With the press of a button, the new computer programme will generate scaffolding designs that comply with European Standards for around 80% of the temporary structures commonly used in construction.
It has gained the blessing of the Health and Safety Executive and UK Contractors Group as a giant leap forward in simplifying the process of delivering scaffolding erections that meet current working at height regulations.
The advance in scaffolding design is being rolled out by the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation, which has spent around £600,000 developing the digital tool.
It is a key part of the latest technical guidance for the industry, known as TG20:13, which sets out practical everyday designs to comply with the latest industry standards.
Using the new interactive e-guide, scaffolding contractors will be able to key in basic design parameters to generate a compliance sheet that arms them with proof that the design option meets necessary Eurocodes.
Kevin Ward, president of the NASC, said: “This is really going to revolutionise the scaffolding industry.
“We as a firm spend around £40,000 a year on outsourced design services. The new e-guide, which generates compliant design sheets at a stroke, could cut that cost in half.
“We will still need bespoke design for some structures but around 80% could easily be generated in-house.”
It covers most standard scaffolding configurations and generates options on stipulating tie spacing, ledger bracing and transom units.
The software package also generates bridge bracing, birdcage, ladder access tower and chimney stack designs for different building and wind loading conditions.
A main contractor told the Enquirer: “We are looking at adopting this because it gives our project team a fast way to assess whether to use scaffolding or cherry pickers for a job at a pre-bid stage.”
Another scaffolding firm said: “This should give main contractors the confidence to stop demanding bespoke designs for basic structures.
“The system produces designs that are already in effect proven with backed up calculations.
“It means we do not have to spend time and money proving quite basic designs and can concentrate on the stuff that really needs to be designed.”
The NASC hopes to transform working practices across the industry so a TG20 compliance sheet becomes accepted proof for main contractors that scaffolding designs are up to scratch.
Stephen Ratcliffe, Director of UKCG, said: “We applaud and support the work of the NASC which will no doubt result in safer scaffolding structures being installed and thus reduce the frequency of scaffolding failures, which at present occur far too frequently across the industry.
“The UKCG recommend the adoption and standardised use of TG20:13 to the wider industries that utilise scaffolding structures both within and outside the construction sector.”