ScaffMag The Scaffolding Magazine Issue 2

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years of success Exclusive:

interview with CEO Rob Lynch as Lyndon Scaffolding turns 50 STARWARS SCAFFOLDER P36

The scaffolder who built the Millenium Falcon in The Last Jedi


The legendary firm are well and truly back in business

virtual reality training P38 GKR launch their pioneering immersive scaffolder training


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EDITOR Daniel Norton 01472 476024 ADVERTISING Email:

8 INDUSTRY ROUNDUP Catch up on all the top stories in the scaffolding sector in one big tasty bite.

32 sgb returns One of the biggest names in the game is back. We get the inside track on SGB bouncing back with gusto.

DESIGN & PUBLISHING Royle Media 07946 610193

20 opinion Is there an opportunity for industry change post Carillion carnage? So asks the NASC’s MD, Robin James.

36 STARWARS Meet scaffolder Eddie Gallen. The force is strong with this one.

22 LYNDON 50 We get exclusive access to arguably the UK’s most respected firm, in their 50th year trading, with a fascinating Q&A with CEO, Rob Lynch.

38 INNOVATIONS New Simian eLearning site & services go live and GKR go all VR. 42 PROJECT REPORTS A round-up of some of the most interesting scaffolds being erected.

48 REVIEW Impact wrenches on scaffolds are here to stay, so get used to the noise! It’s finally time to make your mind up – rate them or hate them. Bzz-bzz-bzz. 52 BYGONES From the early 1880 Palmers Travelling Cradle, to their C21st ‘modern access’ gear like the 1350 Bridge Panel System, Palmers is one of the oldest innovators in the scaffolding business. Take a trip down memory lane. Spring 2018 | 03

04 | Spring 2018



elcome to our spring issue of ScaffMag, I am delighted to report our very first issue published in November was a huge success and was warmly received by many within the scaffolding and access industry. A lot has happened since our last publication, top construction firm Carrillion has gone to the wall and we endured the harsh weather conditions that seemed to last for ever from the ‘Beast from the East’ which according to reports will cost the construction industry £2bn in lost time. More recently however, the NASC and CISRS are under increasing pressure to up their game after the Scaffolding Association announced the creation of a rival training scheme AITS. But is an alternative training scheme the right answer?

another interesting feature in this issue we speak to the Irish scaffolder Eddie Gallen on p.36 who supplied and installed scaffolding on the box office hit film The Last Jedi. We hear how he felt erecting the scaffold for the iconic Millennium Falcon. Want to be featured in the next issue? Drop me a line: Happy reading!

Daniel Norton, Founder & Editor ScaffMag

In this issue Apart from our regular informative sections and news roundups we have once again a fantastic feature packed issue. 2018 marks the 50th profitable year for one of the UK’s most respected firms Lyndon Scaffolding. On p.22 our reporter Grahame Anderson speaks to CEO Robert Lynch to discover the secret behind their outstanding reputation. While on p.32 Richard Trenchard finds out how the once household name and legendary company ‘SGB’ is building the brand back up. On

Spring 2018 | 05

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CONTRACT SPY Modern Access bags Butlins project

Modern Access a division of Blencowe Scaffolding have secured the scaffolding package for the re development of Butlins in Bognor Regis. Scaffolding works are due to start in April. Brogan Group awarded Winchester House scaffolding contract Brogan Group are to be involved in a major new project involving the construction of the landmark building named Royal Winchester House, in Bracknell, Berkshire. The internationally based scaffolding and access contractors will be installing a 70-meterhigh twin hoist and safe access to 20 landings. Work on Coventry’s tallest new build begins Coventry-based Godiva Access & Scaffolding has started work on providing scaffolding services to Winvic Construction during the construction of Coventry’s tallest new build. The new contract will also help to create 20 new jobs. Godiva’s will use more than 900 tonnes of scaffolding to help Winvic construct the new 1,192-bedroom student accommodation complex in two towers, one 23-storeys and a second at 14storeys, connected by smaller blocks.

CISRS hits back at rival scaffolder training scheme announcement T he Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) has issued a statement after the news of a rival training scheme was announced. The Scaffolding Association (SA) recently unveiled their plans to set up the Access Industry Training Scheme (AITS), which they say will increase training and skills delivery capacity for our industry. Within the announcement, SA claimed research into the availability of training for new entrants in the access and scaffolding sector found that one-fifth of training centres were either unreachable or unable to offer training dates. Their research also found that only six courses out of 30 were scheduled to be run in London – an area that represents 40 percent of total construction demand. ScaffMag approached CISRS in order to respond to this proposed new scaffolder training scheme and current training capacity. In a statement, CISRS have said that they felt that some of the information that has been issued in their announcement does not reflect a clear picture of current industry recognised training. The research mentioned in the article has not been shared with CISRS, there is no information supplied regarding which centres failed to respond, which courses were requested, dates offered etc. It is

therefore difficult for CISRS to make a definitive response. Dave Mosley CISRS Scheme Manager said: “It is tricky to respond to these claims without them being corroborated, however, I feel they are misleading and unhelpful. I do not think that the majority of the sector or the wider industry wants to create another scaffolder training scheme as it will lead to duplication of training and confusion, a topic which was covered by ScaffMag last year.” “The proposed new training appears to cover a lot of areas which are already included within the CISRS scheme, with the initial focus at more of a supervisory level. Delivering this type of training will not increase recognised training course availability for new entrants or scaffolders. We are currently working with existing and potential new providers to increase capacity.” The statement from CISRS continues on to say, In regard to training capacity within the London region there are currently 3 CISRS ‘Core Scheme’ (Part 1, Part 2, Advanced Scaffolder) centres operating. NCC Waltham Forest, NCC South and Training for Construction, who also offer a wide range of other CISRS courses. This is supported by local providers such as Simian/Carshalton College and Construction Health and Safety

08 | Spring 2018


Group who offer short duration training such as CISRS Operative Training Scheme (COTS) for new entrants and Scaffold Inspection Training Scheme (SITS). Safety and Access Ltd in partnership with Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College are very close to opening a centre at their Barons Court campus, initially offering short duration training COTS and SITS but looking to offer a full suite of courses in the not too distant future. The article does not give any consideration to the numbers of courses that are actually being delivered. Just taking a snapshot of the London region in the 2 weeks commencing 26th Feb – 10th March the following CISRS training courses will be taking place: n 8 x COTS n 5 x Apprentice groups (1 x Induction, 2 x Part 1B, 2 x Pt2A) n 2 x Part 1 n 2 x Part 2 n 1 x Scaffolder Skills test n 1 x Advanced n 1 x Advanced Skills Test n 4 x CPD courses

Well over 250 operatives are currently receiving industry recognised training in the London and South East region alone. As no relevant information has been forwarded in relation to course availability, CISRS cannot provide any specific response on this issue. CISRS is aware that due to demand some courses are not always available at short notice. However, the majority of the scheme is structured with minimum work experience time requirements imposed between courses, allowing employers and operatives to book courses in advance of the training actually taking place. Training providers will provisionally set their annual training course programme in advance, however wherever possible they will respond to market demand and will often look to rearrange their schedule to accommodate specific training and ensure they maximise centre capacity. CISRS currently has 32 centres across the UK with 19 of them being ‘Core scheme’ centres. CISRS capacity will increase within 2018 as discussions continue in

relation to CISRS provision in West London, Carshalton, Anglesey, Swansea, Weston-superMare, Aberdeen and Hinkley Power Station. The industry is well aware that CITB has announced that they will withdraw from direct training delivery in the next few years. CITB are currently in discussions with other providers who are looking to take over the running of these facilities, which will ensure training capacity will remain for the future. CITB have made it clear that they will not withdraw from scaffolding training until alternative suitable provision is in place. This includes the South East region and also the Midlands and Scotland. Several interested parties are considering their options, however CITB has stressed that National Construction College will continue to deliver CISRS training in the interim period. CISRS are working with providers to help establish course availability and will look to match supply with demand, however, it’s advisable wherever possible to proactively plan for future training requirements. Spring 2018 | 09


SAFETY SPY 78-year-old builder dies in scaffold fall The Police and the HSE are currently involved in a joint investigation after a 78-year-old builder died after falling from scaffolding. The builder from Birmingham was working on the refurbishment of a new Go Outdoors retail unit in South Gloucestershire. 100K fine after apprentice falls from loading bay A scaffolding company has been fined £100,000 for safety breaches after a 16-year-old apprentice joiner fell four metres from a scaffold. The apprentice fell backwards under a single guard rail to the ground below, sustaining injuries including a fractured cheekbone, broken wrist and injuries to his ribs.

