A Basic Guide to Manual Access Hire

Projects that require working at height might seem intimidating and a ladder might seem like the only solution. However, with the right equipment and safety procedures, working at height is not that complicated, and the manual access equipment available for such tasks is vast, ranging from pole, extension and roof ladders to podium steps, stairwell access towers, and more.

This article will cover some of these options and define some terms to make choosing manual access equipment easy. At Beaver Tool Hire we offer a range of tools and equipment for construction and DIY projects including ladders, mobile access towers, scaffolding and necessary safety equipment. Feel free to get in touch with our team in a branch near you for more information.

Types of Manual Access Equipment

There are many different types of access equipment designed for a number of applications. Different equipment will be suitable for different tasks depending on several factors, including the available space to work in, the tools and materials you need to complete your task and the duration of your project. From ladders and steps, to access towers and scaffolding, this section will cover the basics of manual access equipment, helping you to identify when each type should be used.

Ladders and steps: Ladders provide a lot of advantages, being light, easy to carry and quick to set up. Sometimes a small step ladder is all that is needed to carry out a project successfully. However, not all ladders serve the same purpose:

  • Extension ladder: An extension ladder can be used for accessing areas that are high up and have a supporting structure, such as a wall, for a ladder to lean on. Accessing the gutters around a roof for inspection can be easily achieved with a Heavy Duty Extension Ladder, as it can reach an impressive height of 13m.
  • Step ladder: Unlike an extension ladder, a step ladder is freestanding and does not require any type of added support as it opens up in an A shape. Our Fibreglass Step Ladders for example are ideal for working away from walls and carrying out electrical work, being made of a non-conductive material.
  • Specialised ladders: Some ladders are designed for multiple applications, such as the Skymaster Ladder, which can be used as a three piece extension ladder reaching a height of 6.7m, or freestanding step ladder with extension. Other ladders are designed for special purposes such as roofing, as is the case with Roof Ladders, which allow the user to safely walk up and down the pitch of a roof for cleaning, or for roof and chimney repairs.

Trestles/Bandstands and podiums: Trestles, also known as bandstands, and podiums are ideal for accessing areas that are no more than four metres high. Podium Steps, also known as Pop-Up Towers are distinguished by a caged platform, providing comfortable and safe access to heights, trestles and boards provide side to side access, making them ideal for jobs such as painting, plastering or repointing. At Beaver Tool Hire, we stock trestles of various heights wide enough for four scaffold boards, and staging boards of various lengths.

Mobile access towers: Mobile access towers are freestanding prefabricated access towers usually made of aluminium or fibreglass. They are composed of side frames joined together with horizontal and diagonal horizontal braces. They are easy and quick to assemble and, reaching up to 12m indoors and 8m outdoors, they can be used in warehouses away from walls, on pavements to work on building facades, or on steps with a stairwell tower. While a double width Alto or BoSS tower is a comfortable and convenient option, a One Man Tower is ideal for a lone contractor.

Scaffolding: Scaffolding is normally seen on the outside of highrise buildings and consists of aluminium or steel tubes held together with clamps or other locking systems. Staging boards, sometimes with trapdoors, are used to provide a work platform and straight ladders are used to climb the platform from the inside. While scaffolding may seem similar to an access tower, it is not the same thing.

The key difference between the two is that access towers are free-standing, whereas scaffolding is not.  Scaffolding must be anchored to a structure and, while this allows scaffolds to be assembled in a number of configurations and reach great heights, it also means they cannot work away from supporting structures, such as walls. Unlike access towers, scaffolding is stationary, and therefore not convenient for work that will take place over a very short period of time.

What to Consider When Choosing Manual Access Equipment

There are a number of points to consider when hiring or purchasing manual access equipment, these include the magnitude and duration of a project, the location, layout and safety.

Magnitude and duration of the job: For smaller, quicker jobs the intuitive solution is to use a ladder, as it can be easily transported and rapidly set up. For larger projects with a longer duration, a longer setup time might be more than made up for in the comfort and convenience of a larger platform. Stationary scaffolding, for example, might be ideal for a job on the side of a house that will carry on for months.

Location: The place where the job is being carried out is also an important factor. When working outside it is important to take more precautions, as weather conditions can pose a risk. For example, wind and humidity can make a ladder dangerous, while a mobile access tower with stabilisers and toeboards will prevent falls or objects falling from height.

Site layout: The layout of the area needs to be considered. An extension ladder or scaffolding can be used to work against walls, while for working away from supporting structures, access towers, podium steps and step ladders are necessary. Additionally, some projects demand more side to side reach, in which case trestles and boards will be more convenient than podium steps. In our inventory or towers we stock stairwell towers, specifically designed for stairs or uneven site layouts.

Choose Beaver Tool Hire for Manual Access Hire Services

Speak to Beaver Tool Hire today if you are interested in hiring manual access equipment for your next project. With branches in Chichester, Petersfield, Waterlooville, Portsmouth, Fareham, Winchester and our newest depot in Worthing we are conveniently located to provide leading tool and equipment hire services throughout Hampshire and West Sussex.

Get in touch with your nearest branch today to find out about the tool hire solutions for your project. Our friendly team is always happy to help.

Beaver Tool Hire branches:

Chichester Branch
Phone: 01243 782510
Email: hire@beavertoolhire.co.uk

Petersfield Branch
Phone: 01730 264804
Email: hire@beaverpetersfield.co.uk

Waterlooville Branch
Phone: 023 9225 9325
Email: hire@beaverdenmead.co.uk

Portsmouth Branch
Phone: 023 9266 3599
Email: hire@beaverportsmouth.co.uk

Fareham Branch
Phone: 01329 233731
Email: hire@beaverfareham.co.uk

Winchester Branch
Phone: 01962 790369
Email: hire@beaverwinchester.co.uk

Worthing Hire Desk
Phone: 01903 323331 / 07355 674080
Email: hire@beaverworthing.co.uk