Prediction on load carrying capacities of multi-storey door-type modular steel scaffolds

W. K. Yu, Kwok Fai Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Modular steel scaffolds are commonly used as supporting scaffolds in building construction, and traditionally, the load carrying capacities of these scaffolds are obtained from limited full-scale tests with little rational design. Structural failure of these scaffolds occurs from time to time due to inadequate design, poor installation and over-loads on sites. In general, multi-storey modular steel scaffolds are very slender structures which exhibit significant non-linear behaviour. Hence, secondary moments due to both P-δ and P-Δ effects should be properly accounted for in the non-linear analyses. Moreover, while the structural behaviour of these scaffolds is known to be very sensitive to the types and the magnitudes of restraints provided from attached members and supports, yet it is always difficult to quantify these restraints in either test or practical conditions. The problem is further complicated due to the presence of initial geometrical imperfections in the scaffolds, including both member out-of-straightness and storey out-of-plumbness, and hence, initial geometrical imperfections should be carefully incorporated. This paper presents an extensive numerical study on three different approaches in analyzing and designing multi-storey modular steel scaffolds, namely, a) Eigenmode Imperfection Approach, b) Notional Load Approach, and c) Critical Load Approach. It should be noted that the three approaches adopt different ways to allow for the non-linear behaviour of the scaffolds in the presence of initial geometrical imperfections. Moreover, their suitability and accuracy in predicting the structural behaviour of modular steel scaffolds are discussed and compared thoroughly. The study aims to develop a simplified and yet reliable design approach for safe prediction on the load carrying capacities of multi-storey modular steel scaffolds, so that engineers can ensure safe and effective use of these scaffolds in building construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-487
Number of pages17
JournalSteel and Composite Structures
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Critical load approach
  • Eigenmode imperfection approach
  • Initial geometrical imperfections
  • Modular steel scaffolds
  • Notional load approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Metals and Alloys


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