Scaffolding is made up of sturdy steel poles and walking boards that give tradespeople the ability to work safely at height, usually around a building. It’s more commonly used for work outside.
Costs can quickly build up without you noticing when it comes to scaffolding, so it’s good to get to know how you can reduce costs and make it a cost-effective endeavour for yourself.
This article will cover how much scaffolding costs, what affects the cost of scaffolding, how to save money on scaffolding, what’s involved in putting up scaffolding and how to find and hire a scaffolder.
If you need some work completed at height and don’t want to risk using a ladder or simply can’t reach the area without specialist equipment, keep reading to find out the best ways of securing the equipment you need at a price you are happy to pay.
How Much Does Scaffolding Cost?
The cost of scaffolding might seem expensive, but it’s an essential part of securing a worksite and providing access to hard-to-reach areas. By understanding the cost factors involved and gathering several quotes, you’ll be able to ensure you’re getting the best price for your project.
On average, scaffolding hire costs anywhere from £40 to £150 per day, or £15 to £20 per square metre. This doesn’t include accessories or permits.
Most scaffolders hire out scaffolding for 6 to 8 weeks at a time, although a small number of companies may be able to offer a shorter rental period.
Costs by House Size and Type:
|TYPE OF HOUSE||WEEKLY PRICE|
|2 bed terrace||£700 to £900|
|3 bed semi-detached||£950 to £1,100|
|4 bed detached||£1,000 to £1,300|
|10 metre scaffold up to first floor||£500 to £700|
A two-bed terraced house can command prices of between £700 to £900 per week, while a three-bed semi-detached house will generally be between £950 to £1,100 per week.
Moving up the size scale, a four-bed detached house can be anywhere between £1,000 to £1,300 per week and a ten-metre scaffold up to the first floor would be between £500 and £700 per week.
Costs by Job Type:
|JOB TYPE||WEEKLY COST|
|Gutter repair||£250 to £500|
|Chimney repair||£300 to £600|
|Wall work||£950 to £1,200|
|Bridging over a conservatory||£450 to £900|
In general, scaffolders prefer large jobs, and you shouldn’t expect a small project to come in extremely cheap. If you need to repair a leaky gutter or replace a couple of roof tiles, you might only need a single, vertical tower. For a gutter repair job, you can expect costs of between £250 to £500 per week.
Cracked and unstable chimney stacks often require repair work, and though you don’t need to wrap your entire house, you’ll need to access the chimney and secure it. This means scaling the height of your home and then wrapping all four sides of the stack. Chimney repair work will likely be between £300 to £600 per week.
Wall work comes in at between £950 to £1,200 per week
There are times when you’ll need some special equipment to access areas with poor access. For example, you may need to erect a bridge over the top of a conservatory to reach the exterior of your home. Because of the equipment and extra time required, bridging over a conservatory is estimated at £450 to £900 per week.
Cost of Accessories:
|Edge protectors||£10 each|
|Waste chutes||£50 to £70 each|
Finally, let’s look at the price of some accessories associated with the job. Edge protectors and handrails are both £10 each; while waste chutes will cost between £50 to £75 each.
What Affects the Cost of Scaffolding?
Many factors affect scaffolding prices. Regional difference will have an impact on the final price as well as other factors, such as the length of time needed and at what height.
Here are the main factors that can affect the cost of scaffolding.
Length of Hire
The standard length of hire is between six and eight weeks, and you should be quoted for a fixed sum for this.
If the work’s expected to take longer, you’ll probably have to pay an additional weekly rental rate. Make sure you know this information upfront to avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.
The Height of the Scaffolding
The taller your scaffolding needs to be, the more money it will cost.
In all instances, your scaffolders should obtain the correct permits to have the structure in place for the period as agreed, so make sure this is the case to avoid any fines or angry letters from the council over your job.
As with all jobs, your location can have a big impact on the price.
Although this isn’t something you can change, you can make sure you’re always looking at regional prices instead of general estimates for the entire U.K.
Number of Walking Levels (also known as Boarded Lifts)
Scaffolders normally provide ladders and handrails as standard and have specialised equipment to work in difficult spaces, such as a narrow alleyway or bridging over a conservatory.
Several levels can be incorporated into a scaffold system, though each lift and level will increase the price.
The more levels you need, the more expensive scaffolding will be. If you’re working on a chimney or roof, you’ll probably only require one lift and walking level.
However, for larger jobs, you may need two or more walkways.
