problem-solving and mitigate the risk of a project being held up if the proposed solution does not work. ELECTRIC VEHICLES

We see it in the form of trains, buses and cars but construction fleets are not that far behind. Many manufacturers are now embracing all-electric power and we can all expect to see more use of electric vehicles and battery-powered machinery going forward. One of the latest innovations comes from JCB. The company’s 19C-1E mini excavator has zero emissions, meaning contractors can deliver work in pollutionsensitive inner-city environments. For contractors, there are huge cost savings to be made if diesel is no longer the main energy supply; for local residents, there’s the real plus of reduced pollution, noise and congestion. Taking this further, there is little doubt that the future is driverless. Volvo recently made headlines after trialling a full fleet of electric driverless vehicles at the world’s first emissions-free quarry in Sweden. The trial cut operational costs by 40% compared to a traditional set-up. Other vehicles under development include semiautonomous excavators and dumper trucks for mining and levelling applications. While we’re not there yet with driverless vehicles, their adoption looks set to take notable strides in the next couple of years and could help to address the industry’s shortfall in labour. DIGITAL SIGN-INS

Everyone carries smartphones these days and you can use them to gain visibility over your teams. Digital sign-in apps let


your labour force log time through their phones, while the phone’s GPS tracker pinpoints exactly where they are at any point in time. You can also set digital boundaries for site workers making sure everyone is in the right location for a job. The benefits here are manifold. Automated time logging eliminates the need for writing up timesheets, and the system is non-manipulable, preventing disputes on pay and overtime. Someone is either on site or they’re not, which makes it easy to stay on top of project labour budgets with ease. Most apps produce a wealth of data on attendance, being late, sick days and so on, so you obtain a granular view of performance. It’s a must-have if you want your business to remain competitive. When building a team, this level of digital ‘spying’ can blow trust out the window. But the positives outweigh the negatives in my opinion, especially when you’re working to tight margins. INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (IMS)

IMS is a data ecosystem where all documents, processes and

communications within the organisation are combined in one place. You can input information once and pull it out across all business areas (site safety, environmental management, compliance, QM and so on) from a single point of truth. Most systems have visual dashboards showing at-a-glance which documents are outstanding to complete compliance requirements, for example. You don’t have to trawl through spreadsheets; you can immediately and clearly see what needs to be done. As well as saving time and money, this kind of digital working environment seamlessly transfers data between operatives and minimises delays between the office and the site. In the era of BIM, it’s no exaggeration to say that IMS is the only way forward for construction, providing the digital backbone for collaboration. LIVE SAFETY UPDATES

Digital technology is not just being used in the office; it’s also making a significant impact on site. With live safety updates, individual smartphones and tablets can be tied into centralised construction management software, allowing site workers to snap photos and report incidents in real time. This acts as an early warning system, creating huge opportunities to reduce on-site risk levels and encouraging people to speak up about hazards and near misses on site.


Wearable technology is no longer reserved for the geeks and gamers of this world. From heart monitors to smart clothing with built-in heating/ cooling technology, there’s a burgeoning catalogue of healthrelated wearables that promise to improve safety standards on construction sites. Wearables includes hydration monitors that detect hydration levels before they become a problem, vibration alarms to warn workers when they are too close to a leading edge, and movement sensors that detect trips, falls and accidents.

Wearables have come a long way in the last five years and construction managers who haven’t furnished them should take a good look at the options available, and how they can help construction sites operate at optimum efficiency. Given their strong safety profile, I expect wearables to become big news at some point in the future. DRONES

Sending Unmanned Aerial Vehicles— that’s drones to you and me—to inspect a job site saves a lot of time and keeps the technician on the ground instead of

climbing scaffold. For example, surveyors can survey vast amounts of land in just a few minutes, and they can undertake specialist inspections ensuring that operatives are kept out of harm’s way. As drone technology continues to improve the accuracy of its readings, there’ll be even less need for human involvement, wiping out a lot of the safety risks on site. While plenty of drones are capable of lifting a heavy camera, the next incarnation is builder drones capable of lifting a heavy load, removing the need for cranes on site. China recently revealed the world’s first passenger drone, and it won’t be long before they’re lifting and moving goods with payloads that will blow your mind. ■

