Scaffolding vs. Lift

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I have a job coming up to replace 400 watt HID's in a gymnasium with LED's. Scissor lift would be really nice. They won't let me bring one in there unless I lay 3/4 plywood on the floor to run it on. Doesn't seem worth it compared to just using scaffolding that they will let me roll on the floor as long as wheels are in good condition and won't damage the floor. They will have a thin protective cover on the floor either way, but already have this and use it whenever there is other then athletic activities happening on that floor.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
I have a job coming up to replace 400 watt HID's in a gymnasium with LED's. Scissor lift would be really nice. They won't let me bring one in there unless I lay 3/4 plywood on the floor to run it on. Doesn't seem worth it compared to just using scaffolding that they will let me roll on the floor as long as wheels are in good condition and won't damage the floor. They will have a thin protective cover on the floor either way, but already have this and use it whenever there is other then athletic activities happening on that floor.
I have found that it isn't that big of a deal to move 4 x 8 sheets around. I would seriously question 3/4" plywood and explain it is actually more likely to hurt the floor in the event of mishandling and 3/8" masonite will hold up to the wheels of a lift all day long. I would be concerned about the scaffold, because what is described sounds like there is still potential for damage to the floor and who will be nailed for that. With the lift it is likely you just have a helper on the ground to box and unbox and to move the sheets of masonite as needed.

And I did some repair on a warranty basis recently.
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
I have a job coming up to replace 400 watt HID's in a gymnasium with LED's. Scissor lift would be really nice. They won't let me bring one in there unless I lay 3/4 plywood on the floor to run it on. Doesn't seem worth it compared to just using scaffolding that they will let me roll on the floor as long as wheels are in good condition and won't damage the floor. They will have a thin protective cover on the floor either way, but already have this and use it whenever there is other then athletic activities happening on that floor.
Finding a rental scaffold with good Wheels is going to be about as difficult as maneuvering sheets of plywood on the floor if they don't scratch the surface... I would think it would be almost impossible to turn a manlift on top of plywood without the plywood pivoting under the tires and scratching the floor.. then again, most gyms have pull-out bleachers and those wheels have quite a bit of weight on them and they do not damage the floor.

Given that you're going to burn extra time safely moving either, I would rather have the time advantage of a lift in your case. Your helpers on the ground can move plywood in between unboxing new fixtures and taking old ones out
 

Strathead

Senior Member
Finding a rental scaffold with good Wheels is going to be about as difficult as maneuvering sheets of plywood on the floor if they don't scratch the surface... I would think it would be almost impossible to turn a manlift on top of plywood without the plywood pivoting under the tires and scratching the floor.. then again, most gyms have pull-out bleachers and those wheels have quite a bit of weight on them and they do not damage the floor.

Given that you're going to burn extra time safely moving either, I would rather have the time advantage of a lift in your case. Your helpers on the ground can move plywood in between unboxing new fixtures and taking old ones out

Not quite sure what you mean about plywood pivoting. I know that it isn't an issue with 3/8" masonite. Personal experience and recent. Within the last year.
 

Ragin Cajun

Senior Member
Location
Upstate S.C.
Visited one very nice lobby where even with plywood, the lift cracked the very expensive tiled floor.
Front end cost isn't the real issue, but back end liability. New scaffold wheels are cheap in the long run.
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
Not quite sure what you mean about plywood pivoting. I know that it isn't an issue with 3/8" masonite. Personal experience and recent. Within the last year.
I was referring to the plywood turning with the wheels versus staying in place, I.e. the friction between the tires and plywood is greater than the friction between the plywood and the floor, however if it wasn't an issue, then I would not worry about it.

As far as a tiled floor cracking, that is why we had to use one of those combination A-frame extension ladders to do the sound system in a hotel lobby... They would not let us put a lift on it, and I am sure a lift would have cracked tiles... I took one of my glow rods and dropped it in various places on the floor... If it makes a thud sound, the tile was mortared correctly... If it makes a ringing sound like tapping a dinner plate, you can bet that tile will break under weight.
N/A for a gymnasium but a handy little piece of information should you ever want to check the Integrity of a tile floor
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
the lift cracked the very expensive tiled floor.
Every time I consider getting a lift to use inside a (usually expensive) residence, this is what I'm worried about. Installing a chandelier or fan on a 20 foot ceiling sucks when doing it off a 16ft A-frame ladder, but ladders don't crack floor tiles or grout. Lifts are very heavy on a small footprint.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I have found that it isn't that big of a deal to move 4 x 8 sheets around. I would seriously question 3/4" plywood and explain it is actually more likely to hurt the floor in the event of mishandling and 3/8" masonite will hold up to the wheels of a lift all day long. I would be concerned about the scaffold, because what is described sounds like there is still potential for damage to the floor and who will be nailed for that. With the lift it is likely you just have a helper on the ground to box and unbox and to move the sheets of masonite as needed.

And I did some repair on a warranty basis recently.
If I have the lift I don't need a helper. With scaffolding I will need to climb at each light location, doable but not so desirable for fat middle aged men;) With lift you let it do the work of elevating you. I used a lift in this same gym a couple years ago when they updated HVAC - it was HVAC contractors lift and they let me use it. School maintenance guys pulled their protective tarps over the floor then still wanted lift run on plywood. Floor was replaced not so long ago and they are very protective of it. With the thicker plywood their concern is that will help distribute weight of the lift over more surface. It probably is fine to run it right on the tarp, but they don't want to take the chance of breaking a floor board.

