Apply for a skip, scaffold, hoarding or cherry picker licence

Scaffolding guidance notes

A scaffolding licence allows you to carry out works that are on, over or obstruct a highway. This includes other structures which cause an obstruction on or over a highway. 

The licence is for the occupation of the road only.

We provide these guidance notes in consultation with:

  • National Access and Scaffolding Confederation
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Local Highways Authorities
  • Joint Authorities Group UK
  • National Transport Managers Forum

You must also read our scaffolding terms and conditions.

Construction

You must use qualified personnel to design, erect, modify and dismantle your scaffolding. This includes Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association (PASMA), or equivalent.  

The scaffolding must satisfy the requirements of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

You must ensure an appropriate number of on-site scaffolding operatives. They must hold one or more of the following qualifications, or equivalent:

  • Traditional scaffolding (tube and fitting)
  • System Scaffolding
  • CISRS Scaffolder Card
  • CISRS Advanced Scaffolder Card
  • CISRS-carded Trainee Scaffolders (a maximum ratio of one competent to one trainee)

All scaffolding must have suitable base plates, with spreaders used where necessary. You must paint them white or cover them with hi-vis foam padding or hazard tape.

You must fix the scaffolding to the adjacent structure or have external bracing to prevent displacement.

For the first 2m above the footway, the scaffolding must not have any sharp ends, unprotected nuts or bolts.

You must ensure that the footway is clear for pedestrians, both day and night. You must display warning signs at each end of the structure.

On pedestrian walkthroughs, the base lift must not have a horizontal ledger, a transom or tie tubes lower than 2.44m high above ground level.

Unless agreed with us, all working levels of each structure must have debris netting. You must board the first lift of each scaffold and protection fan with proper covering.

The scaffolding must have a protection fan. Protection fans must not be below a height of 5.41m above a carriageway. You must measure this from the kerb or highest point of the road, whichever is higher.

For pedestrian traffic only, protection fans must be above a height of 2.44m. You should increase this if high-sided vehicles overrun the footway. 

For more information, read the NASC technical guidance.

Wherever possible, scaffolding should be a minimum of 450mm from the carriageway edge. We must approve to any part of the scaffold being closer. It must have signage, guarding and lighting barriers along the face of the structure.

Your scaffolding must have adequate lighting 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise. It must have steady amber warning lights at 4m intervals.

If it is incomplete and left overnight:

  • all projections must have red warning lights
  • a gantry over a pedestrian walkway must have white lights underneath

Partially-erected or incomplete scaffolding must have a name board and a warning notice board. It must read 'Structure incomplete – do not use', or similar.

You must display a 24-hour emergency contact telephone number on site.

The scaffold licence does not exempt any vehicle from traffic regulation. If needed, you must apply to suspend the traffic regulation order.

Pedestrians

You should let pedestrians pass beneath the scaffolding on the existing footway, if possible.

If this is not possible, you must have a signed and guarded walkway outside the scaffolding. We will need to carry out a joint site inspection and apply extra conditions.

You must distance the public from where scaffolding materials are in use or stored.

You must take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the public. You should give particular thought to the needs of:

  • children
  • elderly people
  • and people with disabilities

For more details, read the HSE guidance.

Traffic management

You must discuss traffic management with us, such as:

  • the use of temporary traffic signals
  • temporary road closures

If you need traffic management, fees may apply. 

We may impose other restrictions on routes designated as traffic sensitive.

You must comply with chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual 2009.

Your traffic management personnel must be street works accredited in Signing, Lighting and Guarding.

For minor traffic management, your company must have at least one accredited supervisor. They do not have to be permanently on-site.

Maintenance

You must put fencing around every hoist or pulley wheel.

A competent person must inspect the scaffolding before exposing it to weather conditions. Weather conditions are likely to affect its strength, stability, dismantling and other alterations.

They must do this at intervals at least every seven days from the date of the last inspection. They should also carry out safety pre-checks. They should record all results and make them available. 

A Scafftag system should be at all legal access points and visible at ground level.

You must take the scaffolding down when:

  • the licence has expired
  • the work is complete
  • we revoke consent

You must ensure that the structure is free from fly posting and graffiti. You must deal with any of these issues within 48 hours.

You should keep a duplicate copy of your licence on-site at all times. It must be available for inspection by authorised officers.

Removal of scaffolding

When you remove the scaffolding, we will inspect the pavement.

We will repair any damage to the highway and charge you for all reasonable expenses we incur. 

We may undertake a dilapidation survey before the erection of the scaffolding. Fees may apply.

We reserve the right to revoke your licence at any time by served notice. We may do this if you do not comply with the licence conditions.

If we serve notice, you must immediately remove the scaffolding. 

After giving you notice, we may remove the structure ourselves and charge you for all reasonable expenses we incur. 

If you fail to comply with our conditions, you could face a fine of up to £5,000.

Insurance – public and employers liability

You must have Public Liability Insurance with a minimum cover of £5 million for scaffolding.

Where the contract employs operatives, you must have a minimum cover of £10 million.

We reserve the right to increase these amounts if your site location needs a higher degree of cover. We will tell you if this is the case.

You must provide us with proof of this increased protection before we will approve your licence.

Miscellaneous

You can find Unique Street Reference Numbers (USRNs) by using the National Street Gazetteer. We will provide these numbers upon request.

You must apply for additional licences if you intend to:

  • erect hoarding
  • place a skip on the highway
  • place building materials on the highway