Worker falls from scaffolding on Surrey Quays A contractor fitting glass panels fell from scaffolding approximately 4m to the ground below. The contractor sustained serious injuries and has received medical treatment in hospital. Sources close to the incident say a signed off scaffold onsite had been subjected to unauthorised adaption by contractors resulting in the fall.

Scaffolding Industry to grow by 4.9% by 2023 T

he scaffolding market will have marked 4.9 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by 2023 according to a new report from Market Research Future. They report this is largely due to the expansion of both home improvements and renovation projects in developed countries worldwide. Innovations within the field of material is creating scaffolding more robust and flexible than ever before. The fact Steel scaffolding can bear the load and the pressure in all weathers will always keep those systems used around the globe at the forefront of the construction industry. They go on to suggest as scaffolding is used for construction projects, maintenance, the repair of buildings and all man-made structures, this growth will continue. It’s also used of course for major events, concerts, grid systems and even barricades. Steel scaffolding can easily be assembled and dismantled making it cost effective and totally efficient. It’s perfect for irregular spaces generally difficult to access with other types of equipment. The report also suggests the global scaffolding market is segmented producing categories such as supported, suspended and rolling scaffolding, enabling any base to be moved on castors. Among

the various types, supported scaffolding accounts the largest market share, carrying a market value of more than USD 9,700 million. This latest study provides a complete overview of the global market tracking these market segments across four geographic regions. These heavily involve North America, Europe and Asia Pacific along with the rest of the world. The report also provides a forecast, focusing on the market opportunities for the next six years for each region. The safety benefits of scaffolding are obvious of course especially given recent changes affecting design and construction. While the report is welcome and comes with some interesting statistics, this forecast can only be taken as a guide to what the future may have in store. Key players involved in the report include Wilhelm Layher GmbH & Co KG, PERI Formwork Scaffolding Engineering, Hunan ADTO Industrial Group, Safway Group Holding LLC, KHK Scaffolding & Formwork LLC www.marketresearchfuture. com/reports/scaffolding-market4900 for more information

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10 | Spring 2018


Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding Wins Top Judges Award at Prestigious Hertfordshire Construction Awards Event


Watford based scaffold company, Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding, scooped two major awards at a prestigious awards event on Thursday 8th February at Knebworth Barns in Knebworth. The Hertfordshire Building and Construction Awards, sponsored by AIM Marketing and Communications and now in their second year, were created to recognise and reward the very best of the building and construction businesses in Hertfordshire. Alliance firstly picked up the much coveted Health and Safety Award for their commitment to exercising the most stringent Health and Safety standards across their business, then at the end of a fabulous award ceremony they were also awarded the evenings top prize, the Judges Special Recognition Award for their ‘Outstanding Commitment

to the Hertfordshire Built Environment Sector’. Directors Justin Wall and Daniel Yorke commented that they were thrilled to have been recognised for their efforts in raising the standards of scaffold services throughout Hertfordshire. ”We are delighted to have won two fantastic awards at this, our first Construction Industry event, as they each recognise the efforts of the entire team at Alliance, who work relentlessly to raise the standards across all areas of our business in order to offer our clients the safest and most efficient service possible‚“. Now six years old, Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding has become a major force to be reckoned with, having picked up Best New Business in 2011 and Small Business of the Year in both 2014 and 2016 at the Hertfordshire Business Awards”

CONTRACT SPY GKR progress at Battersea Power Station

GKR Scaffolding are well on with the major Battersea Power Station project. The firm has now installed a full birdcage scaffold to the annex at Battersea Power Station to allow the continued progress of the internal frame. Their team have been running on a 24 hour rolling programme. Generation UK Provide System Scaffold For Ninja Warrior Production Set Generation Hire & Sale Stockport were approached by their client to provide a solution to erect the final obstacle of the highly successful television programme Ninja Warrior UK. They needed to provide a 23m high, freestanding structure in order to create the famous scene referred to as Mount Midoriyama; whilst complying with the required specification of the UK production set.

Spring 2018 | 11


PHD bags top award at Construction News Specialists 2018 PHD Modular Access becomes this years Access & Scaffolding Specialist of the year.


t a glittering ceremony held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel over 750 attendees from the UK’s leading specialists firms and clients came together to celebrate the best in construction. Against stiff competition in the category which included previous winners GKR Scaffolding, PHD Modular Access Services was named this year’s Access & Scaffolding Specialist 2018. According to the Construction News (CN), judges were blown away by PHD Modular Access’

entry, describing it as an example of a high-performing business from top to bottom. PHD whom recently became NASC members edged out its competitors with consistently exceptional standards across all the judges criteria says CN. PHD has seen rapid growth other the last few years they expanded from a £10m business in 2016 to a turnover of £19m in 2017. With an increase in work with new clients and repeat business with existing clients PHD expects

to hit £26m turnover for 2018. CN judge commented: ”PHD showed consistently high performance. The company shows continued growth, has a number of highly impressive projects and its clients are clearly satisfied” Danny Dwyer, Managing Director of PHD said: “This award is a fantastic achievement for everyone at PHD who have worked extremely hard over the last 12 months and beyond and should quite rightly be celebrated by all members of the team. This award is not just a reflection on the excellent people that we invest in but also the clients and contractors who we work collaboratively with.”

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he scaffolding sector also saw success from GKR Scaffolding after they were awarded the impressive title of Innovation of the year, for their groundbreaking Virtual Reality Working At Height Safety Training. Teaming up with VR Learning Studios with almost £100k of investment, GKR created a mind-boggling virtual reality environment. By using actual scaffolding structures GKR aims to influence scaffolders behavioural and attitudinal change using a VR world and a set of real-life scaffolding scenarios.

so, they inadvertently lost the trophy at the awards after much celebration. The morning after, the firm took to twitter to announce the mishap in a awkward but humourus tweet: @GKRLtd: Well, this is awkward... has anyone seen our @CNSpecialists18 Award? It appears that we spent so much time celebrating that we forgot to take it home! #youhadonejob

‘Now where did we put it?’ GKR have come quite accustom to winning awards lately so much



afety & Access have announced a further partnership with HAKI to enable delivery of the HAKITEC 750 system from their training facility in Humberside. The partnership will enable Safety & Access to offer a range of HAKITEC weather protection temporary roof courses. Safety and Access say the available course will be of two days duration and successful candidates will receive certification branded by Safety & Access Ltd and HAKI.The training facilities in Humberside also offer HAKI CISRS two day SSPTS Training. On the new partnership Rick Statham, Joint Managing Director of Safety & Access said: “We are

delighted to have the opportunity to partner with HAKI to deliver the bespoke training on the HAKITEC 750 roof system. We would like to thank all of the team at HAKI also for providing this opportunity and for the excellent and ongoing support” “As we see in industry the progressive replacement of traditional tube and fitting roofs we feel that this support service on this safe and quality roof system will be a welcome addition for our existing and new customers.

SAFETY SPY Firm fined after scaffold fitting hits pedestrian A scaffolding company has been sentenced after a scaffold fitting fell approximately 60ft and hit a member of the public walking below. Westminster Magistrates Court heard that on 20 March 2017, the injured person was walking along Upper Street in Islington, London when he was hit on the head by the fitting. He sustained numerous cuts to his head and face, a broken nose and a severely bruised skull. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident. 40K fine for spilling scaffold tubes injuring scaffolder BAM Construction, the large well-known construction company was fined after Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how on 9th December 2015 a pack of scaffolding tubes was being lifted by a crane onto a platform that was two stories above the gantry below. The crane driver could not see the load, and was being assisted by a slinger-signaller working from the platform. The load clipped the edge of the platform and tipped, spilling scaffolding tubes onto the gantry and injuring a scaffolder who was working there.

