How Much Does Scaffolding Cost in London?

A house without a roof surrounded by scaffolding

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April 11, 2024

Doing work to your home and need to reach areas which are well above head height? So high that even a ladder isn’t long enough? Then you’re going to have to consider scaffolding.

This is necessary to ensure that any tradesman working on your home – such as a roofer or roughcaster – doesn’t just have access to where they need to work, but that they are safe too.

Unfortunately, scaffolding isn’t cheap to hire. No, the cost of scaffolding is something you need to budget for in your project. And that’s why, to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled this quick-read, but detailed, guide to scaffolding costs.

Average Costs for Scaffolding in London

The cost of your scaffolding hire depends on two main factors. These are the height of the scaffolding, and how long you need it for. On average, you’ll pay around £900 to have scaffolding erected for a two-storey home.

If your project is minor, such as replacing guttering or roof tiles, then you may simply need a scaffolding tower (costing as little as £300 on average). In this instance, it’s probably best just to use your contractor’s scaffolding (rather than hiring your own) since some companies can make it extremely expensive to hire such a small amount.

For a larger project, such as painting the exterior of a large home, then scaffolding prices for three sides of a semi-detached house could work out at around £1000. On this, you have to add labour costs for erecting the scaffolding in the first place and then taking it down.

Single Scaffolding

Single scaffolding is the type used by bricklayers when they’re building houses. Once erected, it looks like an inverted ‘L’ shape. It’s inserted into the brickwork and allows labourers to walk along the planks from one wall to another in safety. Hiring this type of scaffolding has an average cost of around £110.

Double Scaffolding

Double scaffolding – often referred to as mason’s scaffolding – is erected when the initial set of scaffolding can’t be attached to the brickwork. It forms an ‘H’ shape (as opposed to the ‘L’ shape of a single scaffolding). That’s because another set of standards (a frame) is built beside the original set, with both tied together for stability. You can expect to pay an average of £250 for the hire of such scaffolding.

Patented Scaffolding Cost

Patented scaffolding is ready-made, meaning it’s easy to assemble so you’ll save on labourer costs. That’s because the boards have already been attached, via brackets, to the scaffolding frame. The cost of scaffolding in this case can be anything from £100 to £400.

Tube and Coupler Scaffolding

Scaffolding consists of tubes connected by couplers, this form of height access is used where buildings are particularly high so that scaffolding is built on top of other scaffolding. It’s also used when there are heavy loads to be carried, such as cement mixers. It can be quite tricky to put together.

Modular/Frame Scaffolding

Modular scaffolding also referred to as ‘system’ scaffolding, fits together in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. It’s easy to put together, consisting of horizontal ledgers, vertical posts, platforms and diagonal braces. Couplers are used to lock everything in place, ensuring stability.

Frame Scaffolding or ‘tube’ scaffolding – consists of vertical standards (frames) which connect via horizontal and diagonal tubes (ie ledger and braces). It’s erected by stacking it vertically.

Suspended Scaffolding

This type of scaffolding is suspended from a roof or higher building nearby, using chains or ropes. Windows washers regularly use a similar form of height access on skyscrapers. Scaffolding like this is often complicated to make and therefore expensive to buy. You’re looking at forking out £300 on scaffolding prices.

Trestle Scaffolding

With trestle scaffolding, the boards are placed on ladders or a tripod to support them. It’s not advised for heights more than five meters and it’s usually used for indoor work, such as painting or other interior décor projects. Trestle scaffolding can be handy for lower-level jobs as it can be easily moved around. Because it only takes around an hour to set up, trestle scaffolding can be hired for as little as £20.

Cantilever Scaffolding

Average costs are from £50 to £100 – depending on the size of the project. Cantilever scaffolding is used when the ground isn’t stable enough for standard scaffolding or it’s near a wall. It consists of needles which are placed in wall holes. This makes it a type of independent scaffolding.

Steel Scaffolding

Scaffolding for a project that is expected to take months and even years, is often steel scaffolding. A form of double scaffolding, the standards (frame) are welded to steel faceplates for security. It’s often used in busy locations where it’s impossible to build from ground level (such as a busy pavement area or road). When used on a building with height, labourers are often found wearing safety harnesses too. Scaffolding prices are from £100 up to £500-plus.

Aluminium Scaffolding

Aluminium scaffolding doesn’t have the same strength and therefore stability, as steel scaffolding. As a result, it’s used for quicker and lighter jobs, such as those indoors. Using this type of scaffolding outside in windy conditions could result in it being blown over. However, it does come into play if the ground conditions are such that the spot can’t withstand the weight of steel scaffolding (aluminium is three times lighter). Another big advantage of aluminium scaffolding is that it’s less likely to rust when cut. Steel scaffolding, on the other hand, has to be regularly checked for rust and corrosion.

Factors That Affect Costs

A house with scaffolding and a crane outside

How much scaffolding you’ll need, how easy it is to put together and where your property is, will affect the cost of hiring scaffolding. But then, so too will the number of tradespeople you hire to assemble it. In terms of location, we’re not just talking about what the ground conditions are like. No, we mean if you live in London and the southeast of England, then you can expect to pay a premium for scaffolding hire.

Project Size and Complexity

The bigger and more complex the project, the more scaffolding you’ll have to hire and the longer your tradespeople will spend putting it together. And that means more for scaffolding costs. If the scaffolding is erected where there is public access, such as on a main pedestrian street, then extra safeguards have to be introduced.

Number of Storeys

The taller your project, the more levels of scaffolding that will be needed. That will mean additional plank walkways and more scaffolding in the first place.

Number of Tradespeople

The scaffolding cost for one tradesman will be cheaper than if you have to hire two or three if you have a big project.