Whatever the case, your scaffolder will be able to let you know what’s necessary for your particular job, so you can be prepared for the associated costs, too.
Restriction of Public Access
In some cases, scaffolding may need to be erected on a public road or footpath. In these cases, you’ll have to get a licence from your local council which can hike up the cost.
It is the scaffolders responsibility to get hold of this, but you should always double-check this has happened before any work starts on your property so you’re not liable for any issues.
Licenses are priced as follows:
- City of London: £425 for 7 days, or £500 per month
- Glasgow City Council: £305 for the first month, and £161 for every additional month thereafter
- Newcastle City Council: £157.50 for the first 28 days, and £68.25 for every additional 28 days thereafter
- Plymouth City Council: £82 per 28 days, or £122 if you apply with less than three working days’ notice
- Swansea Council: £2 per linear metre for the first 28 days, with a minimum charge of £85 per 28 days
There could be instances where special requirements might need be put in place for the work to begin. This could mean having to bridge a gap over a driveway, as an example.
If you need scaffolding at the back or side of your home and you have a conservatory, the scaffolders will need to build a bridge over the conservatory which could cost you an extra £450 to £900 per week.
Ease of Access
The cheapest quotes will be for situations where scaffolders can snap together the frame quickly and simply. However, if the ease of access is limited, and the work needs to be carried around or through the house you should expect your quote to be more expensive.
The Length of Hire
As shown in our opening price tables, the longer you need the scaffolding up, the higher your price will be. This can also be commonplace for people to be caught out on fees as scaffolding companies reveal their minimum hire periods, so always make sure you’re aware of this from the offset.
How Can I Save Money on Scaffolding?
With a hire as expensive as scaffolding, you need to be savvy when collecting prices and looking at potential leads. Here are the ways we suggest you look to save money on scaffolding:
Assess Your Needs
Do you really need scaffolding? It’s not the only option when you’re needing to work at height, which is something to bear in mind when looking for contractors.
You may be able to access whatever you need to with the use of a cherry picker, access tower or scissor lift – so it’s best to work out the scope of the work needed first, and then if you’ve explored all options and have found that you do need scaffolding, at least you know for sure you’re making the right decision, and not just spending a lot of money for something that could have been a lot cheaper with some thought.
Hire Your Own Scaffolder
Some contractors may have their own preferred scaffolding company who they might recommend to you when booking in your job.
They will likely earn a commission from the referral, and although it may be convenient to have their recommended company working alongside them, they’ll probably come at a marked-up price.
You don’t have to use the one recommended by your builder or tradesperson, and you can search for your own company which can help to reduce your costs as you’re going to them directly.
Use Local Scaffolders
National scaffolders will be more expensive than local traders – so where possible, utilise the smaller companies to help save you some money along the way – but always check to make sure if they have a minimum hire period as this can be a hidden cost that can raise your prices without you realising.
What’s Involved in Putting Up Scaffolding?
Your scaffolder will be trained to put up the scaffolding structure, and it’s not something you should attempt to do yourself.
An elaborate scaffold structure is often needed when you’re having roofing work done, and you’ll need three sides of your property wrapped in scaffolding. Erecting the steelwork to gutter height and providing a lift and one walkway level will cost between £650 and £850.
If you’re in London, prices may be as high as £1,100. You should remember that if additional levels are required, costs will be even higher.
How Do I Find and Hire a Scaffolder?
When you’re paying large sums of money for work, it’s essential to gather a minimum of three quotes before deciding on a contractor.
In the first instance, it’s a good idea to seek recommendations from family, friends, and neighbours, including anyone on your road or nearby who has had scaffolding erected recently to see if they’d recommend who they went with for their job.
Even if they don’t recommend them, they’re still helping you by crossing a potential lead off your list which will save you time, money and hassle in the long run.
You can search the NASC – National Access and Scaffolding Confederation – which is a database with scaffolders who are NASC members which gives them a mark of quality, safety and professionalism.
Using HouseholdQuotes will similarly help you to find reputable traders in your area, as well as keep your search streamlined onto just one website, instead of you having to click between tabs and windows to keep track of who you have found for what price.
What’s more, using HouseholdQuotes can usually save you up to 40% on your fee, which is a considerable saving when you take stock of the original cost.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
Written quotes are an essential part of the negotiating process, as without them you don’t have anything concrete to refer back to when comparing quotes from different traders.
They also help to solidify what you’re being offered and for what price, with an itemised list from the contractor. This is great to refer to if any issues crop up along the way, as both parties have something to look back on and consider if there is any confusion.
