W02.1_SJP_Bamboo Scaffolding

Issue Identification and Appraisal
Living in South East Asia has it advantages, but at times some issue raises it’s self that is against what we ‘know’ in the west. Recently, we decided to do some renovations at our old house and one of the tasks was repainting the inside and outside. While the inside is a relatively easy task, the outside presented a challenge to the local painters as the eaves height is around 5 meters. Our local tradesman (two ‘reputable’ painters) determined that their mode of access was to be ladders. Immediately, I advised this was unacceptable and unsafe, and they should consider alternatives i.e. scaffolding and to go away and provide quotes covering a safe option.

Feasible Alternatives
Both painters returned, providing similar strategies; use Bamboo scaffolding. Tasking myself to research more as I was accustomed to steel scaffolding that every job site I had ever worked in used. The feasible alternatives were ‘Bamboo’ or ‘Steel’.

Develop the Outcomes for each Alternative
Further research revealed that bamboo had two types, traditional all bamboo or bamboo/metal mix, but it was not as common. SEAsia and China has many codes, installation and safety procedures written around this material.

Table 1 : Pros and Cons of each Alternative


Selection Criteria
Nine (9) attributes were determined as the criteria required to be assessed to determine a suitable alternative. The attributes were; material characteristics, durability, installation, dismantling, mobility, maintenance, safety, availability and cost. Each attribute was giving a weighting as to its worth in the evaluation of the alternative.

Analysis and Comparison of the Alternatives
Each feasible alternative was ranked using a 16.7%, 33.3%, 50.0% value (16.7% = bad / 50.0% = good) against the selection criteria attributes. The resulting percentages were then multiplied by the weightings to get an overall value for each.

Table 2 Analysis results of Alternatives

Selection of Preferred Alternative
The preferred alternative was traditional bamboo scaffolding.
This was reinforced by both contractors as their quotations used this basis as opposed to ladders.
Online research and the above analysis indicated they had good reason for their strategy.

Monitoring Post Evaluation Performance
The work is now complete, however during the work the successful contractor had to perform the following:

  • Daily scaffolding check, ensuring all joints were tightly bound, and all poles damage free.
  • Daily All wooden walk boards checked
  • When moved to different location, construction was checked against installation standards to ensure correct methods employed

In future, I will be more receptive to use of this material if the contractor demonstrates he can work in a safe manner.


  • Bambhava, H. D., Pitroda, J., & Bhavsar, J. J. (2013, June). A Comparative Study On Bamboo Scaffolding And Metal Scaffolding In Construction Industry Using Statistical Methods. Retrieved from http://ijettjournal.org/volume-4/issue-6/IJETT-V4I6P122.pdf
  • Bamboo or no Bamboo? | United Hoisting & Scaffolding Corp. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://unitedhoisting.com/2012/01/bamboo-or-no-bamboo/
  • Hong Kong Buildings Department. (n.d.). Guidelines on the design and construction of bamboo scaffolds. Retrieved from http://www.bd.gov.hk/english/documents/code/GDCBS.pdf
  • Occupational Safety and Health Branch Labour Department. (2014). Code of practice for bamboo. Retrieved from http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/os/B/Bamboo.pdf

3 Replies to “W02.1_SJP_Bamboo Scaffolding

  1. AWESOME, Steve…..!!! Now youve got it…..

    The only comment is for step 4- “Selection Criteria” you could have been more clear in stating that you would pick the alternative with the highest overall score, but other than that, you are doing great.

    Nice job and looking forward to seeing your W3 posting. Very impressive to see you starting to build in your “risk buffer” by getting a little bit ahead.

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta

  2. PS As part of your “Leadership by Example” commitment, as your team member Juan is falling behind on this project, is there anything you can do to help him?

    Dr. PDG, Jakarta


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