What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages of Mast Climbers?

The data and comparison with scaffolding is obvious, but when push comes to shove, understanding what exactly a mast climber can bring to your project is what you want to know.

Advantages of A Mast Climber

We’re exploring not only what the advantages of a mast climber can be, but what some of the limitations are too.That way, when you’re making the decisions surrounding vertical access, you know precisely when and why to choose a mast climber.

  • Help reduce project time
  • Save you money on each project
  • Improve the sight of your project for your team & the local Ccmmunity
  • Can be adapted to your specific construction requirements
  • Easily customisable to individual facades.


A mast climber is the best solution to gaining quick and efficient vertical access to your project. Above are some of the core advantages mast climbers or MCWPs have, but it’s worth exploring them in more detail.

Mast Climbers: Saving Time & Money

The first and most pressing advantage is the time that a mast climber can save you. We’ve already determined the many reasons to use a mast climber and how important they can be to helping reduce your time on site, but let’s look at the numbers.


Mast Climber Vs Scaffolding erecting & dismantling comparison

Below is a rough breakdown of time comparing mast climbers with scaffolding on a 40metre high building that is 23 metres wide.

Mast Climber


Set-Up Time

2 Days

16 Days


2 Days

14 Days

As we can see, erecting and dismantling a mast climber is much faster than scaffolding. What would take 2 days with a mast climber can be a number of weeks with scaffolding, especially the higher you build.

Using a mast climber allows you to get your trades to start quicker, too. Due to the significantly reduced ties into the building, the dismantle phase is also where you save massively with less infill works required.

When comparing the cost against scaffold a mast climber will come in more cost-effective. When you then dial in expected adaption costs on the scaffolding (up to 25-30%) and the increased site preliminary costs due to the additional length of program time then from a commercial argument there is only one winner.

Adapting Mast Climbers To Work For You

One of the common misconceptions is that a mast climber is an off the shelf vertical access platform that works along straight lines and straight lines only. This isn’t the case.Because no two construction projects are the same, mast climbers have to be flexible and must adapt to whatever building they provide vertical access to.

Mast climbers are modular, meaning that you can work around corners or around balconies and other external obstacles. So, before you rule out a mast climber because of the shape of your building, speak to our team and find a mast climbing option to suit your needs

Mast Climbers Improve Project Wide Visibility

It’s easy to consider the financial and cost side of things, but what about the aesthetic appearance of construction work for those in the surrounding environment?A high-rise building can quickly become an eye-sore, not just for those in the local area but also for occupants within the building too. Would you want to be living in a building covered in scaffolding and limiting the natural light for months on end?Mast climbers also help add to the visibility of the ongoing project. It’s well known that trades work far more productively when their progress is being tracked and not hidden behind mono flex on a scaffold.

Using a mast climber to complete the required work means there’s less intrusion on the day-to-day of those residents within the building as well as a significantly reduced risk of theft and anti-social behaviour. No one’s going to be able to climb a mast climber like they can with scaffolding.


Disadvantages of A Mast Climber

  • Not suitable to 1 & 2 storey buildings
  • Additional training is required
  • Can’t completely encapsulate a building
  • New technologies take longer to be accepted


Mast Climbers: Still Unknown?

Although they might be common and recognised up and down the country, there is still a large portion of the construction sector that don’t want to use them simply because it is a change from the norm.Often, it’s far easier to keep the trades on site happy. If they have experience with scaffolding, they are going to want to stick to what they know. Changing this mindset is one of the biggest issues facing the mast climber sector.

Just because it is new and unfamiliar, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work for you and your next project.


Mast Climbers Are Limited At Lower Heights

While mast climbers can be used on 85% of all construction projects; from ‘chasing the frame’ new build construction projects and reparative work, to recladding and general maintenance, there are some projects where you wouldn’t use them.Anything below two storeys and you are far better off using scaffolding than a mast climber.

Though there may be the odd project where a mast climber provides quicker access to a two or three-storey building, something a MEWP would struggle to get too, a mast climber is typically better suited to those taller construction projects.

Mast Climber Training

It’s recommended that you should have subsequent training in order to operate a mast climber. Typically, at least one of the workers on the platform should have an IPAF operator card to understand how to operate the MCWPIPAF approved, BFT can supply all the correct training requirements for your mast climber project.

This can be viewed as a disadvantage, particularly for those looking for quick access solutions. When it comes to comparing scaffolding and MCWPs, scaffolding can be used with minimum training. As long as the workers have the correct HSE qualifications to access the site they can begin working on scaffolding.Attending mast climber training courses are an essential part of the process and is recommended if you’re to make the most of your vertical access platforms.

It’s also important to note that HSE investigations have concluded that mast climbers are safer than scaffolding due to the reduction in the handling of materials.


Find Out More About Mast Climbers

With the list of advantages and disadvantages far from comprehensive, you can start to see where, when and how a mast climber can be used on your project.As we’ve said, a mast climber is suitable for 85% of construction projects.

The question is, are you in the 15% that doesn’t need it? Probably not. The easiest way to find out is by speaking to mast climbing experts who can tailor an access platform to your requirements.

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