How can manual work at height be designed to be easier, safer and more efficient? Is it possible to influence this through the rethinking of workflows?
The assembly and disassembly of scaffoldings is one of the most physically demanding and dangerous tasks at construction sites. Manual work in areas that are difficult to access may be considered challenging from various standpoints. The most common challenges are the transport of material, as well as the planning and organising of workflows.
Industrial climbers use rope technology in order to transport material and to reach their working position.
Roofers work with scaffoldings and use material lifts and cranes for the transport of materials. They commonly build the working platforms themselves.
Bricklayers almost exclusively use scaffoldings, and assemble them by themselves if only small tasks have to be completed. Material transport is conducted by hand, lift or crane.
Despite different working planes, the ideal working position is often difficult to reach.
In the design of working platforms, storage space for tools and equipment hasn't been taken into consideration. Tools lying around on the ground obstruct work and constitute a safety hazard.
Predominantly on mobile working platforms, accessibility is less than ideal.
Through observing the assembly of scaffoldings, as well as the analysis of my video recordings, I could pinpoint the problems and challenges that make up this kind of work. Setting up scaffoldings is a physically exhausting task, that comes with a high risk of falling. Although safety measures exist, they are a restriction to workflows and are rarely implemented. The idea of scaffoldings might seem very simple and functional, but the assembly process requires a lot of time.
The concept shows, that established workflows and methods in manual labour may be reconsidered with a more human-centred approach to design. Through a fast and secure assembly- and disassembly process, through thought-out workflows and a constant flow of material a higher work efficiency can be achieved.
Coordinated Workflow 1800 is a work unit for facades, that in its basic setup can reach a height and span of 18 meters. It is a tool which is integrated into workflows. Pre-planned steps may be handled in stages, and hereby be accomplished faster and with less strain. A material lift connects the ground floor and working cages through the vertical supporting column, thus maintaining a centralised material flow. In contrary to conventional scaffoldings this concept blends with the urban environment.