// Products

VIRTUAL TRAINING Managing training opportunities for people who work in high-risk industries has always been difficult. How do you balance safety and education without cutting corners? VR is a simple solution that is becoming more popular with businesses all over the world.


ltrad Services is an award-winning training provider that specialises in VR training workshops and have delivered their training to over 20,000 people to date. The service they offer has been dubbed cutting edge and is being well received by businesses that have engaged with them. Altrad Services began offering internal training to their staff, but as they found it to be so effective, they decided to share it with other stakeholders before offering it to companies across the world. Some of the biggest names in the industry that have utilised their service include BP, TATA Steel, Shell and many more. As their training has become more popular, Altrad is now finding themselves in the enviable position of creating bespoke packages for companies to suit their specific requirements. WHAT DOES THE TRAINING LOOK LIKE?

When considering how to provide


training packages for clients in high-risk areas, Altrad Services came up with a range of VR courses that allow employees to see the effects that poor decision making has in everyday work scenarios. The reality of these poor decisions can be life-changing, and sharing this with employees makes poor decision-making less likely to be a future problem in the workplace. Each CPD session takes up to 40 minutes to complete and the maximum people that can undertake the training at any one time is 20. Some of the topics that Altrad cover are as follows: VR1 – a course that takes your team through a hazard awareness and fall-from-height experience and also a demonstration of the effects of the consequences of human actions when trying to reduce the impact of a fall. Altrad aims to improve hazard awareness and increase the perception of risk with this course, as well as giving people the tools to support decision making and improve human behaviour in the workplace. VR2 – a course that focuses on providing a dropped object experience,

working through ways in which human intervention can help or hinder in these dangerous situations. The demonstration phase of the course tackles the consequences of human interaction in these situations. This course was designed to help improve teamwork so that the workforce can understand the consequences of situations, increase their situational awareness and help them to mitigate dropped objects. There are real-life case studies included in the course content so that users get to understand the repercussions of poor decision making. Military Preparation – a course that helps personnel in the military and industrial industry to understand risk perception and know how to respond in these situations. The interesting part of this course is that users can see through the eyes of a sniper when considering risk, working to understanding hidden killers as well as the risk of explosions and chemical gases. Altrad Services are continuing to develop new training options that will help to keep employees safe and yet still have access to high-risk situations. ■

LOCK AND KEY The ScaffShield Locking Nut is the innovative component revolutionising the Australian construction industry


caffolding is a crucial component of any building and construction work. It is important that scaffolding is maintained properly, safe, stable and secure to ensure not just that the building it is being erected against is protected from issues and damage, but that the people working on it are also safe. There has been a growing problem within Australian industries that rely on scaffolding, like the infrastructure, mining and construction sectors, suffering the effects of scaffolding tampering and collapses. THE MAIN CAUSE OF SCAFFOLD FAILURES AND COLLAPSES

Scaffold failures and collapses are obviously something that companies and organisations need to avoid. When things go wrong with the scaffolding, it can lead to serious and expensive damage to property and equipment. Even more devastating is the fact that it can lead to physical injuries and even death. This is why scaffold collapses are treated as a such a serious problem. The main cause of scaffolding failures in Australia is thought to be the unauthorised adjustment or removal of components and ties. In the past, there were no measures in place to stop this happening. The simple fact is that anyone with the right tool, such as a set of pliers, shifters or spanners, can remove the ties on a scaffold. They were only ever secured with a standard design and size hexagonal nut and pivot coupler. All the tools that can be used to remove those nuts are available on construction sites.


