Ian's Guide to Industrial Manufacturing

What to Ask When Renting Scaffolding

Renting scaffolding can allow a homeowner or contractor access to areas of a home or building that need repair or repainting, without using dangerous ladders or other unsecure pieces of elevated equipment. Scaffolding means you will have a long platform for safely holding supplies as well, so you're not trying to balance a bucket of paint and other items while working at an elevated height. When you are ready to rent scaffolding, note a few questions to ask so you know what's involved in the rental and are sure to get the pieces you need and can use them properly.

1. Ask what their liability insurance covers

A scaffolding rental agency should have liability insurance for their pieces, but note that this may only cover any type of defect in the scaffolding itself. It may not provide coverage if you should fall, assemble the scaffolding incorrectly, or use indoor scaffolding outside. You may want to ask about this, as your homeowner's insurance or property insurance may not cover these issues either, so you would be liable for medical bills after a fall or may need to pay for the repair of the scaffolding if you use it incorrectly. Be sure you understand all aspects of liability so you know what is and what is not covered by their insurance policy and can have a rider attached to your homeowner's policy if necessary to cover any liability costs associated with the scaffolding use.

2. Note if you need an interior stairwell

For very tall scaffolding, you may prefer an interior stairwell, meaning a set of small steps that are installed inside the scaffolding. These are usually easier to climb than the ladder part of the scaffolding on the outside of the frame, and they can also keep the scaffolding properly balanced when you're climbing it. This is something to consider if you're working alone and won't have someone to assist with keeping the scaffolding in place.

3. Ask if they can assemble and disassemble the piece for you

Don't assume that scaffolding comes assembled, as it's often transported in pieces that you need to assemble yourself. This can be a quick job for lightweight and small pieces. However, for larger pieces, you might ask the agency if they will assemble it for you. Taking apart the pieces can also be a challenge and, again, especially so for larger pieces that don't just snap together but which get bolted into place. The rental agency may do this; even if it means an added fee, it can be worth the cost to ensure it's done right.