Bamboo Scaffolding


Bamboo scaffolding has been a popular method used in Asia, to erect temporary scaffolding structures that support working platforms. In the Asian markets, such as Hong Kong, bamboo is deemed the material of choice. With the region’s extremely high material storage costs, this unique product can be shipped economically to a job site. Bamboo can also provide construction efficiencies, given the material is sourced locally and is easily disposed of at the end of the project.

However, unlike the fabricated scaffolding systems available through reputable suppliers, the variation in mechanical properties of Bamboo is a cause of great concern. Bamboo being a natural material, does not possess consistent mechanical or material properties. The properties can vary depending on species, moisture contents and years of growth. The cross-sectional areas, rigidities and strengths of bamboo can change from location to location. These variables are not acceptable in today’s construction industry, when compared to the uniformity of steel.

Another drawback of the method, is the fact that bamboo is flammable. This safety concern became a reality this year, when more than 400 people were evacuated from the Yan Chai Hospital Complex in Hong Kong, due to the surrounding bamboo scaffolding catching fire. The flames were extinguished in 30 minutes and there were no reported injuries in this case, but the people inside the hospital that day were very lucky to escape.

Others have not been so lucky, and the variability in mechanical and physical properties of bamboo raises more safety concerns due to an alarming accident rate when in service. There have been 31 fatal accidents related to bamboo scaffolding reported in Hong Kong between 1994 and 1998. More recently there was a terrible accident in 2016, where 74 workers died after a bamboo scaffolding structure collapsed at a power plant in Fengcheng, China.

This being said, no one can deny the ingenuity required to erect bamboo scaffolding in Hong Kong. The product itself is a great example that there are multiple methods and product solutions available to build scaffolding structures. However, safety, quality and risk management are amongst the largest concerns when undertaking a scaffolding project. The potential risk of working at height can be reduced by using quality equipment. So why not contact Sitemax today for all your scaffolding and safety needs. At Sitemax, we make it easy.