hong kong bamboo scaffolding hong kong bamboo scaffolding
jul 03, 2009

hong kong bamboo scaffolding

bamboo has long been used as an assembly material in china, particularly hong kong, because of its versatility. one of the most interesting applications of the wood is its structural function for scaffolding. extremely eco-friendly and cost-effective resource, it continues to be used for this purpose because it is durable enough to support the weight of builders, their equipment and materials, but is lightweight itself. unlike typical metal scaffolding, bamboo can also be cut and tailor-made to suit any contour of construction – it can be configured into a variety of shapes and follow irregular architectural features of a building, and takes very little time to build-up. it is light and easily transportable to other sites and no machinery is required to assemble the scaffold and put it in place. when one job draws to a close, bamboo can easily be recycled and used for another project.

a high-rise is encased in double-layer scaffolding image © designboom

double-layered scaffolding consists of a single outer layered scaffold and an inner layer of posts and ledgers (horizontal limber which is fastened to the vertical uprights of a scaffold) which are erected inside. between the two layers, short poles or transoms (crossbar pieces) are used to support timber planks that form working platforms.

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

the main types of bamboo which are used for the purpose of scaffolding are mao jue and kao jue. when using the wood it needs to be completely dried out and free of any cracks or rot. the mao jue variety is the primary component of a scaffolding structure. it is used for vertical and diagonal members and maintains at least a 70 mm nominal external diameter. kao jue is used for vertical and horizontal members and are at least 45 mm in their external diameter.

a look at the binding methods used to hold the bamboo components together image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

the bamboo is arranged to provide elevated stages for construction workers image © designboom

image © designboom

netting and nylon sheeting are used to stop debris from falling on people below image © designboom

image © designboom

a worker climbing a grid-like assembly of bamboo image © designboom

working freely image © designboom

image © designboom

a building clad in green netting and bamboo scaffolding stands amongst the hong kong skyline image © designboom

working platforms run around the circumference of a building image © designboom

image © designboom

a platform extends from a building image © designboom

platform scaffolding consists of closely spaced horizontal bamboo poles that result in large working spaces for construction activities. rakers, which are inclined members, are used to reduce the number of posts needed. this means there is little obstruction to pedestrians and vehicles underneath.

image © designboom

an example of truss-out scaffolding which is used for small repairs image © designboom

truss-out style scaffolding is generally used for minor work and relies on the building for support. they are used in locations where it is not practical to erect a full scaffold structure from the ground. since they are smaller and function as light duty scaffolds, kao jue bamboo is used. generally, these types of structures should be no higher than 6 metres.

truss-out scaffolding uses the side of the building for structural support image © designboom

bamboo framework image © designboom

the complex framework image © designboom

bamboo being passed up to workers via harness and sack image © designboom

different lengths of bamboo being delivered image © designboom

image © designboom

assembly continues on the double-layer scaffolding image © designboom

image © designboom

a portion of an apartment is decorated in truss-out scaffolding image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

bundles of bamboo waiting to be used image © designboom

image © designboom

they are built in such a way to minimize obstruction to sidewalks and streets below image © designboom

creating a canopy over the sidewalk image © designboom

image © designboom

bamboo scaffolding can be adapted to different shaped buildings like this curved façade image © designboom

image © designboom

the versatile material is also used as a structural frame for houses and buildings image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

bamboo lined-up on a roof image © designboom

intricacy of the binding techinques image © designboom

the frequency in which these structures should be inspected should not exceed more than 14 days. they would need to be monitored more closely in the event or arrival of any tropical cyclones or strong winds. in hong kong and other parts of southern china, bamboo scaffolds are one of the few traditional building systems which have survived through the practical experiences of scaffolding practitioners over generations. thus, the safety and effectiveness of the bamboo scaffolds depends primarily on the individual skilled workers. trade knowledge is passed down to younger workers through an apprenticeship system and on-the-job learning.

  • About bamboo scaffolding, one advantage specific to Hong Kong worth mentioning is that it is elastic enough to stand the frequent strong winds in Hong Kong.

    lunaticarus says:
  • Bindings are mentioned but we are not told what type of material is used – looks like PVC strip ?

    John Hetherington says:
  • I don’t think you will find an OSHA approval tag on any of the “eco-friendly” scaffolding pictured above…or an American tradesman 1000 feet off the ground on a scaffold tied together with pieces of rope.

    Allen C says:
  • Bamboo is terrific for making slingshots

    dgui says:
  • it hurts under your fingernails

    jonnycole says:
  • That looks incredibly dangerous. I know they are probably independent contractors working on this building, but I would hope that this job would pay hazard pay and provide Short Term Medical Insurance otherwise I wouldn’t think it would be worth the risk. On the other hand I am told that bamboo is much stronger then it looks.

    Sampson says:
  • It never surprises me anymore just how ignorant people are of other countries. Just because bamboo isn’t used in the West just has to mean it’s dangerous and unsafe.

    Nishi says:
  • Bamboo is alot stronger under these conditions than traditional aluminum scaffolding. The important difference is bamboo has no safety standard attached to it. Also convincing western trades people that it is safe.

    jamez says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

(5 articles)

(184 articles)

(7 articles)

design news