Monday, 20 July 2009

The Rising Cost of Scaffolding

This came up in the session of Hansard for 1 July 2009:

6.1.10          The Deputy of St. Martin:
Would the Chief Minister not agree that thousands of pounds could be saved; just remove the scaffolding which has been surrounding St. James' Church for so long?  [Approbation]  Will he take some steps to have a word with the Minister for Education, Sports and Culture?  [Laughter]

Senator T.A. Le Sueur:
I can certainly have words with the Minister for Education, Sports and Culture, and indeed, with the Minister for Planning.  I suspect that the continued existence of scaffolding around St. James' Church is a matter of public safety and I would not want to jeopardise public safety in the sake of simple economies.  What we need to do is have a resolution for that issue and not have the scaffolding ongoing for ever and ever.  That resolution, sadly, seems to have taken longer than I would like to have seen, and longer - no doubt - than the Deputy of St. Martin would like to see.

One of the building sites notes that:

While it may be convenient to rent scaffolding for the odd project, if you are a contractor, it may be more economical to buy your own scaffolding. (1)

And a posting from October 2004, gives an idea of the cost for a large house in England:

I've just been quoted £2,800 for independent scaffold to a large house, 20m x 15m x 3 lifts plus lattice beams over 2 conservatories. This is for one month, then it's £88 per week. Admittedly this is for one visit to erect only (not separate visits during house construction as the house is already there!) . Price includes all labour, two ladders, all safety equipment (brick-guards, mesh debris netting etc) . This is in the South-East too!! (2)

Now £88 per month = £4,756 per year, and given that it has been there for several years, and there seems no likelihood of it being removed in the foreseeable future, might it not be more economical to buy the scaffolding. If it was no longer needed, it could be part of a States "pool" which could be utilised on any other long term project, so the capital cost would not be wasted. Contractors could still be used on those occasions when it is erected, and when it is taken down (if that will ever be the case!).

Has a cost / benefit analysis of rental against purchase been done?


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