Rolling Scaffolding

Having been awarded the tender to provide all scaffolding on-site by main contractor O’Hare & McGovern Ltd, the City Access Scaffolding team began work to identify the most efficient and effective way to deliver the required scaffolding. A major feature of the design from Allan Murray Architects is a multi-functional atrium – a striking and versatile space at the heart of the building.

However, this posed a significant challenge for the City Access Scaffolding team due to the sheer size of the atrium which the client required a traditional birdcage scaffold design to aid the construction of the roof that would require 13k cubic metres of scaffolding, with an equally vast weight. of over 56 tonnes.  Using a birdcage scaffold of that size would result in significant disruption to the construction and impede the progress of the project.

Potential complications arising from the traditional birdcage design for atrium scaffolding:

  • the weight of scaffold materials could result in damage to the atrium floor, incurring further cost and extending build time
  •  a requirement to prop the underside of the atrium floor from the level below due to sheer weight of required scaffold, again increasing the overall cost
  • restricted access to the internal atrium area,  meaning a large amount of the construction programme (atrium steel staircases, underfloor heating system, internal balustrades etc) would have to be delayed
  • no materials distribution to internal levels by internal site crane (originally erected within atrium space until completion of roof)
  • increased hazards and risks while the scaffold is erected due to increased build time and materials being used
  • client costs significantly higher due to requirements for more scaffolding and associated labour

It was clear that a different, more innovative approach was required, so Mark Skinner and Jonathan Allan considered what alternatives were possible. They had a concept in mind and after discussing materials available from one of their scaffold suppliers the team explored whether a movable access scaffold could be developed. Using an external design supplier’s CAD components previously used for a mobile roofing system, City Access Scaffolding came up with a design for a rolling scaffold, the first of its kind in Scotland.

This is a significant improvement over the traditional birdcage scaffold, and this innovation in the scaffolding materials used on site has many benefits:

  • vastly reduced build/dismantle time of scaffold – it’s estimated 1500 man hours were saved on this alone
  • risks & hazards associated with build vastly reduced
  • weight transferred to the roof slab instead of atrium floor, with minimal imposed loads
  • ease of use and operation – can be moved easily to required work locations of roof area by only one man
  • positive implications for the project schedule – use of the rolling scaffold allowed the construction programme for all internal atrium works to be brought forward and achieved earlier in the programme
  • internal crane able to distribute materials to internal levels of atrium
  • huge reduction in the amount of scaffolding required – only 9 tonnes versus 56 tonnes required by the traditional design
  • cost saved to client in reduced labour & hire was over £60,000


Project Savings In excess £60,000
Man Hours Saved 1500

Rolling Scaffolding Video



The weight of scaffold materials could result in damage to the atrium floor,  the Rolling Scaffolding avoids weight any issues which could have incurred further cost and extended length of project build.

Restricted Access

There was restricted access to the internal atrium area, thus meaning a large amount of construction programme (Atrium steel staircases, underfloor heating system, internal balustrades etc.) would have been delayed until scaffold is dismantled. The rolling scaffolding provided access to these areas.