Scaffolding West London – Case Study 1

Scaffolding West London – Case Study 1

A fully boarded access scaffolding at the old EMI offices in London

Scaffolding West London

MTEC Scaffolding won the tender for the CH2M scaffolding West London project in December 2015. An existing commercial client, Saracen Interiors, would be the main contractor.

Independent Access Scaffolding West London

In late December 2015 work began on a fully boarded access scaffolding at the old EMI offices in Hammersmith. The property is now home to CH2M Hill, the international engineering company.

The South elevation alone stands 27m high and 70m long, amounting to over 1,900 square meters of scaffolding. The roof needed replacing so whilst our partners at London Hoist installed a goods hoist, we erected a 25m rubbish chute in order to clear the old roof. Eventually every elevation had scaffolding erected.

The entrance to site was via a car park belonging to the neighbouring property. This area is busy throughout the day hence the need for “safe routes” to access site. Using chapter 8 barriers we separated the risk area from the safe zones effecting total protection for staff and the general public. No one was permitted in the risk area without a permit to work. We use signs to redirect away from hazards enabling all employees to use the area safely.

As our operatives need free and safe movement whilst working they always use fixed line harnesses with double lanyards. We used “scaffsteps” to erect the handrail in advance. Scaffolders also built the next working platform from the lift below, laying out all boards prior to moving up a level.

We were aware this would be a long term project and so we used brand new, FSA approved scaffolding boards. Weekly inspections by qualified personnel were essential for identifying deficient boards or ties that had worked loose. This ensured continued safety for anyone using the scaffolding.

Temporary Roof

In January 2016 MTEC submitted an additional cost to erect a temporary roof scaffolding over half the block. This would allow works to continue during bad patches of weather whilst protect the occupied floors from potential rain damage.

Scaffolding bridges

For the bridge and cantilever sections we used our latest purchase of Apollo 750 X-beams. These beams are as tough as they sound, there are no stronger beams available! The largest span over the walkway joining CH2M with the neighbouring block is on the South elevation. The distance is in excess of 12m long and would therefore required 6 pairs of beams and 12 legs to support the imposed loads.


Busy office block in Hammersmith, West London.
27m High.
350m long.
750 - Apollo X beams for bridged sections.

Client Requirements

Access scaffolding West London.
Erect a fully boarded, fixed independent scaffolding to the CH2M office block in Hammersmith, West London.
Provide safe access for roof replacement, re-decoration, re-pointing and general repairs to all elevations.
Install goods hoist and rubbish chute to South elevation.
Obtain all licenses and permissions required for the planned works.
Provide full structural drawings.
Ensure total protect of the general public, office staff and site operatives at all times during the course of works.
Conform to all health and safety and legal requirements and ensure good relations with office personnel and neighbouring blocks.
Complete the works in a fixed time frame and ensure other trades were not held up by access requirements.

MTec Solution

Step one was to visit site and take measurements for the scaffold designs. As many of the original structural drawings were not available we did this by hand.
With the drawings underway we looked at risk management and method of works. We worked with the main contractor, Saracen Interiors and the client CH2M Hill to provide fire escape and traffic management plans.
We identified risks from falling materials to collisions with the scaffolding structure and countered each with tried and tested measures, such as plastic sheeting on the scaffolding to stop objects falling, protection fans over entrances and additional lighting to show the "safe routes".
We completed the method statement and risk assessment and added this to the file.
Next we discussed power requirements and possible positions for the goods hoist.
We compiled all the information and sent it to the client for final approval and after a couple of small adjustment we were ready to start construction on time.


This project was completed in 2017.


Independent Scaffolding

What is independent scaffolding used for, and how is it different from similar types?

While the basic principles behind scaffolding systems are relatively simple, there are many subtle variations to the design and erection of scaffolds which can prove confusing for the uninitiated.  When you engage a scaffolding company for your project, it’s important to use someone who is fully up-to-date with current standards and techniques, and knows which scaffolding methods should be applied in various circumstances.

When you mention scaffolding to a member of the public, or even to many within the construction industry, the image which pops into their head is a large building with several levels of platforms standing close against the exterior wall.  Certainly, an all-access scaffold which covers the face of a building is one of the most visible and functional types of erection, but even within this description, there are distinct types.

Most likely, the picture in your head is one of an independent tied scaffold.  Independent access scaffolding is a technique used to allow workers of any trade or specialization to reach any part of a wall or building easily to do their work.  It also allows for heavy tools or materials to be brought in and used at any level, without making compromises in terms of safety.

Such an erection is ‘independent’ in that it stands on the ground, and bears its own weight – it is not supported by the building it is erected against, or any other exterior structure.  The word ‘tied’ in the description refers to the fact that the scaffold is tethered to the wall for stability, but not for support.  The wall can help to prevent the scaffold from deforming, but does not bear the weight of the scaffold, or any weight which is placed upon the scaffold.

This makes an independent tied scaffold different to a free-standing scaffold, which has no physical contact with the structure it is used on.  Free-standing arrangements are often used for structures which are not a convenient shape for the scaffold to be tied to, for example, when working on the face of a cantilever roof.  They can also be used when the side of the building may be too weak or delicate to support ties, eg. In the case of historic buildings.  Internally, free-standing may be the best option for decorating scaffolding as it will leave no marks on the walls.  On the other extreme, independent scaffolding is also different from putlog scaffolds, which use the building wall directly for support.

Independent erections are a great type of scaffolding for window replacement, exterior decorating, brickwork repairs, and other similar tasks.  They can also be used for roof work, and temporary roof scaffolding can be mounted on top when necessary.  That’s why we say that when you imagine scaffolding on the side of a building, you’re most likely thinking of the independent type.

Of course, the key to professionalism in the scaffolding trade is being able to know exactly what type of solution is required in any given situation, and how to achieve it.  For more information on independent scaffolding services, contact us.