Stability and simulation-based design of steel scaffolding without using the effective length method

Siu Lai Chan, A.Y.T. Chu, F.G. Albermani

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


A robust computer procedure for the reliable design of scaffolding systems is proposed. The design of scaffolding is not detailed in design codes and considered by many researchers and engineers as intractable. The proposed method is based on the classical stability function, which performs excellently in highly nonlinear problems. The method is employed to predict the ultimate design load capacities of four tested 3-storey steel scaffolding units, and for the design of a 30 m×20 m×1.3 m 3-dimensional scaffolding system. As the approach is based on the rigorous second-order analysis allowing for the P-δ and P-Δ effects and for notional disturbance forces, no assumption of effective length is required. It is superior to the conventional second-order analysis of plotting only the bending moment diagram with allowance for P-Δ effect since it considers both P-Δ and P-δ effects such that section capacity check is adequate for strength and stability checking. The proposed method can be applied to large deflection and stability analysis and design of practical scaffolding systems in place of the conventional and unreliable effective length method which carries the disadvantages of uncertain assumption of effective length factor (Le/L).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-460
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Scaffolding
  • Second-order analysis
  • Design of slender frames
  • Effective length method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Applied Mathematics


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