That was until the latest innovation in scaffolding design was introduced – the locking nut, an anti-tamper device patented by ScaffShield. This ingenious component is installed over a coupler nut and has been designed to prevent the other crucial components and ties from being adjusted. It is equipped with an external sleeve that spins, stopping any standard tool from being able to shift nuts and other fixings. Installing and removing the ScaffShield is only possible if you have access to a customised tool made specifically for the purpose, called the Scaffkey. FURTHER CONTROL MEASURES

You may be thinking that as long as an

individual has access to a Scaffkey, they can still tamper with the ScaffShield and the scaffolding. However, as a further control measure, Scaffkeys are only leased to authorised supervisors on site, using a secure register with all Scaffkeys being numbered so they are easy to track. There is no way to purchase or copy them. Therefore, if you are looking to increase the safety and security of your scaffolding and want to avoid the possibility of it being tampered with, you should seriously consider investing in this amazing locking nut. The ScaffShield locking nut, and related Scaffkey, are available from ScaffShield. These two components are relatively easy to use but provide an advanced level of stability and control over the integrity of your scaffolding erections.


// Products



Innovation in construction is now more important than ever. As the ever-growing demands on the construction industry speed up, it’s crucial that product innovation stays ahead of the curve.


eesside based JMAC Safety Systems have done just that with their new MAC LadderGuard, which has been produced in line with the latest HSE Guidelines. As the tagline ‘One product. One key. One solution’ states, the new MAC LadderGuard offers a unique answer to the pain points JMAC say all Site Managers will be familiar with. Since introducing this product to the market last month, they have already secured deals with some of the UK’s most popular house builders, including 5 Star House Builder Barratt Homes, and it’s easy to see why. PEACE OF MIND FOR SECURITY ON SITE

The unique ‘one key fits all’ design removes the need for a padlock and chain, therefore removing the need for numerous sets of keys, which can easily be lost and take time to sort through. The innovative MAC Ladderguard is manufactured using hot dipped galvanized steel, making it a robust and durable system even when exposed to the

elements for long periods of time, and an ideal deterrent to prevent unauthorised access onto sites. HSE COMPLIANT

Designed and manufactured with the latest HSE guidelines in mind, the new JMSS offering will be an integral part of safety on site and features an impressive list of USP’s. You can read more about the latest HSE guidelines here: http:// USP’s & Key Features ● E  asy to fit, simple installation ● I  ncludes a ‘one key fits all’ locking system ● C  an be secured against both steel and wooden ladders ● P  revents unauthorised access to scaffolding on site ● R  obust and durable ● P  rovides peace of mind for security on site ● H  ot dipped galvanized steel ● E  asy to handle with carry handles on each side ● A  llows thorough inspection of the ladder, whilst fitted, due to mesh design


// Products

JMAC Safety Systems Managing Director, Luis McCarthy, explained “Preventing unauthorised access to scaffolding on construction sites is crucial. This could be due to the scaffolding being incomplete, or even locking sections or lifts where certain types of work are being carried out and the area needs to be restricted. “Another major problem we come across is unauthorised access by members of the public. Clients and contractors have a responsibility to ensure that unauthorised access onto scaffolding is prevented, not just outside working hours, but also at times when workers are present but unauthorised to work in these areas. I’ve been on sites with up to 100 live scaffolds, all with different padlocks and keys. We did then evolve to using combination padlocks, but even with this change it was a huge pain point for many site managers and difficult to administrate, and that’s one of the main issues I was looking to solve when designing this product; to solve a

problem we are all encountering daily”. Kieren Cattanach, newly appointed HSEQ Manager at JMAC Group added “I joined JMAC in October this year and seeing the introduction of this fantastic Ladderguard product is a great boost for me in my line of work. I’m grateful to be part of an organisation innovating in so many areas, including Health & Safety. Following on from the HSE Safety Alert Bulletin CON1-2018 on 11th July 2018, it’s great that Luis and the team have responded so fast and created an answer to the issues these new guidelines have created in the scaffolding industry. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team take this product forward, I’m positive it will be an instant success with all principal contractors and professional scaffolding companies who take their duty of care and pride in their work seriously” For more information on the new MAC Ladderguard, or any of the JMAC Safety Systems product range, you can visit their website or email ■

The MAC LadderGuard not only features a one key locking system but it also prevents unauthorised access to your scaffolding



// Health & Safety

We all know working at height carries many potential risks. But as we’re in the thick of a winter that’s brought with it more than the average amount of rain for this time of year, the risks of working at height can increase. Stuart Pierpoint, UK Sales manager HCL, highlights some of the issues to be aware of and provides some top tips to help mitigate risks for those working at height at this time of year.


