Scaffolding Terms Explained

Confused by scaffolding terminology?  We’ve put together this handy graphic and guide to brake down some of the most commonly used terms in scaffolding.


Decking – Used to describe the horizontal platforms that support workers when on the scaffold.  Working platforms should be boarded close to full width at heights above 2 meters to reduce the chance of falling.  These platforms should also be an appropriate width for the work being committed.

Guardrails – These rails run along mid-height when standing.  They are a requirement on all scaffolds at over 2 meters where there is a risk of falling.  Guardrails should be fixed between 91cm – 115cm above the working platform. If the guardrail is above 91.5cm, with a second guardrail or higher toe board, so the gap between the guardrail and toe board doesn’t exceed 76.5cm. Guardrails can be removed for required work purposes but must be placed back as soon as conveniently possible.

Ledgers – Ledgers are horizontal tubes that connect between standards along the length of the scaffold.  Also known as a “runner” these tubes add further support and help with weight distribution.  Ledgers should be secured to the inside of standards with load-bearing couplers.

Longitudinal or Facade Bracing – A tube of bracing that is fixed at a 35° and 55° helping to prevent sway. Facade bracing should be fixed at every lift level, including the base.

Putlogs / Transoms – Fixed securely ontop of ledgers or standards running from back to front across the width of the bay.  Transoms or putlogs are secured with right-angled or putlog couplers.

Scaffold Boards – The individual boards that make up a scaffold platform.  These boards can overhang a putlog or transform, but this must not be greater than 50cm.  How much a board can overhang can also depend on the thickness of the board.

Standards – The long pipes that run vertically supporting the weight of the scaffold to ground level.  Standards are secured at the bottom to base plates and sole boards which help to distribute the weight.

Ties –  Ties are used to attach the scaffold to the structure/building; this helps to provide greater stability and prevent inward/outward movement.

Toe Boards – Running along the bottom underneath the midrail and guardrail these boards help to prevent tools, equipment and debris from falling over the edge of the scaffold.


Got questions about how your scaffolding is put together? You can find some helpful information at the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website, or speak to one of our experienced scaffolders:

Call us any time to discuss any concerns you have with your residential or commercial scaffolding. 01303 627438


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