Assembling a scaffolding system.

Scaffolding is a crucial component for building or renovating tall structures or those in hard-to-reach areas. There are various types of scaffolds, each with its own benefits for specific construction projects. However, as no two projects are the same, there is no one-size-fits-all scaffold. Each will come with a high degree of customization. 

In this guide, we will explore scaffolding from all angles and dissect the essential equipment, procedures, and safety practices for successful scaffold use. 

Understanding Scaffolding

Parts of a Scaffolding System

Scaffolding is a temporary structure on the outside of a building used by workers while constructing, repairing, or cleaning the building. 

In the most basic sense, a scaffold consists of a network of metal poles and walkboards. However, the complete list of components will vary widely based on scaffold type. Some common scaffold components used to enhance the stability and functionality of the structure include:

  • Caster or Leveling Jack – the feet of the scaffolding, which take place in the form of wheels (Casters) or flat, level pegs (leveling jack)
  • Frame – the upright pipes that connect the scaffold to the ground
  • Braces – pipes that run horizontally along the length of the scaffold or diagonally to reinforce the scaffold’s rigidity
  • Toeboards – protective barriers placed near walking surfaces to prevent objects from falling from the raised area
  • Walkboards – planks that serve as the working platform
  • Guardrails – the horizontal rods at the top of the scaffolding that can be used as safety bars
  • Fastening Pins – also commonly known as clamps, they hold the components of the scaffold together

Be aware that many of these components go by different names, depending on the contractor and scaffolding type.

Speaking of scaffolding types, here are three broad categories of scaffolds.

Supported Scaffolding

This is the most common type of scaffold, sometimes referred to as a “normal” scaffold. It is built from the ground upward, using the ground as support. This scaffold type is iconic for the alleyways it creates in urban areas. It can bear larger loads and support more workers than the other scaffolding types, but is the least mobile. 

Suspended Scaffolding

This is a platform connected to the edge of a building. It uses a series of wires, ropes, and chains for support and a pulley or lift system for access. It requires less construction for a quicker setup and can help access areas that don’t have adequate ground support. It is less obstructive than a supported scaffold but cannot accommodate nearly as many workers. 

Mobile Scaffolding

This is a type of supported scaffold set on wheels or casters. It is designed to be easily moved and used for short-term projects like painting, plastering, or whenever frequent position changes are required. 

As load-bearing structures that accommodate construction workers, OSHA has an exhaustive list of regulations and safety standards pertaining to scaffolding. Standards will vary based on the scaffolding type. As a starting point, each scaffold and scaffold component must support, without failure, its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it. Standards then become more in-depth for each unique scaffold. 

Choosing the Right Construction Scaffolding

There is no one-size-fits all scaffolding option in construction. Each project will require a unique scaffold to maximize safety, functionality, and profitability on the job site. 

Factors to Consider

The type of construction project will significantly narrow the field when it comes to choosing a scaffolding product. 

  • What type of project are you trying to complete?
  • Is the project located inside or outside?
  • What type of surface is at the site? Will the scaffold need to move?
  • What is the size and scope of the project? 
  • How high do you need to go? At how many levels will you work?
  • What type of materials will you be working with? 
  • What type of frames will work best?
  • How much manpower will be needed to get the job done? 
  • Are there power lines nearby?

Having all project requirements clearly defined will go a long way toward arriving at the perfect scaffolding choice. 


Budget constraints are also an important component when choosing scaffolding. As each project is unique, it is common to rent scaffolding on an as-need basis. However, if your firm will be performing a lot of replicable jobs for the foreseeable future, purchasing scaffolding could potentially be more cost-effective. 

The cost of scaffolding is generally dependent on the size of the building and the amount of units required for the project(s) to be completed. Sectional scaffolding is the popular system for construction because you can adjust the size as needed.


When dealing with scaffolding, it’s immensely important to consider safety. To ensure that you have a safe scaffolding system, you should consult the OSHA, state, and local safety codes and get an approval from the Building Safety and Industrial Commission. 

If you have any questions about proper scaffolding safety, check out our scaffolding safety tips.

Why Bil-Jax Is the Best Option for Construction Scaffolding

Bil-Jax is the go-to option for construction scaffolding for a variety of reasons. It has the broadest product line in the industry with decades of experience serving professionals in all industries. Bil-Jax products are fabricated for superior quality and durability. 

With options to buy, rent, or custom-build scaffolding products, the Bil-Jax brand is guaranteed to help your firm maximize profitability at the job site. 

