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Everything you need to know about Scaffold Tower

What is scaffold tower?

Tower scaffold is a raised structure that lets people work at height safely. It’s a modular system assembled to a desired height using a combination of side frames, braces, stabilisers and trapdoor platforms to provide a stable place to work from.

It’s made from tubular aluminium and is much lighter than steel scaffolding.

Types & sizes of scaffold tower

The main types of scaffold tower are:

  • Standard aluminium tower - Typical scaffold tower, assembled using 3T assembly method
  • AGR (advanced guardrail tower) - Built using frames rather than braces on the sides. A safer guardrail, less likely for a user to fall
  • Quad/boxing ring tower - A large deck tower, resembles a boxing ring. Useful for multiple people working at ceiling height
  • One man tower - Simple construction, can be put together by one person in less than 10 minutes
  • Stairway tower - Scaffold tower that is designed for staircases
  • Lift shaft tower - Narrow tower with horizontal stabilisers that brace the tower against a lift shaft.
  • Cantilever tower - Tower with a cantilevered platform. Requires counterweights to keep the tower stable & safe
  • Bridge deck tower - Two towers connected by a long frame to ‘bridge’ over an obstacle
  • GRP tower (aka fiberglass tower) - Scaffold tower where the components are make from fiberglass. Fibreglass is Non-conductive, making it useful in rail & utilities applications where there is a risk of electrocution.
  • Ultra Narrow Tower - 500mm wide tower for super tight spaces

Sizes of mobile scaffold tower

Scaffold towers come in different heights, lengths, and widths. Below is a list of all options in each dimension.

Height sizes: 2.3m, 2.8m, 3.3m, 3.8m, 4.3m, 4.8m, 5.3m, 5.8m, 6.3m, 6.8m, 7.3m, 7.8m, 8.3m, 8.8m, 9.3m, 9.8m, 10.3m, 10.8m, 11.3m, 11.8m, 12.3m, 12.8m, 13.3m

Widths: Single width (0.85m), Double width (1.44m)

Lengths: Short (1.6m), Long (1.44m)

Scaffold tower terminology

  • Handrail/Guardrail height: the height from ground level of the top of the guardrail.1.1m taller than platform height
  • Platform height: the height from ground level of the highest trap platform
  • Working height: platform height plus 2 metres (the accessible height from someone standing on the platform)
  • Double width/Single Width - towers can be built with either 1 or 2 platforms per level. 1 platform is single width, 2 platforms is double width
  • AGR – short for ‘advanced guardrail’ – replaces diagonal braces with side frames that make it safer
  • 3T – short for ‘through the trapdoor’ – the standard method for assembling alloy scaffold tower

Mobile Scaffold tower brands

  • Alto Tower by Lakeside Industries – that’s what we stock at City Hire. It's very strong, durable, and has many advantages when compared with other systems on the market
  • BoSS tower by WernerCo – very commonly stocked brand
  • LEWIS Industrial Scaffold Towers - an independent supplier of scaffold tower
  • Minimax by Youngman
  • Multitower by Zarges

Components that make up scaffold tower

Sides are made of frames, that vertically stack on top of each other. These can be either ‘rung frames’ or ‘rung ladder frames’. Only Rung ladder frames are designed to be climbed on.

Braces connect horizontally and diagonally to frames

Stabilisers clamp onto the corners of the tower and stop it wobbling

Trap platforms are the bit you stand on. They have a trapdoor built in to allow users to climb up and down levels

Toeboards are used on the top level of the tower. They prevent things rolling off the platform

Cost to hire Scaffold tower

We rent scaffold tower based on height. It costs about £15 per metre in height per week to rent a scaffold tower.

We also offer discounts on longer term hires and larger trade customers.

To buy a professional scaffold tower, it will cost between £500-£3500 depending on the size.

How to build scaffold tower

A standard scaffold tower will be erected using the 3T (through the trapdoor method)

Read our detailed guide on how to assemble Alto Aluminium Scaffold tower.

How to dismantle scaffold tower

Read our detailed guide on how to dismantle mobile scaffold tower

Tying in Scaffold Towers

Scaffold towers should be tied to a building at heights above 8m outdoors, and 12m indoors. Standard scaffolding tubes and fittings can be used to tie in scaffold tower, and ties should be spaced at no more than 4m intervals.

Inspection, care & maintenance of scaffold tower

Equipment should always be inspected before and after each use. Some key areas to check are:

  • Wheels: check brake mechanism and ensure wheel turns freely
  • Frames: check welds and look for dents, creases & crushes in the tubes
  • Platforms: check for any damage to plywood platform. Check that trapdoors are in good working order and ensure welds are intact
  • Braces: Ensure braces are straight & latch bolts are in place
  • Stabilisers: Ensure bolts & wingnuts are secure

Never use any equipment which is damaged, has parts missing or is improperly assembled.

Scaffold tower Training

PASMA is the body that governs tower training.

Working at Height Regulations 2005 says “the assembly, dismantling or alteration of Mobile Access Towers should only be undertaken by a competent person”

PASMA Tower for Users is the recommended course for mobile scaffold towers. It's designed for complete beginners and provides all the necessary training to get started erecting scaffold towers. The course lasts just 1 day and can be taken on your construction site or at a training centre.

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