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Metal and Pipe scaffolding is rapidly replacing bamboo supports in India
December 2010

While metal scaffolding is the norm for most skyscrapers in India, it works out cheaper for builders or repair & maintenance contractors to simply use bamboo. And considering its a lot cheaper to own bamboo, as opposed to renting out the metal scaffolding, its going to be a while before contractors in the smaller cities move to using metal. However there is a growing concern of safety among builders and contractors and this will be the prominent demand driver for metal and pipe scaffolding in India, finds, Chandrashekhar Modi.

Scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures. It is usually a modular system of metal pipes or tubes, although it can be made out of other materials, one of them being bamboo.

Key Elements

The key elements of a scaffold are standards, ledgers and transoms. The standards, also called uprights, are the vertical tubes that transfer the entire mass of the structure to the ground where they rest on a square base plate to spread the load. The base plate has a shank in its centre to hold the tube and is sometimes pinned to a sole board. Ledgers are horizontal tubes which connect between the standards. Transoms rest upon the ledgers at right angles. Main transoms are placed next to the standards, they hold the standards in place and provide support for boards; intermediate transoms are those placed between the main transoms to provide extra support for boards. Since scaffolding is a physical structure, it is possible to go in and come out of scaffolding.


The basic materials are tubes, couplers and boards. Tubes are either steel or aluminium, although composite scaffolding uses filament wound tubes of glass fibre in a nylon or polyester matrix. If steel they are either ‘black’ or galvanised. The tubes come in a variety of lengths and a standard diameter of 48.3 mm. (1.5 NPS pipe). The chief difference between the two types of tubes is the lower weight of aluminium tubes (1.7 kg/m as opposed to 4.4 kg/m) and also a greater flexibility and so less resistance to force. Tubes are generally bought in 6.3 m lengths and can then be cut down to certain typical sizes.
Boards provide a working surface for users of the scaffold. They are seasoned wood and come in three thicknesses (38 mm (usual), 50 mm and 63 mm) are a standard width (225 mm) and are a maximum of 3.9 m long. The board ends are protected by metal plates called hoop irons or sometimes nail plates. As well as timber, steel or aluminium decking is used or laminate boards. As well as boards for the working platform there are sole boards which are placed beneath the scaffolding if the surface is soft or otherwise suspect, although ordinary boards can be used, another design called the scaffpad is another solution as it is made from a rubber base with a base plate moulded inside. These are great to put on uneven ground because they adapt to any ground where sole boards would split costing more money to replace. A short section of steel scaffold pole.

Couplers are the fittings which hold the tubes together. The most common are called scaffold couplers, there are three basic types: right-angle couplers, putlog couplers and swivel couplers. To join tubes end-to-end joint pins (also called spigots) or sleeve couplers are used, or both together. Only right angle couplers and swivel couplers can be used to fix tube in a ‘load bearing connection’. Single couplers are not load bearing couplers and have no design capacity. Other common materials lnclude base plates, ladders, ropes, anchor ties, reveal ties, gin wheels, sheeting, etc.

Focus on safety

The designers of temporary structures must give top priority to safety. Steel can be used as formwork material to generate good quality concreting work with adequate safety. Steel scaffolding can be reused several times more than formwork or scaffolding made exclusively using timber and plywood. Temporary structures are subjected to unique loading conditions that do not apply to a permanent structure (fluctuating or dynamic load, impact loads, loads that change position). For designing a temporary structure too, the contractor must engage an engineer to ensure safety. These structures should support loads of fresh concrete (in case of forms), equipment, workers, impacts of various kinds along with their self-weight. All stakes, braces and other supporting members should be properly secured and inspected before use so that they can support all vertical and lateral loads that might be applied.

Formwork – emerging trends

A formwork system refers to the moulds used to hold and support wet concrete until it cures, which is pretty much a vital element in concrete construction. Considering that concrete has proved to be the best construction material for tall buildings and their foundation - it resists fire, protects against noise, water storms and extreme temperatures, besides allowing unfettered, imaginative, contemporary architectural design - as an integral part of concrete construction, formwork systems have also had to keep pace with its modernisation. Over the years, as high-rise buildings have slowly emerged to dominate cityscapes and building materials and systems have evolved, so too, formwork systems have evolved from being customised timber-based to pre-engineered systems made of steel, aluminium, manufactured timber, plywood and plastics. This advancement, especially in the case of high-rise projects has translated into faster implementation with lesser labour, implying enhanced productivity while delivering a better finished product.