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Spring 2018 | 13



he benefits arising from the use of Layher Ltd.’s scaffolding during the refurbishment of residential accommodation are being clearly demonstrated in Salford, Manchester, where contractor Silver Star Services has installed a full height scaffold on Albion Towers. The project, for Salix Homes, has required the scaffolding to reflect specific characteristics of the site while contributing to the smooth running of the overall refurbishment operations being undertaken by Casey Construction. “The work centres on repairs to the external fabric and the replacement of the windows on all four faces of the building at the same time,” says Tony Clarkin, Managing Director of Silver Star Services. “This has called for a scaffold of some 22 two-metre lifts to be installed around the entire structure to enable the specialist teams to gain full access to every part of the building whenever needed.” The installation uses the Layher Allround scaffolding design with steel decking throughout – importantly, with no need for cross–bracing at any point, the unhindered movement of both men 14 | Spring 2018


and materials is achieved. Hop-up brackets are also featured extensively while the internal faces of each lift also gain from additional toe-boards installed to provide specific protection adjacent to recesses that are a feature of the building’s design. “The wide bay configuration of Layher Allround helps to provide clear access to the building fabric while also optimising the positioning and movement of large components such as window frames,” continues Tony Clarkin. “A passenger and goods lift and a Layher staircase, rising to some 42 metres, both provide continuous access to every level of the scaffold which is tied in to the building at key points and also provides a support for debris netting.” Vitally, the speed with which Layher Allround can be erected helps the project to meet specific time-frame considerations. “We employed just six men to install the full scaffold on all four faces over a six-week period, which we estimate is approximately half the time that would have been needed with a conventional tube and fitting alternative,” adds Tony Clarkin. “The comparison is even more significant given the fact that the block is remaining occupied throughout the refurbishment process,” adds Sean Pike, Layher’s UK Managing Director. “The noise disruption, time-frame and potential loss of daylight could all have been significant factors for the residents if tube and fittings had been used.” The design of Layher Allround, which is centred on a series of standard components with a versatile, in-built rosette connection

system that contributes directly to optimising safety, has also helped Silver Star Services to enhance the appearance of the installation. With the project scheduled for 36 weeks, this is of particular importance in a residential location. “Our widespread use of Layher equipment brings advantages, such as those seen at Albion Towers, to every project,” concludes Tony Clarkin, “which, coupled with the design and support input from the company, helps us to maximise the quality and safety of our work each time. The Albion Towers installation in Salford is a prime example of these factors in practice.”

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Spring 2018 | 15

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CPD scaffolder training to be funded by employer All NASC members are set to pay for the scaffolder CPD course according to a new statement of clarification within the Working Rule Agreement (WRA).


he requirement for Scaffolders and Advanced Scaffolders to complete the mandatory CISRS two-day CPD course has been in place since 1st July 2017. The hotly debated issue of who pays for the CPD training has been on everybody’s lips across the industry since the mandatory course went live. According to NASC, the issue was raised with the confederation via the Construction

Industry Joint Council who wish to include a statement within the WRA giving clarification. Additionally, a statement of clarification as appropriate to the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) has recently been added to that Agreement. Towards the end of 2017, further to consideration by NASC Council, the basic premise that employers should pay for CPD

training courses was agreed by consensus, says NASC. A proposed form of words was circulated to Council members in respect to the issue and the following statement has since been agreed: ‘The NASC Council has confirmed that Members will fund the CPD course fee and reasonable associated costs of attendance for scaffolders in their direct employment as at the date of CISRS Scaffolder and CISRS Advanced Scaffolder card renewal. As with other employer-funded training, such funding may be linked to Training Agreements.’ The NASC added: A very similar statement has been offered by the CIJC Employers to the CIJC Trade Unions for inclusion within the Working Rule Agreement and if adopted will then apply to all scaffolding companies who operate under that WRA agreement. CISRS Manager and NASC Director of Training, Dave Mosley said: ”I see this as a very welcome and positive move. One of the most frequently asked questions following the introduction of CPD was the issue of who will pay for the course. It is clear with this statement that NASC members are looking to do the right thing by their directly employed labour force.” Spring 2018 | 17


Alternative training scheme on the cards The Scaffolding Association (SA) has unveiled plans to increase training and skills delivery capacity for access and scaffolding contractors – by setting up the Access Industry Training Scheme (AITS).


A say the new scaffolder’s training scheme will be an employer-led solution that will help to expand the training and skills development capacity in the scaffolding sector. Speaking to ScaffMag, Robert Candy, Chief Executive of the Scaffolding Association, said: “The Association has established the Access Industry Training Scheme to increase training capacity and offer new opportunities for both our members and the wider industry. “Our members have had serious concerns about the nature and availability of training in our sector. “Last year we commissioned research into the availability of training for new entrants in the access and scaffolding sector and found that one-fifth of training centres were either unreachable or unable to offer training dates. The survey also found that only six courses out of 30 were scheduled to be run in London – an area that represents 40

percent of total construction demand.” AITS is said to be currently creating a dedicated training programme for specialist access and scaffolding contractors and will hold courses either at their client premises or at its own training centre.

SA have told ScaffMag the new scheme will Initially focus on; working at height; risk management; safety training for site managers, supervisors and operatives; and managing a scaffolding transport fleet. Plans are also progressing to extend skills training to cover scaffold inspection and workplace safety. And wellbeing. training courses are being designed to suit all levels, from apprentices to advanced level scaffolders, inspectors and supervisors. Candy also added: “Clearly there are concerns around training capacity, especially when CITB has plans to exit direct training at the National Construction College, the main provider of scaffold and access training. We see the Access Industry Training Scheme will create much-needed training capacity that will help to fill the skills gap in our sector and raise standards.”

18 | Spring 2018


Opportunity for industry change after the collapse of Carillion By Robin James

Robin James NASC Managing Director


ore than a month has passed since the collapse of Carillon and many of its subsidiaries back in January. Understandably attention is beginning to turn from the immediate aftermath to the wider implications. Like much of the supply chain the scaffolding sector was braced for turbulence following Carillion’s demise. The industry is well-used to dealing with the sort of challenges which are thrown up when adversity strikes. ‘Riding out the storm’ is perceived as a legitimate survival strategy, however it cannot mask the fact that if the sector is ever to thrive, with meaningful margins and proper investment in training

for the future, then this depends on a sensible review of what has effectively become a broken procurement model. A top down collaborative approach needs to be adopted by those who are engaged in UK construction. The Carillion debacle must be seized upon as an opportunity for meaningful change. Objectives need to be agreed and implemented, otherwise there is a very real risk that this unpalatable cycle will be repeated. What has NASC been doing for members affected by the liquidation of Carillion? The NASC moved swiftly to offer support and advice to any of its contracting members who were exposed. The appointment of Price Waterhouse Coopers as administrators was notified immediately to the membership, and in particular the establishment of a website and PwC helpline to assist employees, customers, suppliers and other interested parties affected by the collapse. The confederation also issued an immediate confidential member questionnaire to gauge the level of exposure amongst its

members. Although initially there appeared to be some reluctance on the part of members to admit that they may have been affected, it was considered vital that feedback should be obtained as this might assist the industry to ensure that such a dreadful scenario could not be repeated. The priority therefore was to make sure that affected members were kept fully informed of the options open to them. In this respect assistance from Build UK, of which NASC is a member, proved critical. Build UK arranged for a factsheet with FAQs to be put together by Wedlake Bell, an independent law firm based in central London. This factsheet was made available to assist Build UK trade bodies whose contracting members had outstanding payments arising from the liquidation of Carillion. NASC took this initiative a stage further by setting up a bespoke telephone helpline with Wedlake Bell. NASC members with specific issues, insolvency for example, were able to obtain up to 30 minutes of free legal advice. Media coverage following the collapse of Carillion has remained

