How to become a Scaffolder

Do you want a stable, fulfilling and rewarding career in construction? You could consider becoming a scaffolder. Scaffolding is the use of temporary structures to support people and materials while working on buildings or other high structures. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, read on for more information about what it takes to be successful as a scaffolder.

You will first need your CSCS green labourers card, this is a basic card to get on construction sites. You will need this to be able to go forward onto anything else in the construction industry.

(COTS) is a one day training course that is for anyone wishing to get into the scaffolding industry. It’s a basic safety course designed to make sure you understand health and safety around scaffolding structures.

You will then need to complete the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) An NVQ is awarded by an approved instructor following successful completion of a training course.

There are a number levels to go through, such as

Labourer – The CISRS labourer card is valid for 5 years.

Base – This allows the card holder to erect a basic structure not exceeding a height of 6M.

Trainee scaffolder – These can undertake scaffolding duties under the supervision of a qualified scaffolder.

Scaffolder tube and fitting – With this card you can lead a gang in basic scaffolding operations. Cards are valid for 5 years.

Scaffolder system – You can apply for this card if you’ve done the rest. It says on the back of the card your qualifications, what you can and cannot do.

Advanced scaffolder – You can now lead a gang erecting advanced structures.

Basic scaffold inspection – You can do a 3 day inspection course as long as you already hold the relevant experience.

Advanced scaffold inspection – A 2 day course aimed at supervisors and managers.

Supervisor – A 5 day course for people wanting to be a supervisor.

Scaffold fittings

As a scaffolder you will need to learn about the different fittings, such as




Joint pins

Base plates, etc

Also various lengths of tube, so if someone says longs they mean 21 Foot tubes. Then you have the different lengths of boards as well.

What to expect when working on site

When you turn up on site you should have your hard hat, hi viz and steel toe cap boots. You’ll be given a site induction, so you know the health and safety rules for the specific site you’re going to be working on.

As a scaffolder you will also need a harness, Impact driver with spare batteries, 21mm socket, manual wrench, reciprocating saw, spirit level and a radio.

Depending on the size of company you are working for, you may have to load the scaffolding on the truck yourself. Or you may go to the site and have a lorry bring it to you. The forklift driver will normally unload the parts as near to the desired plot as possible. The scaff mat should already of been laid so you will put out base plates around the plot and go from there.

Recent Posts