Essential Scaffolding Equipment for Construction

EZ-RAX being put on truck bed from fork lift


Bil-Jax offers the highest quality scaffolding equipment on the market for unmatched safety, functionality, and durability.

Main Scaffolding Components

Bil-Jax Step Frames

Frames and braces are the main components of scaffolding. They are essential for connecting the other scaffolding components and providing support for the structure. Bil-Jax Step Frames are the most common and feature a ladder-like structure on one side to aid workers in moving up and down the unit.

Bil-Jax diagonal cross bracesBil-Jax diagonal cross braces are used with the scaffold frames to form sections. They are manufactured from the highest quality steel tubing and come with a galvanized finish, conforming to the most rigid tolerance tests in the industry. Bil-Jax lateral braces are used to stabilize and square the base of the scaffold. They are made in the USA with the highest quality components, including ID coated tubing for extended life and a powder coat finish for durability that exceeds OSHA regulations. 

Casters are attached to the bottom of sectional scaffold frames to make the unit mobile and easy to move from location to location. 

Bil-Jax TUF-N-LITE Walkboard

Walkboards are the planks that serve as the walking platform of the scaffold. Bil-Jax TUF-N-LITE Walkboard is the most widely used industrial-grade scaffolding plank on the market. It features a 1⁄2-inch finished plywood deck and heavy-duty I-beam side rails. It has a 75-pound-per-square-foot duty rating, exceeding OSHA regulations. Bil-Jax X-TRU-LITE Walkboard features an all-aluminum fabrication with off-set hooks for continuous decking. It comes with a grooved aluminum surface for a no-slip finish.

Bil-Jax X-PANDED Steel WalkboardBil-Jax X-PANDED Steel Walkboard uses an all galvanized steel construction with expanded metal surface area. It features two scaffold hooks at each end and is the ultimate in heavy-duty scaffold construction. 

Toeboards are protective barriers placed near the walking surface to minimize the risk of tools or other objects falling from the raised area. Bil-Jax Steel Toeboards provide safety to scaffolding platforms and must be used in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. 

Guard rails are another feature that provides workers with additional protection and safety. These are galvanized tubing pieces that attach to the scaffolding.

Rolling Towers

Bil-Jax Rolling Tower

Rolling towers are a type of mobile scaffolding perfect for commercial projects that require increased agility for covering longer distances. Bil-Jax Rolling Tower Packages are manufactured from high-strength steel tubing with coped and arc welded perimeter joints on all frames. They provide a large work platform and easy-access guard rail system. Packages can come in working heights of up to 27 feet.


No two scaffolding systems are exactly alike. Bil-Jax has a wide assortment of brackets, couplers, connectors, replacement parts, and any other scaffolding accessory to ensure you have the right tools for the job. 

Access systems are necessary when working in difficult-to-reach places. Bil-Jax Heavy Duty Stair Tower is a robust stair scaffolding system for worker access to buildings, bridges, observation towers, or interior/exterior renovations. It can also help with scaffolding setup. Bil-Jax Climbing Ladder offers 12-inch spacing for scaffold access. It easily attaches to the outside of frames and can be used with conventional guard railing, Panel Guard, or Easi-Guard. 

Bil-Jax EZ-RAX Scaffold Transport System is the industry’s first and only system of its kind. It provides agility to bulky scaffolding systems with its all-in-one solution for transportation, storage, and inventory management. 

Scaffolding Setup and Maintenance

The construction of the ideal scaffolding system requires careful planning, attention to detail during the setup process, and ongoing evaluation for safety and quality.

Scaffolding Setup Procedures

Proper setup begins by checking the load-bearing capacity of the soil and ensuring that it is strong enough to handle the project. This will allow for a good foundation or mud sill to distribute the scaffolding load over a suitable ground area. 

Before construction, set all scaffolding equipment as close to the usage area as possible and arrange it in the order it will be used. Confirm that all components are in quality condition.

After creating the first tier of scaffolding frames, check to see if everything is plumb and level. This will ensure subsequent frames are aligned correctly.

Securely tie the scaffolding to the structure at the ends and at least every 30 feet horizontally. It should be tied at height intervals not to exceed 4 times the minimum base dimensions. 

As the scaffolding becomes functional, add access and guard rail systems before giving the scaffolding a final inspection to ensure safety. 