20 | Spring 2018



remorseless. Early on the focus had been on ‘human interest’ stories from the facilities management sector, such as school meals provision and prison management. However barely a day now passes without further news of insolvencies and redundancies in the supply chain following Carillion’s demise. This is where real and lasting damage is being done, with suppliers going to the wall and consequent loss of employment

and livelihood. Condemnation has been universal and anger has been focussed on the role of Carillion’s directors and auditors. The procurement model has been constantly under the spotlight, and attention has rightly been focussed afresh on retentions. Although it has not proved easy to gauge the extent to which NASC members have been caught up in this unpalatable sce-

nario, we know that the confederation acted swiftly to mitigate the risk of damage to its members wherever possible. Now the hard work must begin as all those with a stake in the construction sector set about restoring confidence in the industry. Acceptable levels of contractual risk must be agreed and adhered to by all parties as the industry begins the task of repairing the procurement model. Spring 2018 | 21


50 Years of Success

22 | Spring 2018


Being the best scaffolding company they can possible be is what continues to drive on one of the UK’s top family firms – now into its 50th profitable year. No job is too big for Lyndon Scaffolding as it celebrates half a century of success. Grahame Anderson caught up with CEO Robert Lynch to discover the secret behind its outstanding reputation.


rojects don’t come much bigger or more prestigious than the Scottish Parliament Building, Welsh Assembly and BBC Broadcasting House. But I wondered if there was a project Lynch was particularly proud of? Rob explained: “Of the more recent really large-scale projects, Birmingham Gateway - New Street station, is one I am very proud of, a hugely complex project with rail and public interface spread out over four years. The project for Network Rail has transformed the centre of our home town. “But if I had to pick one project in the last few

Spring 2018 | 23


months highlighting what we are trying to achieve, it would be a complex drop lift scaffold on a city centre site. Although the job wasn’t very great in value, it certainly showcased a high level of expertise in traditional scaffolding, and our design capacity. More than anything else however, what really stood out was the fact the charge-hand scaffolder stopped the job... “Prior to erecting one section of the scaffold the team became uncomfortable with the exclusion zone, and despite protestations from the client’s site management, they refused to start work until a larger exclusion zone and out of hours working meant our team was happy. “This is exactly what I want from a team of scaffolders. I want them to have confidence in their assessment as professionals, to be prepared to stop the job when they have safety concerns, and to

know that they will be supported by regional management, and me. I want our scaffolders to recognise when it comes to erecting scaffolding they are professionals and to have the confidence to act accordingly.” Lyndon has a fantastic reputation both in and outside the industry. This legend is something achieved over a number of years and with the backing of outstanding management. So just what is the ethos and philosophy of the company? “The philosophy is all about putting the scaffolders front and centre of everything we do,” said Rob. “We all need to work together to make their jobs as easy as possible, so they can safely deliver safe temporary access. This philosophy impacts everything we do: An easy example is the materials we use from high yield steel, which Lyndon pioneered

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more than 30 years ago, machine stress graded BS2482 boards, to buying only the best possible fittings, and then investing more by servicing them – every time they are used. “We have a very proud history of innovation from high yield steel, using roll off lorries, to developing the extending (‘Paddy’) transom and the safety step – all widely adopted by the scaffolding industry. Each innovation was about finding ways to make the scaffolder’s job easier and safer. “All Lyndon supervisors, contract managers and senior managers are scaffolders: This is really important to us as contract ”It is the desire to be the scaffolding is most respected scaffolding what we do and who else company in the UK, not just knows the job this year or next year but in better?

“Lyndon Scaffolding was created by two scaffolders, Tommy and Paddy Lynch, so it’s deep in our DNA how best to deliver scaffolding. On a personal level it needs to be understood Lyndon is a family company. It was created by my father and uncle from nothing, as scaffolders working on the tools. It remains a family company. It is the desire to be the most respected scaffolding company in the UK, not just this year or next year but in the long term, year in year out. It’s about being the best we possibly can be, on every single job across the UK.” Nothing stands still of course, and half a century is a long time in the employment sense. How has the industry changed and what does a company like Lyndons need to do to keep up with those changes? Rob told Scaffmag: “For those who watch scaffolding companies there have been some pretty obvious changes. Some of the old major players have left the industry or have much reduced their

the long term, year in, year out...” Rob Lynch, Lyndon Scaffolding CEO

10 | Spring 2018




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activities, while lately a new big beast has evolved. But I think these changes are much less interesting, and will have less of a long-term impact than the changes in expectation, as to how the top end of the trade should operate and deliver its service. “Lyndon’s drive is to be recognised as a professional services business, not just the leading scaffolder but the best contractor on site full stop. This is increasingly understood by our customers, and so it should be. At Lyndon we use highly skilled qualified scaffolders, properly supervised, supported by an in-house safety team, 11 in-house engineers and

£30 million of assets. We don’t operate from under the railway arches with a few tatty lorries and some gear we have ‘picked up’ along the way. We will continue to talk to our scaffolders, customers and suppliers to make sure we have the best ideas, and when one of our competitors has a better notion we will copy that! We need to be prepared to constantly look for ways to improve. It isn’t easy to change but that’s the only way to ensure we can be here in the long term. “But we aren’t just a body shop providing interchangeable labour. We want to train and develop

28 | Spring 2018


our employees for the long term. The development takes a long time as formalised training courses are only part of it. Our commitment to quality is more than just sticking someone on a course, we need to prove to our employees we really mean it, and when they need to make a difficult call and stop a job we will support them. Scaffolders need to provide the desire to be the best scaffolder they can be. Lyndon Scaffolding has made a profit in every one of its 50 years, and just as importantly reinvested those profits into the business.” Lyndon is continually striving to enhance innova-

tions within the industry, and their new award-winning site inspection app is certainly proof of that as Rob explained: “The objective was simple; to improve the quality of the inspections we undertake, and by doing this making the scaffolds safer for the user. We have invested a massive amount of time and money in developing a programme which helps the scaffold inspector do his job better. It makes it easier to report faults and provides clear and concise information to our team and our clients. “In terms of other ideas, we have a few ideas aimed at trying to get our workforce more involved

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in the business. I believe we can use social media such as Facebook more effectively, and we have already introduced a popular photography competition. Next, we will be launching an innovations competition offering very significant cash prizes. We believe by spreading the message we can encourage our scaffolders to recognise how amazing the structures are they erect, take greater pride in what they achieve and be given the respect they deserve. “During 2017, we purchased Taylor’s Hoists, (a premium Alimak only contract hoist business) in response to a growing demand from customers to offer an integrated hoist and scaffold ‘Total Access’ package, which is an exciting additional service.” The life of any CEO is without question generally a busy one, so I wondered how this inspiring company leader saw his job? “My role is primarily about setting the overall course, agreeing the long-term goal and then making sure that we all do what is necessary to get there. It’s really easy to lose the long-term vision, and to get caught up in daily issues. My job is to remind us all of what we are trying to achieve over the next 10 years. and beyond.

“Lyndons has a fantastic legacy of expertise, financial resources and respect. As a result of this, unlike some other businesses we don’t live or die by achieving short term budgets and targets. I am in the privileged position of taking the long view.” 2018 is a landmark 50th year for this extra-ordinary business leading the way in so many aspects of the industry. So what plans do they have for celebrating half a century of superb service? Rob said: “This might seem perverse, but I took quite a bit of persuading before I was convinced that we should mark our 50th anniversary in any way at all. This isn’t because I am grumpy, but the fact I didn’t want anyone to think it was a sign of complacency – a view ‘now we have made it!’ We haven’t got there yet; there are so many areas we want to improve on and a number of innovations I am really excited about. But a 50th anniversary was too good an opportunity to miss, so we will be holding a dinner in Birmingham where we will take a moment to thank everyone who has helped us get to 50 years, and will help us carry on trying to be the best scaffold company we can possibly be.” Happy Birthday Lyndon Scaffolding! SM