Prefabricated formwork best suits where customised solution is required

says Surajit Ray, Country Head, Ulma Formworks India

Discuss the different types of form works that are used for various purposes.
A broad classification of different types of formwork would be Vertical Formwork, Horizontal Formwork, Support systems and Scaffolding for access systems. In general, horizontal and vertical formworks are composed of timber and steel components, where as supports and scaffolds are made of steel only. Again formwork systems may be of crane handling type, automated manual handling type or manual handling as the case may be. Vertical formworks are mainly used for construction of Piers, Columns, Shear walls of Residential towers etc. Horizontal formworks mainly serve the purpose
of concreting of slab. Scaffold and access systems are used for finishing job of outer facade of buildings, access to elevated heights where concreting is required etc.

Please elaborate on the emerging technologies in the form work market.
The current Indian construction market is in great demand for speedy construction to complete projects in time with equally important focus on quality and safety. Hence emerging technologies in formwork system tends towards using of light weight modular panels capable of manually handling and easy assembly and dis-assembly. Also, when vertical construction is required at heights above 50 m, the trend is to use a fixed formwork system carrying working platforms and safety arrangements which are handled by automated mechanical process. Similarly, to cater to flat slab trend prevalent in this market, light weight modular panel Formwork with preset re-propping system finds increased acceptability with construction companies.

Please comment on the selection of a particular type of form work for specific application.
Selection of particular type of formwork depends upon the weight of concrete and the various heights at which the construction is to be done. Also, the shape of the concrete, the pouring height availability or non- availability of crane at site determines the selection of particular type of formwork.

What is your take on the prefabricated form work market in India?
Prefabricated formwork best suits where customised solution is required and repetitive usage of the same formwork to provide the same shape and size to concrete is required. Generally the cost of prefabricated formwork is deemed to be amortised throughout the construction of the specific projects; chances are minimised for usage of the same formwork for the next or a different type of project. In this aspect, modular formwork system or a system made up of various formwork components allows greater flexibility of usage over a larger life cycle duration of the components.

‘Modular scaffolding technology began with Allround scaffolding’

Mithilesh Kumar, Additional General Manager, Layher Scaffolding Systems talks about the scaffolding systems in India.

What are the aspects to be considered while offering complete scaffolding systems in India?
Metal scaffolding are being increasingly used these days because of their several advantages over the conventional type of Scaffoldings, such as ease and rapidness with which they may be erected, dismantled, stored and re-use, rigidity of construction and more reliable assessment of their performance. Though, metal scaffoldings may be constructed from steel or Aluminium alloy. The steel tubes for individual component type scaffolding as per IS: 2750-1964. Lots of scaffolding systems available in market, it is too tough to select systems which will applicable for any structure (means more flexible). Modular scaffolding technology began with Allround scaffolding, and to this day this system is a byword for reliable scaffolding technology, all-round application and fast, safe assembly on all construction sites. The consistent orientation of our product policy to your requirements, and our efforts to give you the best possible support, make us, the Layher Company, a partner you can rely on when it comes to scaffolding systems. And with the Layher “More Possibilities Package” – plus our complete product range of acknowledged high quality – we offer you a unique service with the single aim of securing your success in the long term.

What are the factors that have contributed to the growth of Layher Scaffolding Systems in India?
Layher Bautechnik offers a diverse product range of efficient solutions in building implements, building machinery, storage technology and scaffolding systems. As an innovative supplier we are partners of enterprises in the construction business and secondary businesses such as contractors, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, etc.

Here the name Layher stands for proven and practical products, high quality and precision, i.e. best efficiency, and for new innovative products for every day’s work.
We are always near to our client. Layher Allround scaffolding has become established on the market as a synonym for modular scaffolding. With its unique technology, the Allround¨ connector has superseded conventional scaffolding connection techniques. The original offers an unbeatable variety of uses: at every construction site, in industry, chemical plants, power stations, shipyards and for events. As scaffolding for working, protection, facades or for support, as internal or birdcage scaffolding, or as rolling towers. Allround equipment caters flexibly for all your requirements, even with very difficult layouts and architecture styles and with heightened safety requirements.

One of your superior system technology -- the 8 hole rosette -- self-securing assembly, automatic right angles, minimum number of components. Has there been any upgradation in this to meet certain specific requirements?
The new LAYHER STAR frame perfectly combines the advantages of SpeedyScaf with the flexibility of Allround equipment. Revolutionary is the right word for the new guard rail fixture and its closing bracket, operated without any tools and markedly speeding up the assembly of guard rails. Unbeatable: the new LAYHER STAR frame assures additional savings from an increase in the assembly speed.

