Scaffolds should only be used once these requirements are met and approval has been given by site management.

Erecting a Scaffold

Before errecting a scaffold, site management must ensure:

  • A Safety Plan is developed
  • Emergency procedures are included in the Safety Plan
  • The Safety Plan is communicated effectively to staff on site

The Safety Plan should be reviewed by site management before commencing work to ensure it specifically includes:

  • The scaffold is erected by a scaffolder certified for the type of scaffold to be erected. A copy of Scaffolder's Certificate of Competency is to be provided to site management
  • The WorkSafe NZ Notification of Particularly Hazardous Work form has been completed for a scaffold more than 5 metres high and a copy provided to site management
  • A (TMP) Traffic Management Plan (where required) has been submitted to and accepted by the Local Authority. A copy of the TMP is to be provided to site management
  • All risks have been identified, assessed and adequately controlled especially those related to falls from heights and protection of workers and public from falling objects

A site management representative should inspect the scaffold prior to acceptance and use to ensure:

  • The scaffold is sufficent for the job and fit for its intended purpose.
  • An information tag is fitted to the scaffold and is completed and updated at weekly inspections (daily for suspended scaffolds).
  • All scaffolds over 5 metres, all suspended and all special scaffolds have a register on site and this is completed and updated at weekly inspections by a certified scaffolder. Suspended scaffolds should also be inspected daily by operator.
  • The scaffold has a suitable foundation including sound supporting structure, a steel base plate and if necessary a timber sole-board or bearer. If in doubt seek advice from an engineer. Mobile scaffolds are to have castors with brakes and should only be used on firm level surfaces.
  • Appropriate access is provided to the scaffold platforms by way of secure ladders, stairs or access directly from the adjacent structure.
  • The scaffold structure is sound, including provision of adequate ties, bracing, outriggers (or rakers) and suspended scaffold suspension rigs. All prefabricated scaffolds must be erected to the manufacturers' assembly instructions.
  • The scaffold platform is decked the full width of the scaffold structure and is no further than 300mm from the work face and if greater, then either inside planks or internal guardrails and toe boards are to be fitted.
  • All scaffold platforms have full edge protection including top guardrails (between 900mm min and 1100mm max), mid rails and toe boards. Containment screening is to be provided when required by risk assessments. 

Do you need training to set up a low-level scaffold?

Everyone involved in the scaffolding process must have the knowledge and skills to perform the work safely, regardless of the height of the scaffold. You’ll also need the right certification, depending on the situation. To set up a scaffold under 5m, you must be what is called a “competent person”. Being competent means you have:

The knowledge and skills to carry out a particular task. This could be gained through training, qualification, or experience, or a combination of these.

Tip: Be aware that the 5m is measured from highest part of the scaffold to the ground. The highest part of the scaffold is the uppermost functional component (usually the top guardrail) and does not include any redundant tube above this point.

Anyone involved in setting up, dismantling or changing any scaffold should have:

  • The ability to make simple calculations (for example working out a load)
  • Ability to read and understand suppliers’ information, general site plans, design drawings and specifications for scaffolds
  • Thorough knowledge of the scaffolding equipment being used
  • Thorough knowledge of the assembly methods and design requirements associated with scaffolding equipment
  • Ability to identify the common hazards of scaffolding work and take effective precautions to control the risks resulting from the hazards
  • Competency to visually inspect scaffolding equipment for faults
  • The physical skills needed for scaffolding construction
  • Competency in manual lifting techniques
  • Ability to work safely and confidently at heights
  • Ability to use scaffolding tools and equipment correctly
  • Ability to erect and dismantle scaffolding in the correct sequence
  • Knowledge of the prevention of falling objects

Scaffolds above 5m

For putting up scaffold above 5m, you’ll need the appropriate class of Certificate of Competence for the type of scaffold you’re working on. Certificates of Competence are issued by SARNZ (Scaffolding, Access and Rigging Association of New Zealand) and are valid for four years.

Do you need scaffolding for work on the roof of a single story house?

Basically, it all comes down to judgement; if the job can't be safely performed without scaffolding then yes, scaffolding must be supplied, however, scaffolding isn't the only option. Alternatives that can be put in place to ensure a job is carried out safely such include guardrails and in some cases where necessary, harnesses. A fall from a single story roof is one of the most common causes of serious harm and fatalities for roofers. Doing nothing is not an option.

As for who is responsible for supplying the scaffolding, this depends on your situation.

If you own and occupy the home the legal responsibility for safety sits with the contractor. If you own the home and do not occupy it (e.g. a rental property), then you have legal responsibility for the safety of the contractor, however, this does not remove the contractors own responsibilities to manage their own safety. In this situation the responsibility of providing the scaffold needs to be negotiated and agreed to in the contract.

Rules and Regulations

Managers and Site Supervisors should ensure that all scaffolds supplied and used on their projects comply with one of the following:

  • The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995
  • WorkSafe good practice guidelines - Scaffolding in New Zealand
  • AS/NZS 4576:1995 Guidelines for Scaffolding
  • Manufacturers' Specifications
  • Engineers' Design Specifications

For courses relating to height, click here.