30 | Spring 2018

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Building it Back Up After a tumultuous few years, legendary scaffolding and access company SGB are well and truly back in business as part of the BrandSafway group. We spoke to Kevin Fitzpatrick, head of commercial and mechanical businesses for the UK, about the company’s decision to return to their original name and the prospects for the future. By Richard Trenchard



hat’s in a name? Quite a lot if you ask Kevin Fitzpatrick, UK head of SGB. “The SGB name carries so much weight and historic value,” he tells us, and we’re inclined to agree. With a history that stretches back to 1919, it’s no surprise that the name of this prestigious company often appears next to words like ‘legendary’. And the company’s name is not just synonymous with longevity, but also innovation; SGB founder Daniel PalmerJones was responsible for the ‘Universal Coupler’, a device which Kevin says “still remains active in service now with only some very small changes over 90 years.” No company can stay in business for almost a century without hitting a few bumps in the road and, in recent times, SGB have had to overcome their fair share of obstacles. Between 2010 and 2014, the company underwent a number of changes as it attempted to adjust to new ownership. One of these changes meant that the company would lose its name and operate as part of Harsco Infrastructure – a US-based leader of industrial services. Harsco operates in 35 countries worldwide and employs more than 12,000 people, so it is by no means a small player in the business. That said, the US-based company has little to no resonance in the UK market, and communicating that SGB were still

a fully functioning entity proved difficult for Kevin and his team. He tells us: “There was a short period under different ownership where we changed our brand name. This was quite a challenge for our sales team and it took a while to communicate that we were still in the market and that the level of service is as highly professional as before.” Ironically enough, it took another change of ownership to bring the SGB name back into the fold. In the latter stages of 2013, Harsco Corporation announced that it would sell its infrastructure services into a joint venture with Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, a private investment firm which also acquired Brand Energy and Infrastructure Services around the same time. “It was an easy decision to bring the name SGB back for our access services business,” Kevin tells us, adding that the name “has created fond memories for so many people and families.” That family ethic is central to SGB’s brand outreach and it also has a big role to play in Kevin’s approach to management. He adds: “My aim has always been to encourage young new blood into the business as well as keeping the people who work for this business happy to do so. I like to treat everyone as a family member who understands their role within the business.”

Spring 2018 | 33


Kevin’s own journey in the business owes a lot to family; it was his uncle, the one-time head of SGB, who gave him a break into the industry some 35 years ago. That said, Kevin did have to do his fair share of grafting to make it to where he is today, taking further education courses in engineering and management, not to mention sticking with the company through thick and thin. Given the company’s legendary reputation and its recent, albeit brief, disappearance from the market, it is easy to imagine the SGB story as that of the phoenix rising from the ashes. Kevin doesn’t see it that way, however. When probed about the company’s troubles after the initial rebrand, he responds: “I would not call this ‘trouble’ to be hon-

pany’s brand identity, but it is not so easy to change the ethos and lifeblood of the company. So, the fall and rise of the SGB brand might not be quite as dramatic as a phoenix rising from the ashes, but the narrative is far from being one of a dog returning home with its tail between its legs. Indeed, going back to the original branding could suggest that, ultimately, a mistake was made to drop the SGB name in the first place. But these things are always part and parcel of the process when new ownership comes in and it is often out of the hands of people like Kevin who have dedicated their life to making their company and brand a success. If nothing else, there is a lesson to learn here for the larger corporations of the scaffolding and ac-

The rise and fall of the SGB brand might not quite be as dramatic as a phoenix rising from the ashes, but the narrative is far from being one of a dog returning home with its tail between its legs. est. It is a natural thing that any rebranding process takes time and effort.” Admitting “the change in the business name did set some confusion in the market about who we were,” Kevin says that the company was able to keep a steady ship thanks to hard-work, dedication and “still providing the excellent service and safety performance” so strongly associated with the SGB brand. It just goes to show that you can easily change a com-

cess industry: there is no substitute for the power of brand identity, especially one with a history as impressive as SGB’s. Now there is plenty of business prospects for SGB going forward. As Kevin tell us, the reversion to the SGB name “has led to very positive customer feedback and has given us a lot of tailwind” and that “being part of the BrandSafway group helps us to grow our product and service portfolio further.” SM

34 | Spring 2018

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The Force is strong with this Scaffolder The Force has certainly been with scaffolder Eddie Gallen whose universal talents have been spotted by The Last Jedi. In fact, his career as a special project’s innovator has created an important space for fans of the Star Wars series. No-one could have blamed onlookers for noticing what seemed to be a static UFO off Malin Head in Ireland, as this was the site for ‘The Millennium Falcon’ – the iconic ship used in the latest film offering, constructed by the man himself. Grahame Anderson picked up his light sabre in homage to this Irish master.


o how did the project come about? He told me: “I was initially contacted by Disney back in autumn 2015. My long-time work colleague and friend, Mike O’ Shea, had recommended me for the job as I had collaborated with him on numerous projects through the years, including extensive work on Skellig Michael, which, ironically, featured heavily in the film. Obviously it was very exciting as it was a new area for me and when you’re contacted by Disney, you know it’s going to be something pretty big. I had no idea just how big at the initial contact stage, still unaware the film was Star Wars – The Last Jedi.” Just imagine watching those amazing productions as both a child and adult, never thinking for one moment you’d be involved on-set. It has to be every fan’s dream, though the 48-year-old Irishman was still blissfully unaware when producers came to call explaining: “After my first site visit, and meeting, at Malin Head in Donegal, with the artistic director, construction manager and senior production executives for the movie, they took me to the cliff edge, and after pointing out several other locations for splinter camera groups and wirecam/stunt rigs, informed me I would be tasked with the actual build-

ing of the Millennium Falcon. There was no doubting it was, indeed, the new Star Wars movie.” So just how do you approach the sort of project Luke Skywalker himself would fine challenging? Eddie takes up the story:” After learning the exact location of where the set was to be built, I brought in engineers to get correct levels and angles for filming of the scenes. This involved working with the artistic director and construction manager. The structure involved constructing a semi-circular five metre overhang made of prefabricated steel brought from the studios in England. We had to envelop this with support scaffolding using extensive beam work. This, in turn, had to be anchored to existing rocks using chemical ties and specialist drop-in anchors. We further stabilised this using guy ropes. When the shell and supports were complete, we dressed the structure with all sorts of attachments and finished up with the Millennium Falcon sitting pretty on a cliff edge, in Donegal. “The Mirror Cave Project involved a scaffold staircase descending through a steep

36 | Spring 2018

rocky ravine, erecting a cantilevered 5m x 5m camera platform directly over the sea. This was used by the splinter-camera crew. The platform was designed to hold 3,000kg. With such a load, platform stability was paramount, and getting the spacings and centres right for point loads proved challenging as it was built over jagged rock. All our scaffolds were checked and signed off by engineers and it was both a relief and an achievement to reach that point. “Materials for both projects were transported by quads and trailers over mountains and hills and then hand-balled the rest of the way when it became inaccessible by quads. It was pretty labour-intensive, bearing in mind the importance of minimal disruption to the natural environment, especially in such a beautiful and unspoilt area. On completion of works the area had to be returned to its previous state. In all these works, staff and crew of NAS were outstanding and displayed great professionalism and awareness.” Malin Head of course is a must hear on Radio 4’s iconic shipping forecast – but to associate it with Star Wars takes this part of the Irish coast into new worlds. This must have been totally cosmic for Eddie who added: “Well, I’m from Donegal, and Malin Head has spectacular scenery, which is why, I suppose, they settled on it as their final location for shooting. It’s quite reminiscent of Skellig Michael, too, so it tied in perfectly with the other main filming on the island. The weather is frequently windy and blustery there, and let’s face it, Ireland is notorious for rain. However, during the three weeks of filming here, the weather was almost too good and the directors had to wait as one of the key scenes required rain and grey skies. We had to collaborate with the Special Effects team to help them with their rain effects/bad weather. This involved attachments throughout our scaffolding structure, enabling



water sprinklers to create the effect of rainfall. I came up with the idea of using a shrinkwrap encapsulation/canopy to allow the water to run-off the edges of the prop, thereby creating the special effect of rain when there actually wasn’t any. The shipping forecast was constantly monitored with an App with the site wind factor calculated accordingly.” So we simply had to know – where there any close encounters with the cast? “I met Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), and they were very nice and very professional. Mark Hamill, especially, came across as a really genuine man who really took to Donegal and its people. My favourite character, however, would probably be Han Solo. “I attended the Donegal première in Letterkenny, and it was funny because I found myself almost ignoring the storyline as I was too busy trying to recognise the scenes shot in Malin Head! There was a great buzz that evening, and there were so many of the locals who had contributed in one way or another to the making of the film, whether caterers, drivers or construction, so that was a great collective achievement for us all. I took my two sons to see the film on Christmas Eve and I can say I was a proud dad on that occasion – they loved it.” So given this one giant leap for scaffolding, what will Eddie’s next mission involve? “After finishing the filming of Star Wars, Mike and myself were tasked with erecting the diving boards for the Red Bull Cliff diving competition on Inis Mór off the coast of Galway, so I have to adapt to whatever comes my way. There’s another film coming to Ireland soon I’m hoping to be involved in, but I can’t say any more than that at present” So on putting down the light sabre I could only say one thing: “Work your magic, buddy.” SM