Safety Precautions for Workers

Bil-Jax engineering department offers the following safety tips as guidelines for avoiding dangerous job-site situations:

  1. Check all OSHA, local, and state codes prior to using scaffolding
  2. Inspect and check the scaffolding daily
  3. Begin with good footing before ascending the scaffolding
  4. Reject damaged parts
  5. Add extra bracing if necessary
  6. Tie scaffold to the building
  7. Don’t overload the scaffolding
  8. Use metal walkboards when possible
  9. Don’t ride moving scaffolding
  10. Don’t climb braces
  11. Protect workers on lower levels
  12. Use double guardrails and toeboards on exposed sides on heights of more than 6 feet

By adhering to these standard safety protocols, workers can reduce the risk of a scaffolding accident occurring. 

Inspection and Maintenance Guidelines

Bil-Jax recommends the following steps when performing a final and daily inspection to ensure that the scaffolding is suitable for use:

  1. Check to see that there is proper support under every leg of every frame on the job. Check also for possible washout due to rain. 
  2. Check to make certain that all base plates and adjustment screws are in firm contact with their supports. All adjustment nuts should be snug against the legs of the frame. 
  3. Frames should be checked for plumbness in both directions. 
  4. If there is a gap between the lower end of one frame and the upper end of another frame it indicates that one adjustment screw must be adjusted to bring the frames in contact. If this does not help it indicates the frame is out of square and should be replaced. 
  5. Each leg of each frame should be cross braced to the corresponding leg of the next frame. 
  6. While checking the cross braces also check the locking devices to assure that they are all in their closed position or that they are all tight. 
  7. Check to be certain that all walkboards and accessories are properly installed. 
  8. Check to make certain all ties are secured between the structure and the scaffolding. 
  9. Check to be certain all guard rails are in place. 
  10. If scaffolding is enclosed, check to see that additional precautions have been taken as noted in Section of Erection. Recheck periodically ties, clamps, etc., for movement. 
  11. Ensure that safe access to work platform(s) is provided.

By checking each point thoroughly, a safe and accident-free jobsite becomes more attainable.

Scaffolding Disassembly Procedures

The protocols for disassembly are just as meticulous as those for assembly, safety, and inspection. Bil-Jax recommends the following 7 steps for successful scaffold dismantling:

  1. Check to see if scaffolding has been structurally altered in any way which would make it unsafe, and if so reconstruct where necessary before commencing with the dismantling procedures. 
  2. Dismantle scaffold from the top down. Begin by removing all accessories from that lift being dismantled at the time. 
  3. Always work from a minimum of two walkboards placed on the tier of frames below those being removed. Move the planking down as dismantling progresses. 
  4. Do not remove ties until dismantling has reached the tier to which they are attached. 
  5. Always stay within the inside of the scaffold. Do not climb on the outside for any reason when dismantling. Do not climb on ties, braces or unbraced frames. 
  6. Only remove fastening devices from the bottom of frames being removed. 
  7. Lower scaffolding components in a safe manner as they are dismantled. Avoid dropping or throwing the components as this could result in damage to the equipment, or injury to personnel below.

Proper disassembly can save significant time and money by reducing the risk of accident and ensuring the components are in good condition for future use. 

Tips for Efficient Scaffolding Use in Construction

Planning is essential for efficient and effective scaffolding use. Before you can choose the right scaffolding, you have to know the goals and big-picture of the construction project. Only then can you arrive at the appropriate scaffolding type and start piecing it together.


Knowing the area is equally important. Study weather in the area to determine if the weather will impact your scaffolding needs. 


Training is essential for effective scaffold use. In fact, workers should not be using scaffolding, at all, if they are not properly trained to do so. They can also be trained on how to assemble, use, and disassemble scaffolding. That way, they can quickly remedy any problems when they occur.

Scaffolding Safety Practices

Speaking of safety, it cannot be overstated when working with scaffolding. Use caution when walking near scaffolding or on the lower levels. Don’t have a cluttered scaffold with loose equipment laying around. Always stay under the scaffold’s load-bearing capacity. Perform daily inspections to ensure quality. In addition to guardrails, toeboards, and safety barriers, provide all workers with harnesses, lanyards, and any other type of fall protection.

Find Quality Materials

At the end of the day, creating a successful scaffold lies in the quality of materials you choose. Cheap, worn, and weathered products that fall short of industry standards are a quick route to a scaffolding catastrophe. Sourcing from a reputable manufacturer like Bil-Jax with decades of collateral in the industry gives you a major leg up on a successful project. 

Choose Bil-Jax for Essential Scaffolding Equipment

Scaffolding is a crucial component of completing work on tall buildings or those in hard-to-reach areas. Explore the resources at Bil-Jax today for everything you need for successful scaffolding.