Height and Access Requirements

Ease of access to the building on which the scaffolding sits is important. If access is difficult then it will take time to erect the scaffolding. And time means money (or, at least, labour hours).

Duration of Use

The length of hire matters too. For instance, if you intend to hire the scaffolding for a lengthy period then it’s best to agree on a rate upfront – one which can be charged per week.

Type of Scaffolding

The type of scaffolding you will need for your project may change, depending on what you plan on replacing, restoring etc. Scaffolding built to bridge a conservatory, for instance, can cost anything from £500 to £1000 a week to hire. You can half this cost for access to a chimney (which will require fewer walkways).

Safety Regulations

Under current safety legislation here in the UK, tradesmen must use scaffolding if they intend to work at a certain height. This is because it’s deemed far safer than a ladder, for instance. In addition, this scaffolding must be erected by a ‘competent person,’ ie someone who, preferably, has done it before and certainly someone who knows what they are doing.

It is the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who oversees today’s Working at Height (WAH) legislation. Failure to abide by the rules can result in a hefty fine.

Customisation

A listed home or one in an Area of Outstanding Beauty near public access will be protected and any alterations to the property must be approved by Historic England or your local council. As a result, the scaffolding will have to be erected very carefully to ensure no damage ensues.

Insurance

Scaffolders are required to have public liability insurance so that if a member of the public is hurt as a result of their actions then they will be covered financially. It also extends to property ie if it is damaged.

Location

Expect to pay much more for scaffolding (up to £200 more, in fact) if you rent from a scaffolding supply business in a city (London being the most expensive due to the inflated costs of living in the capital). At the same time, national scaffolding supply companies will, on average, charge more than a small independent outfit in an out-of-the-way town or village.

Ground Conditions

If the ground on which you plan to sit your scaffolding is muddy and uneven then the scaffolders will have to stabilise it. This usually means using more equipment. Therefore, the scaffolding cost will increase.

Minimum Fee

Sometimes scaffolders will charge a minimum fee for their services, regardless of how small the job is or the length of hire. This is to ensure they are paid for their efforts, however little time the job takes them.

Jobs That Require Scaffolding

A house in the process of being built

It’s not just house building and other forms of construction that require scaffolding to set up. This is certainly one of the main uses for it, but there are others too, some of which are internal rather than external.

Construction of Buildings

Bricklayers use scaffolding to cope with continuing their job as the height of the walls increases. Having a stable platform makes working at a height far safer – and easier – for them.

Renovation and Restoration Projects

The same applies to those working on a building’s façade, fixing broken brickwork or attending to crumbling masonry. Many buildings need cleaning now and again, and often a scaffolding tower or platform is necessary to gain access.

Painting and Exterior Work

Exterior house painters often require the use of scaffolding to reach the upper areas of the house, under the eaves and for intricate painting around windows. Scaffolding doesn’t just allow them to reach these areas easier and quicker, it also means they’ve someone to place the paint tin and brushes they’re not using at that moment in time.

Window Installation and Repair

Window cleaners or individuals repairing and even installing upstairs windows will often require the services of scaffolding. This is especially true, in the case of window cleaners, if the building contains flats and is more than two storeys high.

Roofing and Gutter Cleaning and Repair

Roofers often require scaffolding to allow them ease of access to chimneys and guttering. This is usually just in the form of a single scaffolding tower, but it’s enough to give them stability and a sense of safety.

Media companies

TV, film and advertising companies often use a scaffolding tower to get dramatic footage. Sometimes they’ll use scaffolding to put up giant posters and banners for brand exposure.

Events Industry

Often event organisers will erect temporary seating at venues, such as sports tournaments or outdoor theatre plays. They sometimes need scaffolding to help them do this.

Permits for Scaffolding

No scaffolding can be erected here in the UK unless the project manager has obtained a permit for it. This is a necessity and it’s something that should be obtained before work commences and the scaffolding itself is built. Only those who have satisfied the criteria for a permit will be given one.

DIY Vs Hiring a Professional

It is difficult to get a permit for scaffolding hire unless you are already qualified to erect it. Therefore, setting up scaffolding simply isn’t a job you can do as Joe Public attempting a spot of DIY.

A scaffolding clamp

Finding a Scaffolder in London

To find a competent scaffolder in London who isn’t going to charge the earth, you’ll need to do quite a bit of research. You’ll also need to check that the scaffolding company has the correct qualifications. In the UK this is a qualification issued by the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS).

The firm should also be able to demonstrate that it has public liability insurance in place should a member of the public be hurt or, indeed, any of the scaffolders themselves. This applies to damage to your building too.

A further level of reassurance covers membership in a professional trade body, such as the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) or the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC). Being a member of either trade body ensures that the individual has both been trained and certified to erect scaffolding safely.

It’s also a good idea to check their previous working methods, if possible. By that, we mean take a look at online reviews and testimonials on their website and, if possible, speak to previous individuals they have completed work for.

In the case of the latter, you will find out, not just about their competency to do the job, but also what they were like to work with ie friendly, professional etc and if they completed the job in time.

The Page

To find a tradesman or scaffolding company look no further than here at The Page. Just let our team know what you need. We’ll take a look at your enquiry and send you a curated list of qualified scaffolders in your area.

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

All of the individuals or scaffolding companies we send you will have been personally checked and verified by ourselves. In other words, they will have the necessary qualifications and insurance for carrying out the work.

The scaffolding companies we recommend will also be members of a trade association. That way, in the unlikely event anything should go wrong with your project, you will be covered for compensation and repair. You can be confident too that we have personally checked on their previous working practices to ensure they abide by industry standards.

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We started The Page because we both had terrible experiences with tradespeople in London and were adamant we would help others to avoid this.

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