Spring 2018 | 37


Change is coming with Virtual Reality training As a scaffolder, imagine seeing and hearing your fellow work mate that you have worked with for years fall to their death. It doesn’t bear thinking about does it? Something so profound and shocking as this, can have a major impact on your mind. This is the thinking behind a groundbreaking project GKR Scaffolding are about to roll out. ScaffMag’s Editor Daniel Norton finds out more.


s you would expect I get invited to quite a few launch everts for industry related products, however this particular event by the forward thinking and multi award-winning firm GKR was on the top of my list. With the integration of two of my loves, technology and scaffolding, I was already eager to know more when I first heard about GKR’s new Virtual Reality (VR) project back in 2017. At the flashy event held at Code Node in central London in February, myself and invited industry guests heard how with the aid of VR, GKR aim to change the scaffolders’ mindset and become more risk aware after witnessing an artificial traumatic event. Similar to the way you would drive dif-

ferently if you have had a car accident, you become more aware of the dangers and perceive risks differently. “Because we’re doing such highrisk activity, the operatives are working so methodically. We call it the high-rise mindset, its check after check after check. When they’re working two or three metres above the ground, I don’t believe they perceive the risk the same as they do when they’re higher up. We can use VR to immerse people into an environment to show them how severely things can go wrong, which you just can’t do in real life.” says Peter Cullen, head of health and safety at GKR Scaffolding. Working in partnership with eLearning Studios, GKR have created

an amazing ultra-realistic virtual reality environment. Populating this virtual world is scaffold structures that the firm has previously installed. Utilising the old scaffold designs, boffins at eLearning Studios have remodelled everything ensuring the world is realistic as possible. GKR aim to immerse their operatives in this virtual world, set over three modules the user would see fellow operatives continually about to break best practice procedures. The user must identify and stop a dangerous situation from developing. Failure to stop and intervene leads to the user witnessing a fellow operative or member of the public getting seriously hurt. SM

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Scaffolder training made accessible on a global scale “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family� Kofi Annan


ith centres in 5 countries and having successfully trained thousands of scaffolders around the world to work safer, make scaffolds safer, and reduce

accidents, Simian International knows the power of education, through their quality, practical, face to face scaffolding training. But what about those scaffold-

ers, and even non-scaffolders, who want to be able to access quality health and safety training, and improve their knowledge, but are unable to access a centre? Simian International is launching a new website to reach those people and extend its ability to change working practice in every corner of the world. The ability to teach the theory of good scaffolding through elearning, in a variety of languages, is an industry first, and Simian International believes that it will change lives. More importantly, it has the potential to save lives. The idea for the website was born in 2014 while Simian International were working in South

40 | Spring 2018


Korea, on the Shell Prelude project. The 30,000 workers engaged in the project were all required to complete a four-hour scaffold induction before they could work onsite. After three days of attending this training, Ian Fyall, Managing Partner of Simian International, realised that there was a more practical solution, one that would allow those workers to start onsite quicker, saving thousands of man-hours, and considerable investment. With the e-learning website, those workers in Korea could have completed the training prior to arriving at site, in their own place, at their own pace. But it has further implications

for the advancement of health and safety in scaffolding practice. We all know that there are thousands of untrained scaffolders working around the world. With skills passed down through families and communities, poor working habits are maintained. With access to quality theoretical training, those habits could be eradicated for future generations. Which is why a guiding principle in the creation of the programme was to make the training fully accessible. Currently, the training is in English, but Simian International have big plans to increase the languages available, from Hindi and Urdu, through Mandarin Chinese and Russian, and into Spanish and Portugese, to name just a few. By the time the programme is complete, scaffolders all over the world will have access to Simian International’s vast experience and resources. But accessibility goes beyond language. Cost is often a major barrier to undertaking training. With an introductory offer of two modules for 10 US dollars, and modules costing just 10 dollars each after that, Simian International have removed that barrier. They’ve ensured that no scaffolder who wants to improve their skill set and knowledge is prevented from doing so, no matter where they are in the world, and whatever their budget. There are currently two modules available online, The Guide to Independent Scaffolds, and The Guide to Scaffold Components. However, there are a further ten modules in development that will be available soon, covering Scaffold Rescue, Towers, Risk Assessment and many others. This flex

ible, modular approach means that trainees can choose to improve specific areas of their knowledge, on their own terms. On signing up to the website, trainees will be given their own login, which gives them access to a personalised dashboard, so that they can clearly monitor their own progress. When they sign up to take a module, they are guided through a comprehensive set of slides, covering all the essential theory of that particular area of study. They then have the ability to take mock tests, before sitting a final exam. The exam has an 80% pass mark, and candidates will have just two attempts to reach that standard. This requirement will safeguard the integrity of the training. Upon passing, the trainee will have access to a downloadable certificate, proving the standard of their theoretical training to future employers. Of course, none of this is a substitute for practical training at a suitable centre, and Simian International have no plans to reduce their ability to offer complete and thorough training through these centres. However, they also believe that if accessibility to at least the theoretical knowledge, which underpins health and safety in the scaffolding industry, saves just one life, the considerable investment in the e-learning website will have been worth it. SM

Spring 2018 | 41



RBS RISING TO THE CHALLENGE What do you do when you have a large refurbishment project in the capital requiring a class scaffolding to meet the highest safety standards? Call RBS Ltd, of course, as Grahame Anderson recently discovered.


BS Ltd is a family run business based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire recognized as one of the top companies working in the capital on large refurb projects. Backed by one of the best scaffold Safety advisors in the business, JS Safety Associates, they have recently completed work on a project involving one of London’s tallest buildings in Croydon. Impact House in Eldridge Road, provided a real challenge to the construction team charged with providing a scaffolding system able to meet the demands of safe working. Company owner Rab Bain takes up the story: “The scaffold was designed by NASC members Tubular Techniques Ltd, a firm we’ve worked with across the past 20 years. We did find this quite a challenging project largely due to the building’s access. First off, the only loading area we had for our material was via a 3m high access roadway underneath the building to the rear car-park. We only had a 200sqft area to store our materials as space was very tight, and had to deliver and unload our vehicles before 8.00am most mornings. The building was surrounded by an NHS Medical Centre which created environmental problems and de-

sign issues for TTN, and 70 per cent of the 252m perimeter scaffold had to come out of first and second floor levels.” The team led by on-site partner Scott Bain, we discovered the imposed leg loads to the truss out beam sections were at a high level. Their client then had to install 6m steel beams fixed to and in-between the building columns, thus reducing the imposed loads to the floors. We installed 232 x 750 X Beams to six elevations around the first and second floor levels, to support the main structure. Meanwhile, no loading was allowed on the medical centre roofs as site access was kept clear.

So what did the scaffold consist of? Rab told us: “It consisted of 21 lifts at five boards wide. We positioned triple guard rails with toe boards inside and outside leaving a 400mm gap, for the new curtain wall finish to be installed. Whilst erecting the scaffold we had to have six glaziers to work alongside us every day to remove the heavy duty glass. They also required intermediate lifts so they could lift the glazing bars off safely, and we could tie the scaffold in to the building, then replace the holes with 10mm ply.” The biggest challenge for such a huge task during the winter period in Croydon is the weather.