Tragically, slips, trips and falls already account for 28 per cent of all fatalities at work in the UK, at a cost to UK businesses approaching £1bn per year (according to And while we’re all familiar with a bit of rain here in the UK, there’s no doubt that wet weather can increase these risks, thus bringing to the fore the need for diligent preparation and quality training. Both should always be fundamental to a robust fall protection regime but are particularly pertinent when working in poor weather. IMPACTS OF RAIN

Inclement weather can impact building performance at this time of year, bringing with it issues such as leaking roofs and blocked gutters, both of which can put a dent in productivity and facility maintenance costs. After all, a building with issues is likely a building



that won’t be fully operational. With an increased number of buildings requiring attention and maintenance, we naturally see more people operating at height in potentially hazardous conditions - slippery surfaces, heavy rain, storm debris, leaves and poor visibility are all things to be aware of over the next few months. So how do we safely negotiate these challenges and mitigate risk? PREPARATION IS KEY

It may sound relatively straightforward, but proactive wet weather planning lies at the heart of any robust working-at-height regime. Ensuring buildings are equipped with the most appropriate and highquality fall protection systems is the best place to start, followed by comprehensive risk assessments, including dynamic risk assessments if necessary, and the robust training of all operatives that may need to work at height.

Annual checks and inspections will help to ensure fall protection systems remain fully compliant with the latest regulations and standards and that any proactive repairs, maintenance, or replacements can take place in a safe and timely fashion. This will not only help to protect your culpability in the unfortunate event of an incident but provide you – as someone responsible for safety – with all-important peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that your workforce is as prepared and wellequipped as possible. When it comes to working at height, there’s no doubt that bad weather can bring increased risk, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that ongoing essential maintenance needs to come to a complete halt. By considering these few key elements, we can help workers remain safe, well-protected and most importantly, go home safely to their families at the end of every working day. ■


// Health & Safety

MSA Safety is a global designer, manufacturer and supplier of industry-leading safety products, including its iconic V-GardÂŽ head protection range used by millions of workers in the toughest environments the world over




ur head and the brilliantly complex brain it protects are integral to everything we do – at home and at work. 100,000 miles of blood vessels and 100 billion neurons enable our brains to think, dream, retain memories, and make 35,000 decisions each and every day. That’s 2,000 decisions per hour. One every two seconds. It’s therefore only right that our heads are given the very best possible protection, especially when working in potentially hazardous environments. SAFETY ABOVE ALL ELSE

It’s hard to think of workers without hard hats, but they haven’t always been as ubiquitous as they are today. Before Joseph Strauss insisted on them being worn during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, they were largely optional, and workers died at a rate of one per every million dollars spent on construction in the US (according to Thankfully, due to improved technologies and the introduction of extensive standards, like Directive 89/686/EEC introduced in 1989, and later Regulation (EU) 2016/425, hard hats are much more sophisticated and largely mandatory across the UK. The fact remains, however, that even on a well-run, modern-day site, head injuries can still happen. Falling objects and other hazards, for instance, can do significant damage if the worker isn’t wearing their hard hat. Of course, all PPE has its limits, and it is important to ensure the appropriate hard hat is worn for the specific application. In 2016, Eurostat reported that 254 people were incapacitated long-term due to head injuries at work in the UK; 39 tragically died. These statistics are sobering, which is why helping to protect heads and save lives is, and always will be, the most important purpose of a hard hat. That goes without saying. But we at MSA believe that a hard hat is much more than its hard outer shell. Its job shouldn’t stop at safety. There are a whole host of other associated benefits that great head protection can offer: comfort, confidence,

happiness, productivity and efficiency. All contribute to safety in their own way, but collectively they also help to unlock your workforce’s potential and improve business results. GREATER COMFORT

