Choosing the Right Scaffolding Frame

Choosing the Right Scaffolding Frame

Safeway Scaffolding | Waco | Bil-Jax – Choosing the Right Scaffolding Frame

Scaffold frames come in many types and sizes, each are designed to meet a need and make a specific type of work more efficient. This is a guide to help you choose which scaffold frame will work best for you.

Styles of Scaffold Frames 

Frame style refers to the original frame design and manufacturer. There are several frame styles that became popular in the United States of the last half-century or so – each style was made by a different manufacturer and had slightly different dimensions and specifications so that they can all be used to perform a specific job but they are not interchangeable with each other. For instance, each different style of frame has a walk-through version that is good for masonry projects, however, a Safeway scaffolding frame will not stack on top of a Waco style frame. The styles are important if you have existing scaffolding that you need to match, otherwise, each style has a version that will meet your specific project needs.

We carry three different styles of frames: Safway Scaffolding match frames (Blue), Waco Scaffolding match frames (Red), and Big-Jax Scaffolding match frames (Yellow). These are the industry standard styles of scaffold frame in the United States. The Safeway Style is interchangeable with Safeway frames, the Waco Style is interchangeable with Waco frames and the Bil-Jax Style is interchangeable with Bill Jax frames. All if these styles have been in use for many decades so their design and functionality is tried and true. Because of this, you should be hesitant to use a scaffolding style that is not one of these styles.

One of the biggest determining factors in choosing your frame style is whether it will match your existing scaffolding. The biggest differences between the three different styles are the leg diameters (meaning they take different size pins), pin hole locations (meaning the location of the pin holes are at different angles in relation to the horizontal axis of the scaffolding frame), and styles of cross brace locks. The pins are what connect the scaffolding frames together vertically and cross braces connect the scaffolding together horizontally.


Safeway Scaffolding Frame Match

Safeway scaffolding is our overall most popular style of frame. It fits Safeway Scaffolding frames and is used extensively in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States. The full size frames are 6’4” tall and it takes a 1-7/16” coupling pin (USA-104 Coupling Pin), has pin holes at 45 degrees to the horizontal member, and drop locks to keep the cross braces in place. See our Safeway Scaffolding frames for sale. 


Waco Scaffolding Frame Match

This style of frame scaffolding has full size frames that are 6’7” tall and takes a 1-3/8” coupling pin (USA-100 or 103 coupling pins) with pin holes at 90 degrees to the horizontal member, and candy cane style drop locks. 


Bil-Jax Scaffolding Frame Match

This style of frame scaffolding has full size frames that are 6’6” tall and takes a 1-3/8” coupling pin (SWS-107) with pin holes at 90 degrees, and C Locks to keep the cross braces in place. We sell Bil Jax style frames by order only. We do not keep an inventory of these on our yard.

 Types of Scaffold Frames

Scaffold frame types refer to the purpose and type of work a frame is meant to fulfill. For instance do need to have a work platform on a different elevation than your feet? Do you need ladder rungs on the sides of the scaffolding so you can climb them? Do you need a long platform or a tower? Are you working indoors or outdoors?


Walk-Thru Scaffolding Frames

Walk Thru Frames are open in the middle, allowing you to walk through the frame, even while carrying materials or a wheel barrow. They are often used when you need a long working platform and the ability to scaffold and traverse the length of a wall. With walk through frames, you can create multiple long working platforms on top of each other and have workers traversing and working on each level. See our walk-thru style frames for sale.


Ladder Scaffolding Frames

Ladder frames are often used in constructing scaffolding towers, interior applications and where more precise adjustments to the working platform height is needed. They also allow you to create a standing platform and a working platform several feet higher to allow you to keep your tools and materials at waist level. Some frames come with rungs on one side of the frame and others come with rungs on both sides. If the rungs on the frames are less than 18” apart, the frame itself is allowed to be used as a ladder per OSHA standards Ladder frames can be used on the ends of a scaffolding platform in conjunction with walk-thru frames.  See our ladder frames for sale.

Choosing the Correct Size Scaffold Frame

What kind of work are you performing? Are you working in tight spaces? Will you be close to a ceiling? How high to you need to go? These are all considerations when choosing your scaffold frame size.


Full-Height Frames

We consider our 6’4″ – 6’8″ size frames our full height frames. There are several advantages to a taller frame. If you  need several work platforms stacked on top of each other, this frame give you enough room to walk around and work on a lower platform. This frame may get you to a specific height you need on a project and, when going high, it takes fewer of these tall frames to get you there. Our full height frames come in both walk-through and ladder versions. We also have different widths.


5′ Tall Frames

Our 5′ frames are often used to create scaffold towers. The 5′ increments make it easy to calculate platform height and how many frames you will need to stack. The shorter height may give you the ability to get closer to a ceiling without touching it than a taller frame would.


Half-High Frames

Our half-high frames range from 2’ to 4’ high and are often used in interior applications where a very specific platform height is needed such as where a ceiling precludes use of a full size frame. See our half-high frames for sale.


Skinny Frames

Our skinny frames are any frame less than 5′ wide. We sell frames that are 42″ wide and 3′ wide. These frames are often used for stucco, lighter duty applications, tight spaces, interior applications. The advantage of these frames is they are easier and faster to assemble, easier to transport and take up less space in storage and they allow you to work in tighter spaces. They also require less decking. For instance a 5′ wide frame takes six planks to deck all the way across. A 3′ wide frame only requires four planks. This is a considerable cost savings when on big projects.

The disadvantage of these frames is that they are not as stable when going high. They must be tied to the wall at lower elevations and more frequently than a 5′ wide scaffold frame.

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