Much like a job application, seeking out a contractor’s previous experience is essential as it’ll give you a broader picture of what they’re capable of and crucially if this matches up with what you need from them.
In a similar vein, reading through their recent references, as well as looking at any photos or videos of their past work can be a great way of seeing if they’re a good match or not and if their words live up to what their work is like in reality.
Finally, all scaffolding contractors should come with insurance to cover themselves and you in the event of any issues during the job. Make sure you just double-check this before agreeing to any work as it will save you hassle further down the line if there are any issues.
If you’re planning a big job at home, or need to have your roof worked on, then hiring scaffolding is usually a big cost you’re going to have to grin and bear.
With such high price points, it’s best to know your stuff before you get started on anything – so here’s our final checklist to make sure everything is taken care of:
- Assess your needs: do you need scaffolding, or would something like a cherry picker suffice for a smaller job?
- Always ask for minimum hire fees: these may not be immediately obvious but can bump expected costs up considerably
- Use HouseholdQuotes to find a suitable contractor from a database of vetted individuals, and look to save yourself up to 40%
- Ensure your contractor gets a permit for erecting the scaffolding and has the correct insurance and qualifications to put the structure up in the first place
- Seek out their references and look into their experience to make sure they’re a good match for the work you need doing
- Consider your TV signal if you have a satellite dish, and if this will impact the signal over the duration of the structure
- Always make sure your scaffolders are checking the integrity of the structure after bad weather; after one week; and before they step foot on the structure in the first place
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Planning Permission for Scaffolding?
Not as such – but you do need a license for it to be up, which is the scaffolder’s responsibility to obtain from the council before any work commences.
Are There Any Rules or Regulations for Scaffolding?
You cannot put up scaffolding yourself – it has to be done by a professional who is trained and competent, else it will be in breach of government guidelines.
Licenses and permits for use will need to be obtained from the council, and this is usually the scaffolder’s responsibility, but it’s always worth double-checking this before agreeing to any work so that everyone knows who is responsible for what.
The .gov page on scaffolding says that the scaffolding must be tested and checked for safety:
- Before you first use it
- Every 7 days while it’s up
- After alterations, damage or extreme weather conditions.
When Do You Need to Use Scaffolding?
Generally speaking, whenever a structure is being built, demolished or repaired, there will be a need for scaffolding to keep the environment safe for both the workers and those around the worksite.
There are instances where smaller working at height machinery can be used instead – such as a cherry picker – but these are nuanced and best left to the professionals to say what’s safe and reasonable to use as equipment when it comes to certain jobs.
How Does Scaffolding Work?
Scaffolding is essentially a frame that wraps around an existing structure or an area of a proposed structure to help contractors to work safely at height.
In instances where contractors need to be elevated for long periods, with a good amount of access from all angles, scaffolding is the structure of choice over less permanent equipment like cherry pickers and access towers.
Is There a Minimum Rental Time?
Most scaffolding hire companies will want to let out their equipment for a minimum of between six to eight weeks – which can be costly.
Some companies are more relaxed and will let scaffolding out for more short-term projects which will prevent you from having to pay huge sums of money for something that is perhaps only needed for a short amount of time.
Alternatively, there are different options to scaffolding to consider, which we will discuss next.
Are There Any Alternatives to Scaffolding?
There are plenty of alternatives:
- Access towers
- Cherry pickers
- Scissor lifts
So for hard to reach areas in narrow gaps or places where scaffolding simply can’t be erected, there are options for you while working at height.
These are also great options for when you just need a quick job doing, and don’t want to be lumbered with a minimum hire fee from a scaffolding company, who are likely to want six to eight weeks of hire fees paid for the usage of their equipment.
Can You Put Up Scaffolding if You Have a Satellite Dish?
You can – but it may affect the signal, as explained below.
If the scaffolding is being prevented from being put up correctly or safely because of where the dish is attached to your home, the solution may lie in having it taken off and reattached elsewhere.
You can contact your satellite provider for options on this, and have someone come out to fit it in an alternate location if it’s going to be a problem during the scaffolding work.
Will Scaffolding Affect My Satellite TV Signal?
If the scaffolding is blocking your TV satellite dish while it’s up, then it will likely affect your TV signal.
Although this will return to normal once the scaffolding is taken down, it will be something to bear in mind while it’s up and could be a potential problem if you have to have the structure there for a long period.