March 27, 2023

Impact of scaffolding efficiency on overall project cost and schedule is far from boring

By Jim Taylor

Scaffolding efficiency might not be everyone’s favorite topic in the construction and maintenance world, but it is of incredible importance.

The subject of scaffolds may seem monotonous, boring, and seemingly simple to those not bitten by the scaffold bug. However, the cost and schedule implications of scaffolding on any construction, capital project, turnaround, or maintenance job are enormous, giving scaffolding an importance that should place it on top of every financial manager and project manger’s list of things to get right.

Several studies have indicated that scaffolding ranks as one of the most important, as well as the most challenging and potentially wasteful, indirect construction costs for projects by industry leaders, owners, academia, and contractors.

Thankfully, AMECO has developed processes to adjust for the complexity and combat wastefulness in scaffolding. AMECO uses a predictive modeling approach that gains a level of cost and scheduling certainty on scaffolding efforts that can’t .

Scaffolding is more than a to-do list item

A common problem for capital projects or shutdown and turnaround efforts is going over budget on scaffolding.  Labor required for scaffolding installation alone can represent 20 percent of the total direct field labor requirement for a project. Increasing labor efficiency can be the key to significant savings on scaffolding by reducing installation time.

AMECO doesn’t treat scaffolding as a task on a project manager’s checklist. Instead, scaffolding management is elevated to a planned project discipline. Incorporating scaffolding into project pre-planning enables innovative designs and customer solutions that can dramatically reduce field modifications, excess material, and craft hours needed for installation.

Couple pre-planning with using innovative and modern PERI UP Flex modular scaffold  system, and scaffolding is then safer and quicker to install. The PERI Up system installs 40 percent faster than tube and clamp systems, further enhancing labor efficiency.

See a PERI UP side-by side comparison 

Plan early for increased efficiency

AMECO Scaffolding designers meet with a client to review scaffolding material needs and schedule. A key way to boost efficiency is to engage a scaffolding designer as early in the process as possible. Embedding a designer into the engineering team, coordinating with the construction team on overall strategy and constructability, and developing a scaffold methodology early, allows for the creation of detailed, more accurate estimates. As the model progresses, scaffolding details emerge, allowing integration of innovative techniques to minimize material, maximize labor output, and increase safety.

By modeling the vast majority of scaffolds required for construction, integrating these scaffolds into Construction Work Packages and the construction schedule, a scaffold material recycle plan can be created, maximizing utilization of materials, holding construction partners accountable, and decreasing costs.

Simplicity builds scaffold efficiency

Simplicity of scaffold builds increases onsite efficiency. But it is easy for a design team to overcomplicate a design or create clashes that require rework onsite. Ensuring that the design team reviews the model for clashes and congestion and designs the best fit-for-purpose scaffold for access into the work front will save a lot of headaches from occurring in the field.

This simplicity can often avoid confusion with the erection crews, saving time and rebuilds. With accurate pre-planning, scaffold yard personnel are able to pick the exact material needed for each scaffold, deliver it to the erection site, and provide the build team with interactive model shots to increase build efficiency.

Labor is the key to containing cost

Labor is the costliest portion of any scaffold project, typically accounting for between 80- to 85 percent of the total scaffold contract value. Equipping the crew with simple installation instructions is another way to gain scaffolding efficiency. AMECO has a proprietary program that communicates the exact scaffolding material needs and configuration for each structure. This eliminates rental of unnecessary material and provides clear installation instructions to the build team.

Working with a scaffolding prover that employs an Integrated Scaffolding Solution that goes beyond material supply and includes 3D design services and can include providing labor for scaffold installation and dismantling These benefits, along with utilization of one type of scaffold system site-wide, improve labor efficiency during scaffolding installation and reconfiguration.

Learn more about AMECO’s Integrated Scaffolding Solutions and request more information from a scaffolding expert.

Jim Taylor is Senior Director Integrated Scaffold Solutions at AMECO.  A version of this article appeared in the March 2023 issue of BIC Magazine. 

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