Finding a rental scaffold with good Wheels is going to be about as difficult as maneuvering sheets of plywood on the floor if they don't scratch the surface... I would think it would be almost impossible to turn a manlift on top of plywood without the plywood pivoting under the tires and scratching the floor.. then again, most gyms have pull-out bleachers and those wheels have quite a bit of weight on them and they do not damage the floor.

Given that you're going to burn extra time safely moving either, I would rather have the time advantage of a lift in your case. Your helpers on the ground can move plywood in between unboxing new fixtures and taking old ones out
Floor under bleachers when pulled out isn't quite as guarded at this place, main court they are very particular about. When we ran lift on plywood a couple years ago we had no problem with plywood trying to pivot when turning. Not going to happen if you have more then one wheel on a sheet. even if you only have steer wheels on one sheet - if butted up against another sheet with the other two wheels on it - it can't really move because of the weight on that other sheet won't let it move.
 

NogChurchi

New User
Location
latham
Occupation
manager
It depends on the situation. I am a builder and my group use both. When we need to paint or to renovate something that is on a high point we use scaffold tower, it is much easier to do such a work from that tower. Of course when we need to carry something that is very heavy, we use lifts, from this point the lift is better. Scaffold tower Hire is better if you need to work with the walls on high levels, also in the places where you can find this scaffold towers, you can find people that can do the work, better trust them because they are professionals.
 

WasGSOHM

Senior Member
Location
Montgomery County MD
Occupation
EE
Also, I'd ask OSHA for relative fatalities, lift vs. scaffold, they might actually help you.

Count them as one vote or more in this democratic process.

When would one use/work off scaffold instead of lift? Thx
I think it would helpful to this forum if you'd post your reasoning process as you weed out options you don't like.
 

mikeames

Senior Member
Location
Germantown MD
Occupation
Teacher - Master Electrician - 2017 NEC
I have replaced lighting in HS gyms dozens of times. In one case a week after the floors were refinished. When we get the lift in the building on the tile I inspect each of the rubber wheels for nails, staples, bolts, rocks etc. If you find any dig them out. Then if the floor is new we wipe down the wheels to remove dust before it goes in the gym, otherwise the wheel inspection is usually enough unless wheels are real dirty. Never had an issue leaving marks. The biggest oh crap moment is when you drive and the new varnish cracks a bit in-between the individual wood pieces of the floor. Its not visibly noticeable but it it does crack a snap a bit on a new floor. On an old dirty floor less so.
 

flashlight

Senior Member
Location
NY, NY
I have found that it isn't that big of a deal to move 4 x 8 sheets around. I would seriously question 3/4" plywood and explain it is actually more likely to hurt the floor in the event of mishandling and 3/8" masonite will hold up to the wheels of a lift all day long. I would be concerned about the scaffold, because what is described sounds like there is still potential for damage to the floor and who will be nailed for that. With the lift it is likely you just have a helper on the ground to box and unbox and to move the sheets of masonite as needed.

And I did some repair on a warranty basis recently.
We used to run large scissor lifts over 1/4 in masonite on wood floors with no problems. I agree that tile would be a problem, and also to inspect the wheels well.

There was one recurring job at a high school gym where they had their own scissor lift, the kind you push around yourself, and then level with outriggers. It got up high enough to do the job, and they didn't require any protection.
 
There are so many "it depends" here-

Some scaffold companies keep relatively clean scaffolding for use in hotels and offices, ask for clean or "A/V scaffold" or ask a local sound company they rent from.
In clean (not construction or outdoors) environments, you're better off getting poly tires on the lift (or scaffold), they don't make the floor like black rubber does; some facilities required them, especially on carpet and polished floors.
"Lift" doesn't necessarily mean scissor lift, could be one of the one-person jobs which weigh a lot less.

Lift- get from rental place (hope it's charged), probably on a trailer (or have it delivered), get plywood from storage/bring to site/lay down everywhere, drive lift in....do job....
Scaffold- get from rental place or have delivered, build, ....do job....

We don't know why the OP was asking.
 

rnatalie

Senior Member
Location
Catawba, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer
About 10 years ago I managed to pick up a used Upright-brand lift. It tips up and fits in the back of a standard pickup and it fits through 30" or narrower doors and puts my feet at 24' when fully extended. About the only thing it does require is a pretty level flat surface.
 

blueheels2

Senior Member
Location
Raleigh, NC
Occupation
Electrical contractor
You guys rent all your scaffold? A buddy and I were thinking of buying a couple bucks and some wheels . Spread the price out a little. But don’t need it now. It’s what I’ve always used for high residential ceilings.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
no one in my area rents scaffolding anymore. I haven't rented my own in at least 10 years. we use the mason's scaffolding platform on block buildings.


some of my hurricane Michael work involved rebuilding a gym; floor got here before the lighting fixtures, so I had to drop 3/4" plywood on the floor to use the scissor lift. I bought 3 sheets and that seemed to work well enough to keep things moving. Scaffolding would've been a nightmare on that job. The ceiling was 30+ feet with 24 LED flat-panel high-lumen fixtures; I hung all of them myself with a helper on the floor unpacking lights. It took us roughly 5/hrs to complete the installation (to be fair, that's not typical, but I was racing to get that job done). That included installing the surface mount trims for the flat-panels. It likely would've taken me 2 days to do that on a baker tower.
 
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