Asked Questions

Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions, and see if we already have the answer to your question.

Q. What is a mast climber?

A. An MCWP stands for Mast Climbing Work Platform. A mast climber is a motorised platform that is attached to a single or twin masts that is fixed to a building.

The work platform can travel up and down the mast and it is controlled for personnel and materials to be transported up and down a building. Mast climbing is ideal for high-rise building work and project leaders will gain more value for money the higher up a building we go.

Q. How does mast climbing compare to scaffolding?

A. Mast climbing is a different form of accessing a building compared with scaffolding. Scaffolding is the traditional way of carrying out maintenance, construction and other such works – it mainly consists of tubes, couplers and boards and is a temporary structure used to carry out works at height such as maintenance, construction and building repair.

BFT Mast Climbing is a safer, cheaper and quicker alternative to scaffolding. By using masts, we drastically cut the amount of time it takes to set up and dismantle equipment, whilst vastly improving the flexibility of access for all trades to work on the façade.

Q. What training do BFT Mastclimbing operatives go through?

A. BFT Mastclimbing staff are IPAF Installer, Operator and Demonstrator trained from our brand new £500,000 base in Leighton Buzzard. Our operators are up to date with the latest health and safety legislation and our staff regularly inspect equipment to ensure it is in optimal working order. Our operators also assess ground conditions on any site to make sure that equipment is safely deployed.

Q. What training do you provide for the operatives on site that will use the machines?

A. Whilst the minimum requirement to operate a Mast Climber is to be familiarised on-site by a competent person, BFT Mastclimbing would strongly advise you taking far more responsibility than this and as such offer both the IPAF Operator and IPAF demonstrator courses for all customers. We would typically suggest 1 or 2 demonstrators for the project and multiple operators depending on the size of the job and how many machines / trades involved. Please discuss with our team who can advise accordingly and ensure you have sufficient training provided to give you project maximum benefits.

Q. I have heard that jobs can be delayed for days if Mastclimbers break down – is this true?

A. No, the truth is that whilst all machines can break down, those that are new, highly maintained and operated by trained operators that understand their limits and safety devices are far less likely to ‘break down’. For 2020 over 95% of all breakdown call outs were for issues caused by human error that could have been resolved on site by trained personnel really quickly (often as simply as checking all gates are securely shut before trying to operate the platform). At BFT Mastclimbing, we have engineers up and down the country and can provide greater peace of mind in the event of any machine breakdown that your job will not be delayed.

Q. What are the main benefits of mast climbing compared to scaffolding?

A. Mast climbing requires fewer people, less time and fewer components to building access projects compared with scaffolding. That makes MCWPs safer, faster and cheaper to use than traditional scaffolding methods. When it comes to setting our mast climbers up, it takes two days and a gang of two people compared to 14 days and up to six people for scaffolding. We also require just one lorry for our equipment, whereas scaffolding needs around 5 lorries for a typical project.

Q. Does mast climbing have any benefits over scaffolding in terms of my workforce?

A. Yes – around 52,000 construction workers have been affected by musculo-skeletal disorders because of the position they have to work in (i.e. a stooped position). Mast climbers allow workers to carry out their duties at optimal height, helping our company to look after our workers’ physically and ensuring they are hitting their maximum productivity.

Q. What are the environmental benefits of mast climbing over scaffolding?

A. The visual impact of mast climbers is far from overbearing, especially when we work on buildings with residents who live inside those buildings. Scaffolding can block the amount of light these residents can enjoy, which isn’t the case with mast climbing. With fewer logistics required, the noise impact from less traffic is another environmental advantage we can provide.

Q. What are the costs of mast climbing compared with scaffolding?

A. One recent example that came to us showed that mast climbers would have saved a project in London at least 40% on their costs, and even more if they had come to us earlier. This is because our value for money allows us to erect and dismantle equipment in four days, as opposed to 30 days for scaffolding. Value for money really begins to kick in the taller a building is. For more details on the specific case study or to find out more generally about mast climbing, you can always get in touch with us.

Q. Why haven’t I heard about mast climbing and MCWPs before?

A. Scaffolding is the dominant form of building access in the UK currently, but that does not mean it is the best! BFT Mast Climbing is passionate about the benefits of mast climbing in terms of safety, time and logistics so we are always happy to help people learn more about why they should use our services. Get in touch with us today if you’re interested in finding out more.

Q. Can MCWPs be used with brickwork?

A. Yes! Not only can they be used but they are often now the preferred method of access from bricklayers due to the fact that they are always working at the optimal height. At BFT, we have 4 different types of machines with our two largest being ideal for brickwork projects – providing plenty of space on the platform for the labour and materials within manageable safe working loads and without the need of constantly handling materials – hence the increase safety element.

Q. Can Mast Climbers be used on buildings that have balconies?

A. Absolutely! At BFT Mastclimbing we have a team of highly experienced technical consultants who can walk you through your program and plan your access strategy with you. Our knowledge of how to get the best out of all the bespoke adaptions on offer constantly provides clients with cost-effective solutions to challenges that were going to cost a lot of time and money to solve. MCWP’s can even go round corners and follow curved facades so please do speak to the team about any challenges or concerns on your existing projects you need our assistance with.

To find out more about mast climbing in the UK and why it will benefit your project, get in touch with us today and we would be happy to help.

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