What Is TG20 and Scaffolding Design? Why Is It Important in Commercial Scaffolding?

May 20, 2021 2:43 pm Published by

The use of scaffolding that is not designed and constructed properly, can be a dangerous and uncertain activity.  How do you know a structure has been properly designed? Thankfully, there is industry guidance that can help, here is an introduction to TG20:21.

Following the withdrawal of BS5973, TG20 was created by the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC). 

The “Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WHR) states: –

Strength and stability calculations for scaffolding shall be carried out unless—

(a)  a note of the calculations, covering the structural arrangements contemplated, is available; or

(b)  it is assembled in conformity with a generally recognised standard configuration.

TG20 then provides evidence, through compliance certification, that the proposed scaffolding is assembled in compliance with a recognised standard configuration.

TG20 is divided into three parts. The first, known as the Operational Guide, aimed at managers and offering practical guidance about various types of scaffolding arrangements and good practice.  The second focuses on design and engineering and deals with issues such as load calculations. The third, the eGuide enables the creation of compliance certification.

The recently released TG20:21, is cloud based and all the features are accessed through the Portal.  It is proposed that in the future, all NASC Safety and Technical Guidance notes will also be available to access through the TG20 portal.  TG20 is also supported by a written user guide that should be issued to each scaffolder.    

Why Do Contractors Use TG20?

TG20:21 aims to standardise quality and safety across the scaffolding industry and has a strong focus on how to comply with current legislation.  Scaffolding is covered by the WHR. However, as there are so many different arrangements of scaffolding and all need to be designed, so it can be a challenge to ensure compliance.  TG20 is, therefore, an invaluable resource when it comes to reducing the necessity for designing scaffolding from 1st principles with the consequential time saving, identifying good practice, and increased efficiency.

Is TG20 Mandatory?

TG20:21 is not a Statutory Instrument, but implementation is usually required by the contract and contractors temporary work policy.  It has been used in court to demonstrate compliance and good practice, resulting in it gaining a quasi-legal status.  TG20 is well-respected within the Construction Industry and is considered by responsible contractors to be a crucial element of the verification of the scaffolding design process.

How Can I Make Sure My Project Is TG20 Compliant?

The easiest way to adhere to TG20:21 is to outsource to a contractor that has sufficient knowledge and experience of current legislation and design solutions.  The TG20:13 hard copy guidance weighed in at a hefty 500 pages, so evidently it is essential to work with a supplier who understands the information and can apply it appropriately. 

What Next?

At Magnum, we are heavily focused on health and safety, and TG20:21 compliance is at the heart of all our projects.  For more information about how to safeguard your scaffolding, please give us a call.

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This post was written by Steve Phillips