You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit. Why? Because they would pinch your feet and hurt, perhaps hamper the way you walk, and likely make you a little miserable. The hard hat a worker wears on site for upwards of seven or eight hours a day is no different. Work in potentially hazardous environments can be demanding enough without having to worry about head protection. But if a hard hat is ill-fitting, bulky, heavy, or poorly balanced, then they’ll probably do just that – worry. Or worse, they won’t wear it. A worker wearing a comfortable hard hat – one that’s balanced, fits properly, and works well with accessories – is free to concentrate on the job at hand and crucially, more likely to keep it on all day. This can be the difference between life and death. From a business perspective, comfortable heads also contribute to a workforce’s general happiness and wellbeing, thus unlocking all sorts of benefits for workers and importantly, the business. Not least, improved safety and minimised risk – both of which can help to mitigate financial liability. INCREASED CONFIDENCE, IMPROVED HAPPINESS, BOOSTED PRODUCTIVITY

When it comes to the head, there’s no tool more important or valuable. It’s only right that it gets the best treatment: a compliant and comfortable hard hat that helps workers concentrate on the job at hand and work efficiently. Work on site – whether it be a building site or oil rig – comes with associated hazards and requires both physical exertion and mental aptitude, which is why hard hats need to be adapted to the workers’ task, his or her working environment, fit comfortably, work seamlessly, and provide the highest level of safety. If it doesn’t, it can impact


// Health & Safety

workers’ confidence. Having confidence in your safety instils confidence in your work and a more confident worker typically makes for a happier, more productive worker. Forbes even suggests that a happier worker can be up to 20 per cent more productive. Lots of things can contribute to a worker’s happiness on site, of course. But just like those shoes that don’t quite fit, an uncomfortable hard hat can bring the mood of your workforce down. Demonstrate investment in the wellbeing of your workforce with quality, comfortable hard hats that allow workers to focus on completing the job at hand as safely and efficiently as possible. MAXIMISE EFFICIENCY

Delivering projects on time and on budget is a constant challenge and dependent on many different factors. It’s why, understandably, safety and project managers (and the like) are constantly on the lookout for anything that can make their business and/or project run more efficiently. Well, what if the hard hats your workers wear could help? Wouldn’t you grab it with both hands? If efficiency is a direct consequence of improved productivity and happier workers make for more productive workforces, why wouldn’t you look after your workers’ most valuable asset – their heads? What’s more, add your logo to the hard hats and



you’ll foster a greater sense of teamwork and pride. Your team will be proud to wear their hard hats and more likely to take better care of them, which means you won’t have to replace them as frequently. On top of that, putting your company logo on your hard hat will increase your company visibility and brand awareness. PROTECT YOUR GREATEST ASSET

“What can I say, I’m here. I’m eternally grateful that my V-Gard® hard hat has saved my life.” Those are the words from worker Gary Bendoris, MSA UK Industry Sales Manager, after a hammer fell from 25m and landed on top of his head while performing maintenance works during an OGP site shutdown. Fortunately, he was protected by his hard hat. This example illustrates the case in point. There’s much more to a great hard hat than its hard outer shell. It’s much more than just a hard hat. It’s a lifesaver. It’s a crucial cog in your operation. It’s an enabler of greater wellbeing, increased productivity and improved efficiency. It helps to instill greater confidence and improve your workers’ contentedness. And all-importantly, it’s what helps to protect their greatest asset and most valuable tool – their head. Make sure it’s looked after. Head for safety today at head-protection ■

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// Projects


WELLINGTON MONUMENT Standing high on the Blackdown Hills, the 175ft Wellington Monument is responsible for some spectacular views over the Vale of Taunton. On a clear day, views stretch for miles across two counties, extending to the Bristol Channel and Exmoor National Park