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SGB PROVIDES SUCCESSFUL SOLUTION FOR THAMES-SIDE DEMOLITION PROJECT It’s one of the windiest towns in the country, so safety was of paramount importance. We decided to install Safelink board retainers (the late Nick Flynn design) to every lift during erection,” added Rab (because of the harsh weather conditions the scaffold needed to withstand). The project began on July 17th last year, and its only recently been completed due to the EE antennas at roof level not being moved until the last minute. We installed two Allimak hoists supplied by GB, though again access was a challenge – so the whole thing had to be delivered flat packed. We also installed a Layher system staircase to the full height of 58m for an emergency fire escape. This was all designed by Letchworth’s main depot.” As their preferred scaffolders, RBS were awarded the £670k project by a company they’ve been working closely with for more than 24 years, in AJR Construction Ltd. The job lovingly received the sort of passion and commitment associated with such a respected and go ahead company. SM


n unusual demolition project on the banks of the River Thames has been completed safely and successfully, via a bespoke scaffolding solution provided by SGB – creating a highly unusual scaffolding system, regularly covered by water during the demolition process. “This was a challenging project due to the location of the building,, built out into the river from a site close to Blackfriars Bridge,” explains SGB’s Southern Design Manager, Brendan Fox. “Fortunately,Tideway knew we have experience of designing this type of structure for other demolition and construction projects on the banks of the Thames.That experience was a key point in allowing us to create a successful scaffolding solution.” The SGB system included the addition of large steel brackets to the concrete columns on which the building stood.These were then used to support a series of beams, providing a solid base. “This meant the lower parts of the scaffolding would regularly be covered by water and so the system had to be able to accommodate the force of the Thames’ flow,” adds Brendan. The presence of the water also created the need for the scaffolding to adapted on a day-to-day basis, with the team on-site having to remove and the reinstall the toe-boards every few hours, so that they were not damaged. The SGB system was also designed with a number of other key requirements in mind. “The scaffolding had to be constructed in such a way that it could be reduced in height, as the demolition work gradually lowered,” Brendan continues. “The demolition materials had to be removed from the site via the river, so our design had to include various protection and containment features which would prevent those materials from falling into the water. We also had to allow for the presence of a large barge carrying an 80-tonne crane which was floated in alongside the building. “Safety is the number one priority for every single project we work on, but the location of this project meant that it was a particularly challenging consideration,” concludes Brendan. “Once finalised, our design was subjected to a BS5975 Category 2 approval procedure. It then had to pass the client’s own approval before work could commence, so it offered the maximum level of safety to those people who would complete the demolition work.” SM

Spring 2018 | 43



3D closer to god A

ny cathedral here in the UK is looked upon as a priceless and deeply respected property adding beauty and value to both its site and the surrounding area. When any type of construction repair or addition needs to be made it is a delicate and hugely important undertaking. In terms of scaffolding; nothing but the best care and attention will do. With all this in mind, Irlam based 3D Scaffolding Ltd were delighted to accept an invitation to carry out vital work at the iconic Manchester Cathedral. Their vast experience in both listed buildings and cathedrals quickly enabled them to formulate a plan aimed at complete ease of movement for construction workers in absolute safety. And of course the comfort of

visitors and staff was also paramount. Scaffolding was initially introduced at the base of the cathedral tower to allow delicate balustrade stone work to be removed. This permitted the installation of modular beam work to span over the low-level and aisle roofs, forming the foundations of the main tower scaffold. Aluminium X beams and support towers rested on parapet walls at various locations additionally supported the main scaffold. The parapet walls had to be strengthened, to accommodate the loads imposed by the beams across all four elevations of the tower. The main access scaffold was constructed from the modular beams to the underside of the tower clocks. A scaffold lifting frame was designed and as-

sembled above the clock face, to assist in the removal of the clock faces from site for renovation works. Following the clock face removal, it was necessary to continue scaffolding up to the full height of the tower, as this also formed the support scaffold for the temporary roof. An advertising banner and framework including Monaflex sheeting, was attached to the outside face of the scaffolding. Any scaffold tubes butted to the building were fitted with protective caps. Band and plate couplers to beam ends was secured to buttress walls, using 12mm self-tapping Apollo bolts to a depth of 90mm. Following the dismantling of the temporary roof, the external scaffold will be used as a base, to form a full wrap-around scaffold to the pinnacles offering access for stone renovation works. All scaffolding was erected fully on a tight programme of eight weeks without any interruption to the live working cathedral. This facilitated the delivery of yet another unique and innovative suite of services, with a commitment to value and positivity. The company are rightly proud of the fact much of their work is through repeat business and client recommendations. Its 3D’s intention to maintain its position as a leader in the area of UK scaffolding solutions. The love and attention given to Manchester Cathedral will ensure this magnificent structure goes on adding elegance and majesty to the people of this wonderful city. The cathedral, its contractors and the 3D team were left feeling closer to God! SM

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“Just had call telling me tax refund was there, only phoned 3 weeks ago. Great phone service and very quick return.” Gavin Millan (Scaffolder)

Say hello to a new tax year! April 6th kicks off the new tax year, signup today for an early tax refund. AND, if you haven’t already claimed your tax back for last year, we’ve got that covered too! We’re tax refund experts that help scaffolders claim back £1000s. With our specialist trades tax knowledge, you can put your trust in us. Plus, we have more independent 5* reviews than any other tax agent – we’d like to think it’s our great customer service!

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Modern system solves Manor Place challenge Keeping the very highest safety standards in the family has been part of the every day across two decades for Mercer Scaffolding. They deliver safe, intelligent and resourceful answers to the scaffolding challenges faced by clients. So, it’s no surprise – from Guys hospital to Wimbledon’s centre court – their services have been in high demand. Grahame Anderson takes a closer look at their most recent project.


his visionary company has enjoyed continued growth since its inception, maintaining an excellent safety record along the way. So placing a £1million South-East London scaffolding contract in their more than capable hands, was simply a matter of routine for Durkan, the principal contractor, on behalf of Notting Hill Housing Group. The project itself has required the utmost care and planning given this new 270-home residential development at Manor Place is situated over a railway on a main line into London Bridge. On the Right Lines Any scaffolding system would

need to prevent risks around the railway elevations. With this in mind, Mercer included stair access, protection fans and loading towers in their design. Alongside the new homes, new commercial space has been created within under-utilised existing buildings and within the railway arches cutting through the site. Approaching The Challenge The development has retained listed heritage structures, adding to the intricacies of the project. Durkan Project Director Tony Gallagher has more: “I had worked with Mercer Scaffolding on my previous project, the

Academy in Woolwich. The service I received was very good and Mercer was always proactive, promoting high standards of health and safety. “Manor Place depot is a former waste transfer station. The site is split into two sections separated by a network rail track on top of arched viaducts located in the centre of the site. Due to the scaffolding being in close proximity of the railway track, careful consideration was given to the type of scaffold required for the project. Mercer proposed the Layher system. We were interested to understand the value a Layher system could offer this project. “Mercer in partnership with Layher held an open day to demonstrate the value and application of the Layher system. It was concluded the system would be the preferred scaffold for Manor Place. The product has many advantages and due to its smaller component’s, is beneficial when erecting scaffold in close proximity to the railway viaducts. Layher visit the site frequently to contribute their knowledge into task specific areas. Mercer has provided a very good product and service.” Signalling Success This all meant railway restrictions were overcome and the Layher system saved time and money on the project. There were many positive aspects from a health and safety point of view, with lightweight materials also making life much easier for all involved. This also provided a wonderful opportunity for Durkan to invest in training their team.

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Site Supervisor at Mercer Scaffolding Lee Read added: “I’ve really enjoyed working at Manor Place and was happy to be selected for the Supervisor role on such an interesting development. We have worked closely with Layher throughout and I’m look-

ing forward to the next project together.” Train For The Future Mercer Scaffolding currently has a workforce of more than 40 dedicated staff, from yardmen to senior management. The

company invests heavily in the development and training of its people and in return is rewarded with an ambitious and committed workforce. The team provide the company with its biggest competitive advantage in a busy industry. SM

YOUR FIRST SUPPLIER FOR SCAFFOLD SHEETING 3LHJO»Z Z\WWS` THU` VM [OL SLHKPUN ZJHɈ VSKPUN HUK I\PSKPUN contractors worldwide. Leach’s also supply printed sheeting and many other height safety products.

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Impact Wrenches RATE or hate?

