Palmer Jones Biography & Facts
Scaffolding, also called scaffold or staging, is a temporary structure used to support a work crew and materials to aid in the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, bridges and all other man-made structures. Scaffolds are widely used on site to get access to heights and areas that would be otherwise hard to get to. Unsafe scaffolding has the potential to result in death or serious injury. Scaffolding is also used in adapted forms for formwork and shoring, grandstand seating, concert stages, access/viewing towers, exhibition stands, ski ramps, half pipes and art projects.
There are five main types of scaffolding used worldwide today. These are tube and coupler (fitting) components, prefabricated modular system scaffold components, H-frame / facade modular system scaffolds, timber scaffolds and bamboo scaffolds (particularly in China and India). Each type is made from several components which often include:
A base jack or plate which is a load-bearing base for the scaffold.
The standard, the upright component with connector joins.
The ledger, a horizontal brace.
The transom, a horizontal cross-section load-bearing component which holds the batten, board, or decking unit.
Brace diagonal and/or cross section bracing component.
Batten or board decking component used to make the working platform.
Coupler, a fitting used to join components together.
Scaffold tie, used to tie in the scaffold to structures.
Brackets, used to extend the width of working platforms.Specialized components used to aid in their use as a temporary structure often include heavy duty load bearing transoms, ladders or stairway units for the ingress and egress of the scaffold, beams ladder/unit types used to span obstacles and rubbish chutes used to remove unwanted materials from the scaffold or construction project.
Sockets in the walls around the paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, suggest that a scaffold system was used for painting the ceiling, over 17,000 years ago.
The Berlin Foundry Cup depicts scaffolding in ancient Greece (early 5th century BC). Egyptians, Nubians and Chinese are also recorded as having used scaffolding-like structures to build tall buildings. Early scaffolding was made of wood and secured with rope knots.
Scaffolding was erected by individual firms with wildly varying standards and sizes. The process was revolutionized by Daniel Palmer Jones and David Henry Jones. Modern day scaffolding standards, practices and processes can be attributed to these men and their companies: Rapid Scaffold Tie Company Ltd, Tubular Scaffolding Company and Scaffolding Great Britain Ltd (SGB).David Palmer-Jones patented the "Scaffixer", a coupling device far more robust than rope which revolutionized scaffolding construction. In 1913, his company was commissioned for the reconstruction of Buckingham Palace, during which his Scaffixer gained much publicity. Palmer-Jones followed this up with the improved "Universal Coupler" in 1919 - this soon became the industry standard coupling and has remained so to this day.Advancements in metallurgy throughout the early 20th century saw the introduction of tubular steel water pipes (instead of timber poles) with standardized dimensions, allowing for the industrial interchangeability of parts and improving the structural stability of the scaffold. The use of diagonal bracings also helped to improve stability, especially on tall buildings. The first frame system was brought to market by SGB in 1944 and was used extensively for the postwar reconstruction.
The European Standard, BS EN 12811-1, specifies performance requirements and methods of structural and general design for access and working scaffolds. Requirements given are for scaffold structures that rely on the adjacent structures for stability. In general these requirements also apply to other types of working scaffolds.
The purpose of a working scaffold is to provide a safe working platform and access suitable for work crews to carry out their work. The European Standard sets out performance requirements for working scaffolds. These are substantially independent of the materials of which the scaffold is made. The standard is intended to be used as the basis for enquiry and design.
The basic components of scaffolding are tubes, couplers and boards.
The basic lightweight tube scaffolding that became the standard and revolutionised scaffolding, becoming the baseline for decades, was invented and marketed in the mid-1950s. With one basic 24 pound unit a scaffold of various sizes and heights could be assembled easily by a couple of labourers without the nuts or bolts previously needed.Tubes are usually made either of steel or aluminium; although there is composite scaffolding which uses filament-wound tubes of glass fibre in a nylon or polyester matrix, because of the high cost of composite tube, it is usually only used when there is a risk from overhead electric cables that cannot be isolated. If steel, they are either 'black' or galvanised. The tubes come in a variety of lengths and a standard outside diameter of 48.3 mm. (1.5 NPS pipe). The chief difference between the two types of metal tubes is the lower weight of aluminium tubes (1.7 kg/m as opposed to 4.4 kg/m). However they are more flexible and have a lower resistance to stress. Tubes are generally bought in 6.3 m lengths and can then be cut down to certain typical sizes. Most large companies will brand their tubes with their name and address in order to deter theft.
Boards provide a working surface for scaffold users. 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 either by metal plates called hoop irons or sometimes nail plates, which often have the company name stamped into them. Timber scaffold boards in the UK should comply with the requirements of BS 2482. As well as timber, steel or aluminium decking is used, as well as laminate boards. In addition to the 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 also be used. Another solution, called a scaffpad, is made from a rubber base with a base plate moulded inside; these are desirable for use on uneven ground since they adapt, whereas sole boards may split and have to be replaced.
Couplers are the fittings which hold the tubes together. The most common are called scaffold couplers, and 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. 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.
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