Lower weight:

1. Lower purchase costs
2. Faster assembly and guard rail fitting without tools
3. Only two additional main components are needed
4. Compatible with Allround Scaffolding components, protective systems and accessories
5. Decks not necessary in every floor

Can you elaborate on the safety aspects being considered in scaffolding systems construction?
Layher not compromise with quality and safety of product at any cost is the key factor for safety. We have completed lots of biggest project without any hazards. Use of toe guard, toe board and hand rail at proper height as per safety norms. The only modular scaffolding with two general building authority approvals: for steel Allround connector Z-822-64, AND FOR Aluminium Allround connector Z-8.22-64.1. Layher have building authority approvals – DIN EN 12810/12811 and DIN 4420 & German operating safety regulations-BGV C22 for “Building work” accident prevention regulations, BGI663 and other regulations.

Info Profile

Devco India: Riding the infra boom
Devco is a supplier to the best known construction houses in the country and have supplied to their most prestigious projects. Devco is into manufacturing of scaffolding equipment and accessories – like H frames, telescopic props, spans, tailormade wallforms, floor forms, flexi forms, soldiers and splayed wall forms and cornice moulds, hop-up brackets, cantilever frames and access stairways.The company’s esteemed clients include Voltas (International Operations), Voltas (Cooling Appliances), K. Raheja Group of companies, Shapoorji Palonji & Co, Godrej & Boyce Co, Blue Star, Binani Metals, Binani Pultrusion, Jebel Ali, BT composites, LANCO Infratech, NTPC among others. The company is also into refrigeration components and its service spans over 35 years as supplier to Voltas and now being the sole supplier for their refrigeration components export business.
For further info: Email:

A.G.C. Scaffolding: Scaling new heights
A.G.C. Scaffolding based in Thane district, is a new generation scaffolding company backed by its parent company, Khanna industrial pipes (KIPPC) a pipes & tubes manufacturing company, who has diversified into scaffolding manufacturing since the last ten years. The company is currently manufacturing number of products such as Kwiklok systems, Props Jacks and related items catering to the boom in the infrastructure development. The raw material mainly pipes and tubes is sourced from the parent company ‘KIPPC’ which is an ISO 9001:2000 company, manufacturing as per various Indian and international standards. The company is using tubes with higher tenstile strength as per the requirement of the customers. It is associated with reliable, quality concerned manufacturers and are outsourcing products not in the manufacturing range to service customers to the fullest.
For further info: Email:

Dhruva Scaffolding System: Envisioning a better tomorrow
Dhruva is the manufacturer of various scaffolding accessories like scaffoldings, cuplock system, floor formwork, slab shuttering, wing nut, drop head, universal jacks and adjustable base jacks. The company is a vibrant and multidivisional organisation that thrives on continual success. This has been possible through the far-sighted vision of Amitabh Banerjee, Managing Director, who envisions Dhruva as the market leader in providing support and solution of a class-apart and offering its customers futuristic benefits through innovative and incomparable services in their highest standard of quality and safety.’ The Dhruva team strives to accomplish this vision by incorporating measures such as best business practices, technological upgradation, resource productivity, cost effectiveness and speed. Dhruva is providing world-class service to various large construction companies for more than 30 years.
For further info: Email:

Tejus Industries: Supporting the construction industry
Tejus Industries is manufacturer for wide range of Steel centering, scaffolding material and construction equipments. The company has state-of-the-art manufacturing unit located at Chikhali, Pune, which houses a designing facility to cater the different requirements of contractors for tailor-made scaffolding material. The company has the latest technology to manufacture wide range of centering material with proper drawing and design back-up. The company also supplies Scaffolding components like Props, Spans, Cuplock, Centering Plates on hiring basis. The company assures all its customers of good quality scaffolding at an economical cost. The company is also into spreading awareness of sub-standard scaffolding among builders.
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ULMA Construction: Climbing the growth ladder
ULMA Construction has a vast experience in offering industrialised services and solutions for formwork, shoring and scaffolding to the construction sector. It offers products and solutions with good spirit of service, technical assessment, on-site delivery and post sales service. It recognises individual problems of each jobsite and resolves them with reliability, quality, safety and economy criterion. Throughout all these years, ULMA Construction has developed its activity with a fundamental goal to establish a long-lasting relationship with clients through excellent service, coordinating the efforts of both, so all projects are successful. The products include vertical formworks, climbing systems, horizontal formwork, civil engineering systems, props and shoring, formwork beams and plywood and scaffoldings.
For further info: Email:

Projects Info / Feature

Projects Info, Scaffolding, Metal, Skyscrapers, Bamboo, Safety, Pipe, Ledgers, Transoms, Scaffpad, Couplers, Formwork, Surajit Ray, Ulma Formworks India, Prefabricated, Mithilesh Kumar, Layher Scaffolding Systems, Modular, Layher Bautechnik, Devco India, A.G.C. Scaffolding, Kwiklok, Dhruva Scaffolding System, Tejus Industries
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