// Projects

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Scaffolding going up on the monument; a brace-free access structure with buttress support was used; the successful close knit team; the amazing view from the top



he triangular obelisk, officially the tallest in the world, was built to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory after the Battle of Waterloo. The structure is exposed to extreme weather for most of the year and consequently has needed intensive restoration every decade – an expensive process given its height. Now after an, ahem, monumental fundraising effort by the National Trust, the obelisk is about to get a serious facelift, with works designed to ensure public safety and aid vital restoration that will hopefully last far beyond the current 15-year renovation cycle. The team at Apex Scaffolding based in Exeter was responsible for coming up with a system designed to keep workers safe at extreme height and allow for public access to the viewing platform, which will remain open during the renovations. Public tours are set to commence in the spring of 2020. THE TALLEST OBSTACLE

“It was decided that the scaffold would be best designed using a brace-free access structure with buttress support,” says Glenn Haines, MD at Apex. “In order to provide a better solution than previous works, we decided that by not erecting full right angle returns to each of the three corners, it would provide materials savings and reduce loadings on the base of the monument. The challenge then was to link a three-sided scaffold. Following consultation with design engineers it was agreed that one elevation could drop slightly to meet its return height and still stay within TG 20:13 operational guidelines.” “Another issue was working in high winds due to its location. The scaffolding will be in place for nearly a year allowing the contractor, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation (SSHC), to carry out much-needed repairs to the stonework and preserve the monument for many years to come. We worked in partnership with SSHC to develop this concept and assist on their own tender process. Early subcontractor engagement was vital in this project and instrumental to its success.” PRESERVING THE IMPRESSIVE VIEWS

Safety is always paramount in construction, but especially here, as the public will have access to the monument throughout the year-long renovations. “We decided to use four Haki M2 staircases as they allowed safe access to the scaffold and are 25% lighter than normal staircases, again reducing the loadings at the base. Two staircases provide access to the tops of the plinth and the secondary hoist,

while the third will be used by the National Trust for visitor days. This staircase will take visitors up to a 10-metre-high viewing platform to enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the Blackdown Hills. The fourth and final staircase is a 21-lift leg burner that stretches all the way to the top from plinth level.” “We also provided a protected walkway around a section of the perimeter of the site using spiral ground anchors which allowed for a flush finish. This removes the risk of unauthorised access to the site.” Glenn added. The obelisk has a frighteningly narrow spiral staircase that runs internally with just three small circular windows at the very top providing the only light inside. For safety reasons, the staircase will be closed during the renovations. Some 30 tonnes of Kentledge firmly secure the base of the three buttresses, which allows the raking structure to extend up to 26 metres high, from which the main tower then continues upwards. A TEAM EFFORT

The 175ft scaffold was erected ahead of program in just 8 ½ weeks by a highly experienced team of seven men, who received a battering from the typically British weather. Glenn told us, “We picked a high-performing team with a track record of working at heights for this project. These guys are really close, and their trust, respect and training show through. People often talk about culture, but these guys really live and breathe the values we share as a company. Everyone pulled together and we’d like to thank Sally Strachey Historic Conservation, the National Trust, Optima, Haki and Hoist Hire Ltd for their collaborations on this project.” “It has been a huge honour to carry out this work for the National Trust. We were delighted to win this contract over our competitors. All of us here at Apex are extremely proud of what we have erected and hope that it goes to prove our scaffolding capabilities. This, coupled with our recent NASC Health and Safety award, means I can happily say it’s been a very enjoyable couple of months.” “The monument is one of those jobs any scaffolder worth his salt would love to erect. It is such a well-known West Country landmark and one of those structures you always look at when travelling along the M5 motorway. Our lads will have the ability to say, ‘I scaffolded that’ each time they pass it or until their nearest and dearest get sick of hearing it!” ■




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ScaffMag The Scaffolding Magazine Issue 8  

A Happy New Year to you, and a very warm welcome to this the first issue of the new decade. I am genuinely excited to unveil for 2020 and be...

ScaffMag The Scaffolding Magazine Issue 8  

A Happy New Year to you, and a very warm welcome to this the first issue of the new decade. I am genuinely excited to unveil for 2020 and be...

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