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Domestic Clients Guide To Getting Safe Scaffolding Contractors

Health and safety isn't just for builders and scaffolding contractors. 


It's about you and your safety too as a client, as you're in danger as well!


Keep Yourself Safe


At one point tradesmen could get away with anything! 


Working on wobbly ladders, open scaffolding without proper rails to stop falls, or just balancing on a few scaffolding tubes like a circus performer! 

 


But over the years things changed. Health and safety got a lot tighter, and for good reason too. 


People get serious injuries, or even worse, die as a result of not abiding by health and safety regulations.


But most clients would think at this point, "How's that my problem? It's the contractors' responsibility"


And you're right its not your responsibility, but it could be your injury, and finding those responsible doesn't reverse the damage once it's been done.


Just like the unfortunate 3-year-old girl in the news story below: 


What it boils down to is money!

It's a race to the bottom. 


And most scaffolding contractors aren't greedy. The reason your project is cheaper is that companies are cutting corners to give the lowest price. 


Because the reality is, there is only so low a price can go. If you try to go lower than the bottom price, something has to go. Usually, that's safety and at that point, no-one wins. 


They're not cutting profits they're cutting safety!


When the budget decreases, companies start hiring rogue traders, using cheap tools and cheap materials. While everything looks fine on the surface it isn't. It's rotting from the inside out and you won't know until its too late.


 If people get hurt the cost outweighs the gain of saving a few hundred pounds. 

You Get What You Pay For

In the domestic market, things are far worse. 


Rogue scaffolding contractors take advantage of domestic clients lack of knowledge. They wow you with a rock bottom price and promise a top-notch service. 


Then the domestic client is pulled in, after all, it's only tubing what more is there to it?


Well, the answer is a lot more, and its the client who suffers the most. 


Here's an example: 


Peter the scaffolding contractor turns up to price a job. 

He decides that because of the way the scaffolding will need to be set up it'll require some extra securing. Meaning more tubing and technical difficulty required. So he prices the job at what he perceives to be a fair rate. 


But the client wants to shop around for quotes so he asks other scaffolding contractors. 


Derek the second scaffolding contractor is eager to win the job. Thinking about his wallet first he decides to go as cheap as possible to win. 


The customer is delighted and goes with Derek. 


Now Derek is in a tough position. He's made a promise he can't keep, and doesn't want to lose money, so he rushes the job so he can go to other jobs and make more money. He also uses way less equipment thinking that he can get away with it and keep more tubing for other jobs. He pulls off the job. 


Everyone is happy. 


Until something like high winds exposes all the shortcuts. Damaging property and possibly hurting people due to lack of securing from the shortcuts, from falling debris or even a falling person! 


As you can see in the image below, this does happen.

Damage is done, authorities are involved, the projects get delayed. Overall the project ends up costing more in several ways, all because you wanted to save a few hundred pounds. 


It makes sense to try and save money and get the best deal, but price should never be the only factor when choosing your scaffolding contractors because it makes people focus on money rather than safety.

Summary

When looking for scaffolding contractors its not all about price. It's also about safety, and thats everyones responsibility. As the client its also your responsibility to ask the right questions about safety because of examples like the story of the 3 year old girl hurt from a lack of safety, or the image of the scaffolding that fell. You do not want to be responsible for the bad hire that ends up hurting you or someone else just to save a few hundred pounds. 


A few questions that may help in the future when looking for scaffolding contractors: 


  1. Do you have public liability insurance?
  2. What steps will you take to ensure the scaffolding is safe?
  3. Are there any extra precautions that may need to be taken on this particular project?

For further information on health and safety requirements of both domestic and commercial building projects you can find more information below:


HSE: A short guide for clients on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015  

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