What is bamboo scaffolding?
Bamboo scaffolding is a type of scaffolding made from bamboo and is commonly used in the construction industry as a temporary structure. Unlike other types of scaffolding that you will find in most parts of the world, bamboo scaffolding is only made from bamboo tied together through nylon straps. It is renowned for its strength, innovative prospects and ability to be used on small projects or megastructures.
Is it still used?
The use of bamboo scaffolding is on the decline, but it is still used. It is most famously used in Hong Kong, where they still use bamboo for scaffolding as well as building material. You may still find bamboo scaffolding being used in China and parts of India. However, it is now a threatened industry, there are only a few companies that specialise in bamboo scaffolding and finding successors is a difficult task. This reason, alongside many others such as the job being laborious, repetitive, low pay and high risk means that the industry has an ageing population.
The Hong Kong government has tried to protect this trade, implementing certification programmes to address safety concerns. They also made courses and apprenticeships with scaffolding companies available for prospective workers to learn. But ultimately, there are more educational degrees and opportunities available now which means people are less inclined to enter the industry.
Why do Hong Kong still use it?
However, the industry has not vanished as fast as experts predicted and bamboo scaffolding is still a common sight at the sides of half constructed buildings in Hong Kong. So why do they still use it? There are many reasons:
Readily available from nearby sources
Cheaper compared to other scaffolding types
Lightweight- this means more bamboo can be transported to site, saving time and money in a densely populated city.
Assembly and disassembly is dramatically quicker compared to steel and aluminium scaffolding. It can be built six times and taken down ten times faster!
The know how is still available
What has been built using bamboo scaffolding?
Bamboo scaffolding helped to build the bridges for one of the greatest architectural structures of all time, The Great Wall of China. Other structures include worshipping halls for festivals, such as the Yu Lan Ghost Festival and Cheung Chau Bun Festival. Bamboo scaffolding is also famous for building temporary Cantonese opera theatres.
Why use bamboo scaffolding?
Bamboo scaffolding has many benefits which is why it is a popular choice of material in Hong Kong. It is a material that Asian countries have an abundance of, which means that it is cheap to resource. It is also one of the fastest growing materials in the world with the ability to grow up to three feet a day. This means bamboo is easy to replenish and extremely eco-friendly. It is lightweight whilst being durable to support the weight of the workers and equipment. This also means that it is easy and quick to construct, with crews able to construct up to 1,000 square feet in one day. It also has the benefit of being able to be cut and tailor-made to any contour of construction, something that metal scaffolding can not offer.
How strong is it?
Bamboo is extremely strong and resilient. Steel has tensile strength of 23,000 per square inch, bamboo on the other hand, has 28,000 per square inch. The strength and its durability is why bamboo has successfully been used in the construction industry for many years.
How do you make it?
Bamboo scaffolding is essentially made by tying pieces of bamboo together. Tying them together creates vertical squares, which act as support for the structure but also as a ladder for the workers to move up and down. This is repeated until the structure is completed. It can then be attached or anchored to the building to ensure a more solid structure. To dismantle bamboo scaffolding, the workers start at the top and work their way down. They cut the nylon straps and pass the pieces of bamboo down.
Types of bamboo you can use
There are two types of bamboo that are used for bamboo scaffolding construction. The most common is gaozhu, it comes from a species called Bambusa pervariabilis. This type is used to build the foundation of bamboo structures. The other type is maozhu, this is thicker and longer and comes from Phyllostachys edulis. Regardless of the type, when bamboo is being used for scaffolding, it needs to be completely dried out and not have cracks or rot.
Safeway Scaffolding Limited
Safeway Scaffolding is one of the biggest scaffolding companies in the Midlands catering for the whole region. We pride ourselves on being able to provide commercial and bespoke scaffolding contracts to clients in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Leicester Nottingham and Wolverhampton. If you are in need of scaffolding, Safeway Scaffolding has the knowledge and experience to help. Please contact us on 01675 465593
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