Scaffold Builder Job Description
A scaffold builder is responsible for building up and breaking down temporary scaffold structures. A person who isn’t afraid to climb, walk, and work at high elevations can succeed in this role. Scaffolds are used in a variety of industries such as construction, entertainment, shipbuilding, mining, utilities, drilling, and more. Scaffold builders are responsible assembling and dismantling scaffolding structures that allow workers to access specific portions of a building to perform needed work. These construction leaders take corrective action to prevent job hazards and keep their team safe from injury. Scaffold builders have flexible schedules and can work part or full time. They often travel to various jobsites and work outdoors in warehouses or on ship ports.
Scaffold Builder Duties and Responsibilities
While a scaffold builder’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these core duties include:
Securely Attach Scaffolds to Larger Structures
It’s the vital responsibility of scaffold builders to build safe scaffolding that stays connected to a large building or structure. They set base anchors and install cross braces, ladders, and guardrails that allow others to work at various heights. Scaffold builders must assemble scaffolds according to federal safety requirements concerning the erection and disassembly of scaffolds.
Coordinate Transport of Heavy Materials
Safely hoisting and lowering materials onto and off of the scaffold during erection and dismantling is a key duty of scaffold builders. They conduct work in a logical and organized fashion. Their job is to anticipate their crew’s next move. Scaffold builders often work with crane operators to properly rig material onto platforms using equipment such as slings and cables.
Assemble Piping Systems
Scaffold builders assist in the assembly of pipe spools and pipefittings. They often work with welders in this process. Pipe scaffolding is a common framework used in the construction and renovation of hotels, condominiums, office buildings, schools, and colleges.
Complete Visual Equipment Inspections
Scaffold builders complete daily visual inspections and light maintenance to guarantee that equipment is working properly. Their job is to notify supervisors of any damage, breakdowns, or safety issues. Scaffold builders must report all personnel injuries without delay after an accident.
Interpret Blueprints and Work Orders
Scaffold builders must accurately interpret and apply information from job orders, work orders, blueprints, sketch drawings, and other blueprint documents. They also submit time cards and correctly complete any additional paperwork that’s required.
Scaffold Builder Skills and Qualifications
Scaffold builders should have a “safety first” attitude and strong mechanical skills. Licensing requirements vary by state, but at least one year of scaffolding experience is typically sought out. Employers also prefer candidates who possess the following skills:
- Scaffolding experience – skill with the proper techniques for erecting and dismantling scaffolding is essential for scaffold builders to do their job well
- Basic arithmetic – scaffold builders perform basic math calculations to determine safe weight loads and interpret blueprints
- Parts inspection and assessment – the ability to inspect scaffold components and recognize damaged or defective parts is vital for scaffold builders. They regularly perform hands-on scaffold and rig assessments to ensure worker safety
- Familiarity with crane operations – scaffold builders must skillfully execute hand signals and man lifts, forklifts, and company trucks
- Physical fitness – scaffold builders work in extreme weather conditions, stand or walk for long periods of time, and climb, stoop, bend, crouch, and crawl in restricted spaces
- Communication skills – creating and maintaining positive working relationships with coworkers, agencies, clients, and crew members is important to this role
- Organization skills – successful scaffold constructors are detail oriented and follow instructions carefully to prevent potentially dangerous conditions
Tools of the Trade
Scaffold builders work outdoors and are comfortable using the following equipment on a typical workday:
- Portable power and hand tools (hammers, ratchets, power drills, and hammer drills)
- Manufacturer-specific scaffolding parts (Tublox, Safeway, Safety-Green, Betco)
Scaffold Builder Education and Training
There are no minimum education requirements to become a scaffold builder. Some employers prefer candidates to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and familiarity with federal Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) regulations.
Employers typically seek a minimum of one year’s experience in construction or scaffolding in addition to a driver’s license. However, several companies are willing to train individuals if they have no experience.
Scaffold Builder Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for construction laborers and workers as $33,450. The lowest 10 percent of workers earn less than $21,930. The highest 10 percent of workers earn more than $60,860. Employment of scaffold builders is project to grow 12 percent through 2026, which is faster than average for all occupations.
Full-time scaffold builders employed by large companies typically receive benefit packages that include paid vacation time and health insurance.
We searched the web for the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a scaffold builder:
Scaffolding (A Basic Safety Perspective) – this textbook and quick reference guide for the safe set up of scaffolding structures can help prevent collapses
Scaffolding Association – this industry organization is dedicated to improving safety standards and providing technical guidance for people in the industry
Scaffolding: The Handbook for Estimating and Product Knowledge – check out this training and reference book full of product information and estimating techniques
Scaffold and Access Industry Association – SAIA is dedicated to educating scaffold builders in the best and safest work practices
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