Also known as elevated work platforms, an aerial work platform is a device that is widely used in the construction industry. In order to access high places or to reach out-of-the-way locations, a platform may be used to provide a safe working environment for engineers and construction workers. More stable than a ladder and more conveniently erected than scaffolding, aerial working platforms come in several different types and are one of the most common items of equipment hire used today. What are they, and how are they best used for different sorts of construction jobs?
Commonly hired for jobs which need an inspection or repair work to be carried out at extreme heights, an aerial device tends to have so-called spider feet which unfold at the bottom to keep the unit stable. Hydraulic telescopic pistons then extend from the aerial device, raising the working platform upwards to its desired position. Externally, rendering, roofing and paintwork finishes can all be worked on from an aerial device. Internally, they tend to be used in atria to fit glazing or in sports halls to install lighting equipment. As well as those with spider feet, some aerial devices are hired on a truck and, like a mobile crane, come with an operator who works with other construction contractors on an as-needed basis.
Using a criss-cross pattern to raise and lower a working platform vertically, a scissor lift affords a versatile way of working at heights. Indeed, scissor lift hire is often preferred to other elevated work platform options because they can fit into places on the ground that other aerial work platforms cannot reach. Ideal for squeezing between buildings or for manoeuvring into places where the ground is not necessarily firm, mobile scissor lifts have a reputation for being safe to hire. This is due to the fact that most models have a fail-safe feature whereby if power to them falters, they will slowly begin a controlled descent back to the ground if a valve is released by the operator. These devices are ideal for two and three-storey buildings and can lift heavy weights, such as beams and hods of bricks.
These aerial working platforms usually have a shorter capability in terms of the height they can extend to. Furthermore, hotel lifts often have a limited weight capacity. As such, they tend to be used for smaller projects where lightweight materials, such as electrical wiring, needs to be installed. They are commonly used for maintenance tasks, too, and can generally only accommodate a single construction worker.