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Scaffolding is a temporary structure that is typically made from metal poles and wood planks and used to support construction workers, inspectors, cleaners, and others who need to work at height.

[Note: This article is about scaffolding as it relates to industrial work. If you’re interested in learning about scaffolding as it relates to education, we recommend reading this article from Grand Canyon University.]

The use of scaffolding dates as far back as the stone age—in fact, there’s evidence that scaffolding was used over 17,000 years ago by those who made the famous paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux.

Images of scaffolding have been found on ancient artifacts such as the Berlin Foundry Cup, a Greek drinking cup made in the 5th century BC.

Peoples as diverse as Nubians, Egyptians, and Chinese have documented the use of scaffolding for constructing tall buildings, using rudimentary scaffolds made of wood and tied at the top with ropes.

In the modern age, scaffolding has developed far beyond these early versions, and now comes in several different designs made from several different types of materials.

This article will cover how scaffolding is currently used, its types and parts, how to make it, navigating rental versus purchasing, and close out with a look at how new drone technology is helping workers across various industries significantly reduce their need for it.

What Is Scaffolding?
A scaffold, also called scaffolding or staging, is a temporary structure that allows people to stand on a stable platform for work at height or in hard-to-reach places.

These temporary structures are often used in constructing, maintaining, or repairing buildings, bridges, and other man-made structures by supporting work crews and materials.