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General Points to Remember When Buying a Steel Scaffold Tower


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1. Steel Quality

Steel towers supplied by Lansford are made of top quality prime grade steel. The very cheap towers sold by some companies and individuals are normally made of scrap steel.

2. “Made to British Standards”

Beware of suppliers’ claims about this. False claims by less reputable suppliers are common. The British and European Standard for scaffold towers & tube is BS EN1004 which applies only to trade and industrial duty towers  [ our previous British Standard was BS1139:1994 (HD1004) ] .

3. Tower Strength & Stability

The two main factors which affect the strength and stability of a tower are:

  • a) metal thickness - the “gauge” of the tube. The higher the number, the thinner the metal i.e. 18g is thin (just over 1mm thick) and 12g is very thick (just over 2.5mm thick). Ladders999 do not use 18g tube in tower vertical columns because we believe this is too thin for safety and durability.
  • b) tube diameter - as a general rule the greater the diameter of tube in the verticals, the more stable is the tower.

4. Platform / Working Height

Know the difference between these terms. WORKING HEIGHT is taken as the height of the platform plus an average person’s reach. Ladders999 always shows PLATFORM HEIGHT because it is the most accurate and meaningful measurement. This will be the height of your FEET above the ground. All towers supplied by Ladders999 have safety guardrails which extend above the platform height. TOWER HEIGHT is used by a few tower suppliers but this includes the height of the guardrails (if supplied) and in our opinion is stated to mislead customers into thinking they are getting a taller tower than is really the case.


 5. Height Required

Check the height you require where possible by measuring with a tape, length of string etc or by counting the brick courses and multiplying by depth of one course. Most people grossly over-estimate heights.

Note : an average eaves level is 15-17ft. An average gable-end is 24ft. Remember you will want to stand (platform height) about 5 - 6ft below the point you need to reach. Consequently, if your eaves are at 16ft you will want a platform height of 10ft - 12ft.

6. Plan Size (or Base Size) Required

  • Stability: Many people seem to think that a 6' x 4' Base Size tower will be more stable than a 4' x 4' tower. The stability of a tower is affected by many factors but it is the size of the SMALLEST dimension (width) which determines stability most. Basically a 6' x 4' tower is no more stable than a 4' x 4', though both are more stable than a 2' wide tower.
  • Rectangular Towers V Square Towers: The disadvantage of all rectangular steel towers (6'x4', 6'x2', 4'x2') is that because of the alternating frame size at each lift (pair of frames), platform boards will only fit at every-other lift, not at EVERY lift as with a square tower (4' x 4'). Also, rectangular tower kits will start with a different sized pair of frames at the bottom depending on the final platform height required. Some heights need to start with a pair of long frames, alternate heights will need to start with a pair of shorter frames.
  • Ladders999 Advice: We suggest that for the sake of simplicity and versatility, customers choose a 4' x 4' square tower wherever possible. Narrow 2' wide towers will always have their place in restricted width situations, as will the longer 6'x4' towers for certain types of work, but we advise customers to only choose rectangular towers when they have a good reason. If a 4' x 4' tower will fit - go for it! You can always add a few extra 2' or 6' components to convert it into a narrower or longer tower for the situations where this is necessary.

7. Using Stabilisers (Outriggers) or Tying-In

As a rough rule of thumb, 4' wide towers will need to have their stability increased by adding stabilisers (or tying-in) above a platform height of about 12ft.  Any 2' wide towers will require this above a platform height of about 6ft.

More information and guidance will be found at the bottom of the "Components List" pages of both Domestic Steel Towers and Saturn Steel Towers. Scroll down these long pages for the details.

8. Helping You Choose

Our aim is to help you choose the right tower for your needs. We’ve been helping people choose scaffold towers for over 40 years so choosing Lansford is choosing wisely!

If you think of any useful tips which we have not included here but would have helped you choose, please let us know. We would welcome your assistance in improving this page. Please do email us.

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