Supported Scaffolding Types

 In Blog

Because most of us aren’t erecting, using, or breaking down scaffolds on a daily basis, we may not notice just how many types of scaffolding there are. And while they all serve the same purpose, different jobs demand different scaffolds. Some are only designed for a single level while others can be built for great heights. Let’s have a look at some supported scaffolding types.

Basic types of suspended scaffolds are as follows:

  • Tube and Coupler
  • Frame
  • Mobile
  • Pole/Wood
  • Specialty

Supported Scaffolding

Tube and Coupler

This is a common type of scaffolding because of its versatility. Like giant tinker toys, these scaffolds consist of a series of metal tubes are held together by couplers to form joints. Because they are usually made of metal, this type of scaffolding is very heavy duty and used for heavy loads.

That durability also makes them popular when several platforms are needed to reach high places, like painting the exterior of a two-story home. Because they can be put together in so many different configurations, extra care should be taken when constructing this scaffolding.

After cross-bracing has been completed, decking of some kind (wood or metal) is placed on levels where work will take place. This scaffolding allows workers much more freedom of movement than boom or scissor lifts, although they do take longer to place.

Steel Scaffolding/Frame Scaffolds

Similar to tube and coupler scaffolding, this type of scaffolding comes in modular components. Where you would need four pipes and four joints to make a section with tube and coupler scaffolding, steel or frame scaffolding come in pre-fabricated frames.

This scaffolding is easy to work with and can be constructed in many configurations. Using baseplates to provide a solid foundation for frame scaffolding is a must and all connections should be double-checked during erection and throughout the job. If one section fails, the whole scaffold could fail. If the scaffold reaches a certain height, bracing it to the building is required.

Held together by diagonal and cross beams, frame scaffolding can be stacked several stories high for larger construction projects. Extension ladders, built-in stairs, or ramps are used to give workers access to different levels. Work platforms are positioned where the work is to take place.


As the name suggests, this is the most mobile scaffolding system. Equipped with wheels or casters at the base, the platform can easily be moved into place. This is ideal for covering parts of a facility of a certain height. While mobile scaffolding can be used on any surface, it is highly recommended that the area is level.

Every wheel or caster needs to have some kind of locking mechanism to keep it from moving while in use. Most of the time, casters come with a lock to keep it in place. If not, blocks or some other device is required to keep the scaffold from moving.

Pole/Wood Scaffold

Although not used very much today, wood scaffolds are used when work takes place in the same area for a length of time. Virtually every wood scaffold is a one-time use because they are built for a specific need. They take longer to erect and to dismantle. Because there are so many other options, wood scaffolds are rarely seen anymore.

There are a few ways to erect these scaffolds: single and double pole. A single-pole wood scaffolding system is affixed to a standing structure or wall. A double-pole scaffold is built independently of any other structure. Both types need standard braces, runners, and bearers.


Needed in tight quarters and other unusual spaces, there are several types of specialty scaffolding systems. Horse scaffolds, chicken ladders, and even stilts fall into the category. Each is used for a specific purpose and, in some cases, that purpose only.

For example, the chicken ladders resemble the ramps used on chicken coops. Used in roofing, these ladders are placed on a roof and hook over the top of the peak to provide more stable footing. Other systems use common construction equipment to create scaffolds. Sawhorses and ladders can be used to provide lift when necessary, but only to certain heights.

No matter what kind of specialty scaffold is being used, safety is of utmost concern. When applicable, braces and runners are OSHA requirements. At great heights, fall protection must be used and hardhats are always a necessity at a construction site, even if not on scaffolding at all.

Have an upcoming construction project, plant relocation, or facility upgrade and not sure where to start? Need more info on supported scaffolding? Storee Construction has been working in the midwest for more than 50 years and we have the experience to keep your jobs on budget and on schedule. Contact us and let’s find out how we can work together.