48 | Spring 2018



from a number of recent imnnovation and business should never stand still and for many provements. What scaffolders scaffolders impact wrenches like about this model is the reverse rotation auto stop mode; have bought about a significant so despite having your finger still change to work practises. Over firmly on the trigger, the wrench the last 24 months, the use of stops when the nut is loosened these tools on scaffolding sites sufficiently. Clever eh? has gained pace. It’s a hot topic, If you are using an impact and has both enthusiastic advowrench it needs to be tethered. cates and ardent critics. At Leachs, they sell two useful Scaffolding product suppliers, products that many scaffoldLeachs told us they have seen a ers have found invaluable when 50% increase in sales of impact looking to adhere to regulation wrenches in the last 12 months and to better look after your and most of their customers equipment; The BIGBEN Gorilla have sighted an increase in prohook, which slides onto any ductivity as the major driving scaffold belt, and a heavy duty force for the purchase. So rate tethered lanyard that will take or hate them, they are being the drop weight of the wrench. used and in greater numbers Leach’s usually recommend a than ever before. lanyard that has an (SWL) safe So why would you want to working load of over 4kg buy an impact wrench? and stretches to 106cm. The overpowering raImpact wrenches are tionale is speed and efOne of the biggest concerns when not for all scaffolders and ficiency when erecting using impact wrenches to erect a despite their increased and dismantling scafscaffold is overtightening of use Leachs still sell confolding – if the process is quicker there can be fittings, leading to fractures and a siderably more traditional spanners: It’s the versatilsignificant savings in time weakening of the structure. ity and range that their and money, increasing customers like. With a both long-term producchoice of over 1,200 diftivity and profits. But wrenches to erect a scaffold is ferent combinations of scaffold they are certainly not for every- the overtightening of fittings, body. And many believe them to leading to fractures and a conse- spanners covering every conbe expensive, heavy, and noisy quential weakening of the whole ceivable requirement or preference. There are places you can and don’t have the finesses or structure. Likewise, when undoaccess that would be impossible accuracy of a traditional spanner. ing a fitting, care needs to be with an impact wrench and they Leachs say, many manufacturtaken not to shear the nut from are far less cumbersome on your ers have developed an impact the thread. It is important to tool belt. However, on some jobs wrench offering and the volume know your equipment, use the the savings that can be made sales have come from Hilti, right torque setting and make with an impact wrench may well Makita & Milwaukee. But beware! sure the correct training has be worth considering. Manufacturers are now excludbeen given. There are also conNo doubt, the debate will buzz ing guarantees/warranty when cerns over vibration white finger. on... SM they know the primary function One of Leachs biggest sellers is for a scaffolding application. in the scaffolding environment GET THE LATEST NEWS Also, one of the biggest is the Makita 18V 5Ah Li-ion Read the latest industry news at concerns when using impact Brushless model which benefits >>

Spring 2018 | 49

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FROM CRADLE TO GREAT 1880-2018: A brief history of Palmers Scaffolding Company By Colin Waters


almers Travelling Cradle and Scaffold Company was established in 1880 by Edwin J. Palmer who was a former Navy ship’s captain and Master Mariner. He used his vast knowledge of ropes, pulleys and rigging to develop a manually operated cradle that could be used to access the sides of any building and later went on to develop the improved traversing or travelling cradle, The cradle first used a cable system, but later improvements were made and

an innovative monorail track was employed. An advertisement in the 1904 annual edition of ‘Academy Architecture & Review’ edited by the architect Alexander Koch, revealed that Palmer’s Scaffold and Cradles were being used both by London County Council as well as the Guildhall and many municipal authorities. The following year they were also advertising their ‘patent ladder scaffold’ as being ideal for construction work

inside churches and halls. By now they were official contractors to His Majesty’s Office of works and had begun the preservation and treatment of decayed stonework. Daniel Palmer Jones and his brother David Henry Jones in effect revolutionised scaffolding and instituted many of the processes, standards and industry practices that are still used today. Daniel in particular who is widely considered as the ‘Grandfather of Scaffolding, invented his patented

52 | Spring 2018


‘Scaffixer’ coupling device and with his brother formed the ‘Patent Rapid Scaffold Tie Company Ltd’, leading to the development of the ‘Tubular Scaffolding Company’ and ‘Scaffolding Great Britain Ltd – SGB. In 1913-14, Palmers were called upon to erect seven wireless station masts in Ireland including a 500 foot steel mast at Ballybunion, County Kerry. Palmers also removed and restored the clock hands of Big Ben in London, repainted the footways of Tower Bridge and framed up the ceiling to redecorate the Royal Albert Hall. In addition they undertook major contracts at Olympia and provided cradles for the erection of the Royal Liver building in Liverpool. Their early advertising described the company as ‘Scaf-

folding experts specialising in repairing and restoring buildings using suspended scaffolds and stages and steel wire lashings.’ However, they also manufactured or supplied a wide range of building accessories such as barrows, trestles, towers, ladders, steps, and Scaffixer products. By 1912, Palmers were con-

fidently describing their Special Steel Wire Scaffold Lashings as ‘The scaffold cord of the future’, and advertised it as such in the Board of Trade Journal in June of that year. The Architects’ & Builders’ Journal for April 23, 1913 gave a glowing report of Palmer’s travelling cradle which was to be Spring 2018 | 53


exhibited at the World’s Fair in at Olympia where; ‘...trucks and electric cradle’. Ghent, Belgium, (aka The Ghent many other productions of the A takeover saw the firm come under German ownership with International Exhibition), describ- company will be on view, their a name change to Thyssenkrupp ing the cradle as so ‘omnipresregistered steel putlog, being an Palmers which by 2012 had beent’ that the ordinary man in the especially interesting item.’ come XERVON Palmers. street was familiar with its merits. By 1921, the company was of But five years later, the compaIt went on to describe the cradle sufficient merit to be included in ny returned to British ownership on display at the exhibition:Kelly’s Merchant, Manufacturers when in January 2017 entrepre“It is large enough for two and Shipper’s of the World’ dineur, Colin Butt purchased the men to work in, travels along a rectory published in New York. company from its German ownwire rope, giving access to any In later years, ‘Palmer’s Travelpart of the structure upon which ling Cradle & Scaffold Company’, ers and rebranded the company as Palmers Scaffolding UK Ltd. It is proposed to work, and it then located in Bournemouth Today, the Palmcan be raised, ers brand conlowered, or tinues to thrive moved horizonthanks to the tally by one of skills of its 300+ the men in the staff with operacradle, without tion centres in extraneous asGlasgow, Lonsistance. The don, Teesside, cradle weighs Bristol, Chester less than threeand Belvedere quarters of a in Kent. Over hundredweight, their 135+ years, Palmers and the wire head-rope Palmers Scaffolding: have grown to be one of would carry eight tons. Revolutionised scaffolding and the UK’s biggest and best, The cradle can be fixed anywhere without interinstituted many of the processes, working on an ecclectric sector range and wide fering with the roof and standards and industry practices number of prestigious its use entails no obstructhat are still used today projects. tion of the pavement or Though a man with floor. Palmer’s steel wire obvious entrepreneurial scaffold lashing is being skills, Edwin Palmer could little made at the stand, where also Hampshire, was incorporated as are shown many examples of a limited company, and has never have imagined when he first retired from the Navy, that his ladders, steps, trestles, barrows, looked back, and in more recent invention of the travelling cradle trucks and trollies, and particutimes became involved in power would lead his business to belar attention may be drawn to generation projects, offshore come the successful nationally Palmer’s lever-lock extending fabrication and even the nuclear famous company that it is today, ladder.” Fascinating stuff! sector. so much so that it can now The company appear to have 1961 saw their workforce boast of being amongst the top been keen to exhibit their prod- increase and by that time they ten scaffolding contractors operucts at every possible opportuwere employing 250 workers ating in modern Britain. Long live nity because In the same year and described themselves in Palmers! SM (1913) the trade magazine ‘The advertisements as ‘contractors, Surveyor and municipal engineer’ and manufacturers of permanent GET THE LATEST NEWS reported that Palmer’s had a building external maintenance Read the latest industry news at stand at the Building Exhibition equipment including the Palmatic >>

54 | Spring 2018



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