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Scaffolding guidance goes online

30 Mar 22 The National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) is currently having an ‘MP3 moment’. Simon Robinson explains

Through the association’s recently-launched ePortal, NASC members will soon have digital access to over 100 NASC guidance notes, covering health & safety, technical, contractual, product purchasing and asset protection titles.

To draw a music analogy, the NASC (the UK’s leading access and scaffolding trade body) is converting its collection of vinyls, cassette tapes and CDs into an MP3 offering.

This article was first published in the March 2022 issue of The Construction Index Magazine.  Sign up online 

When the ePortal is expanded later this year, members will be able to read all NASC guidance notes at the click of a button, wherever they are.

Given the importance of the detail contained in these notes, the ability for users to have instant access to this information is a game-changer.

It makes life easier for the NASC, too. With all guidance on a maximum five-year review cycle – to ensure titles remain up-to-date and fit-for-purpose – swapping out products in the digital library can be done in a second. Previously, this would require the printing and dissemination of thousands of new paper copies.

NASC president Lynn Way says: “This represents another huge digital step forward for the NASC, provides even greater value for money for ePortal subscribers, and enables members to work more effectively and efficiently.”

Currently, the ePortal is home to just one NASC title: TG20:21.

TG20 provides the definitive guidance document for scaffolding constructed with tube and fittings throughout the UK. It comprises four elements – the Operational Guide, the Design Guide, the User Guide and the NASC’s eGuide software.

The latest version, TG20:21, enables principal contractors and clients to verify that all scaffolding structures constructed on a project have been suitably planned and designed as required by the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The eGuide allows users to produce a ‘generally recognised standard configuration’ in the form of a TG20 compliance sheet or alerts them to the requirement for a specific design to be made by a competent scaffold designer.

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The full suite of documents also provides a vital reference for health and safety professionals, temporary works coordinators and construction managers who have responsibilities for planning, monitoring and documenting the work and the competence of contractors.

TG20:21 expands on and adds to its predecessor, TG20:13, including a number of revisions to make the process of producing compliant scaffolding even simpler. It also includes a wider range of scaffolding types to make the software even more useable.

The updated version includes exterior birdcages, tube and fitting mobile towers, loading bays without beams and tied independent scaffolds with three inside boards. TG20 compliance sheets are now double-sided with an illustration and principal compliance criteria on the front side and detailed compliance criteria listed on the reverse in landscape format.

TG20:21 builds on the success of TG20:13, which has made the process of producing a range of compliant scaffolding designs simple for all scaffolding contractors. In a relatively short period of time, TG20 has become recognised and adopted by the scaffolding industry and the wider construction industry as a whole, helping to ensure that scaffolding contractors and principal contractors are clear on what scaffolding will be erected and its suitability for the project.

TG20 first came into being in 2005 in response to BS EN 12811-1:2003, a Eurocode that replaced the long-established British standard BS 5973:1993. As such, the first edition (TG20:05) faced an uphill struggle for acceptance, with few construction managers, health and safety professionals and scaffolding operatives welcoming the changes which were largely only understood by scaffold designers and temporary works engineers.

When the HSE withdrew its support for BS 5973:1993 in December 2010, the industry was forced to accept that tube and fitting scaffolds erected in the UK now had to be constructed to BS EN 12811.

The NASC continued to invest in updating and improving TG20 with TG20:08 and then working with structural engineering software specialists to produce TG20:13, launched in February 2014.

Underpinned by detailed structural research, TG20:13 effectively restored much of what had been custom-and-practice under BS 5973 and became popular industry-wide because it reduced the requirement for bespoke scaffolding design for many standard forms of scaffolding structures.

• Simon Robinson is marketing manager with NASC

This article was first published in the March 2022 issue of The Construction Index Magazine.  Sign up online 

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