What are the best access options for a façade project?

Tubular scaffolding is so common on construction sites that it’s easy to think it’s the go-to option for all trades.

In a nutshell:

  • Traditional scaffolding may not be suitable for installing architectural façades
  • Mobile elevating work platforms could be quicker and more cost-effective
  • Façade companies also use scissor lifts, mast climbers, suspended scaffold systems and hanging cradles
  • Seemingly expensive access options that suit all trades may be best
  • It’s important to determine façade installers’ access requirements early in project planning

But did you know that traditional scaffolding may not be suitable for installing architectural façades or brise soleil systems, and that other access options may be quicker and more cost-effective?

In fact, without checking what’s best for façade installers, it may even be necessary to dismantle scaffolding and re-erect it. This is because installers need access behind the scaffold for large panels or specialist equipment.

Today, façade companies use many different types of access equipment.

  • Mobile elevating work platforms, otherwise known as ‘cherry pickers.’ These typically consist of an aerial work platform at the end of a hydraulic lifting system. Cherry pickers can be positioned safely and accurately.
  • Scissor lifts or mast climbers. These are suitable if the installation job only requires going straight up. They provide flexible and safe access for installers in what is essentially a mobile scaffold gantry.
  • Suspended scaffold system or hanging cradles. When it’s difficult to erect regular scaffolding or use ground-based equipment on very tall structures, working from platforms that hang from the top may be more suitable.

At first glance, these systems may appear pricey. But taking a holistic view of access options, and using something that suits all trades may be more cost-effective in the long run.

Either way, it’s best to determine façade installers’ access requirements as early in the project planning process as possible.

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