I’d Like a Scaffold Shrink Wrap Training Course

Scaffold Shrinkwrap Training

I am often asked by scaffolders if they can get some scaffold shrink wrap training for their own team so that they can bring this specialised service ‘in house’. 

Most scaffolders consider getting their own guys trained up after they have had an specialist installation team in, such as provided by Envirowrap, Tufcoat or yes, even our own team at Rhino.

At Rhino we have trained hundreds of scaffolders and contractors over the years how to apply shrink wrap sheeting to scaffolding.

However, we would not recommend training (or indeed scaffold shrink wrapping) for every scaffolder. This article explores in more detail some of the things you might want to consider which will maximise your chances of success.

Why Do We Provide Shrink Wrap Training?

At Rhino Shrink Wrap there are two ‘sides’ to our business. On one hand we provide teams of scaffold shrink wrap installers to provide an ‘fully installed’ shrink wrap contracting service throughout the UK. On the other hand, we supply scaffold shrink wrap materials and equipment and provide training for scaffolders and contractors in the skills necessary to create high performance temporary weather protection and environmental containment for construction projects.

If a typical rate for the fully installed service is £6 / square metre and scaffold shrink wrap materials cost from £1.33 / square metre it can seem contradictory to some people that we might want give way our ‘secret sauce’ of tips, tricks and skills to others so that they can provide this valuable service. So why do we do it?

Well, first off, in our experience providing a full installed service and supplying materials to others is actually complementary and each benefits the others. The real world is not so black and white as we imagine. It makes perfect sense for a scaffold company to be trained in the application of shrink to fit scaffold sheeting so that they can install it themselves when they have the labour available OR if a more complex job comes in or they or too busy, they still have the option of contracting the installation of the shrink wrap sheeting out to a specialist installer.

Secondly, although we are based in the middle of the UK, and can reach most major cities within a couple of hours, it is much more efficient for a scaffold contractor who is likely much closer to the job to provide the service, and this is particularly true for the smaller jobs.

Lastly, because we are on construction sites every day, at the ‘sharp end’, working with our own product, in sometimes challenging conditions, we have a ready made team of trainers who know the product inside and out, talk the language of our customers and so can provide a genuine and real world training, not just the theory, this means that be installing our own product, we know what quality the

Honestly, in the early days, we didn’t always get it right and some scaffolders failed to get up and running properly. This article explores what we learnt and what we do differently to anybody else. We want to get it right because if we do, hopefully you will become long term customers and partners and if you grow, so do we!

Can I teach myself?

We produce a number of free guides. We have also posted a number of videos on Youtube which show the shrink wrap process.

The answer is that if you have plenty of time for some trial and error, and if you are already experienced working with scaffold sheeting then there is no reason you cannot teach yourself.

However, shrink wrap sheeting tends to be used / demanded by some of the largest and most demanding construction projects in the UK. These sites also tend to be very demanding in terms of their paperwork and may wish to see evidence / proof of your competency. This is one important reason. However, if you choose the right scaffold shrink wrap training company, you should get a trainer with a wealth of experience gained across hundreds of previous jobs. This small additional outlay on some formal training and support could save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Why you might consider scaffold shrink wrap training

It is most useful to think of shrink wrapping, not as a product that will replace all other sheeting but for scaffolders, providing a shrink wrap service is a way to add a string to their bow, or differentiate themelves from the competition. Add another string to your bow, provide differentiation between you and competition

You are are already on site, so opportunity to provide a profitable service at a better price than specialist shrink wrap companies.

Reasons against getting some scaffold shrink wrap training

Can be a distraction from ‘core’ business of erecting scaffolding

Costs of getting a team trained and extra labour costs during learning period. Need to find suitable jobs as they are learning.

Might not be able to find a team of scaffolders who are willing to learn

The wrong way to get training for your team to install scaffold shrink wrap

You are under time pressure to complete a complex scaffolding encapsulation project for your biggest customer. You search Google for ‘scaffold shrink wrap training’ and get in touch with the first company you find. They tell you to set up a small ‘training structure’ in your yard and then send a sales person who has only ever shrink wrapped the training structure. Your team spend 2-3 hours having a practice before being certified as competent.

The next day, disregarding the gale force winds sweeping across your yard, you send the team out to encapsulate a temporary roof where the client has been promised the temporary roof will be 100% watertight.

Result: Highly likely that the job will not go well. Your team will be demotivated and will dislike scaffold sheeting even more than they did before! You have an upset customer and a ‘shrink wrapping start up kit’ that you never plan to use again.

The right way to get your team trained up to install shrink wrap sheeting for scaffolding

Do your research!

The trainer needs to have a load of on site, real world, practical experience of installing shrink wrap sheeting. This experience needs to be ‘up to date’, not based on their heyday 10 years ago before they started driving a desk.

Choose a team of your guys who actually want to learn. Shrink wrapping is not like installing traditional style scaffold sheeting. It isn’t rocket science BUT it does require some care and attention to get the best results.

Let me explain.

There are two areas to master in order to become really successful at scaffold shrink wrapping.

Shrink wrapping a scaffold at it’s most basic level comes down to a couple of core skills –  mastery of 1) using the hot air gun to create a weld / joint between two pieces of shrink wrap film and 2) using the hot air gun to shrink the plastic drum tight.

Mastering the basic skills probably takes most people only a couple of hours of practice.

HOWEVER in a ‘live’ situation, the basic skills are not enough, you need to know how to apply them to the job and that is where the planning comes in! Planning covers setting up the structure right in advance, planning the weather, planning the orientation of the sheets and the sequence in which to hang them.

The problem of doing shrink wrap training comes from one of it’s key benefits. Unlike traditional style scaffold sheeting which is nearly always installed in exactly the same way, running around the scaffolding on a ‘lift by lift’ basis, scaffold shrink wrap can be used in a whole variety of ways. It can be hung vertically, horizontally. It can be used to cover up to 7 lifts in a single sheet (although I would not recommend that for any outdoor jobs). Shrink wrap can be used for temporary roofs or facades and can cope with any size or shape scaffolding.

This versatility means that whilst it is quite easy to teach the basic shrink wrapping skills of welding and heat shrinking, the most important skill, which is the application of the sheeting in the ‘real world’ can only be learnt though experiencing a variety of jobs.

The benefit of ‘live’ on the job / ‘on site’ training

With this kind of training session you have sold your customer on the ‘brave new world’ of shrink wrap sheeting for scaffolding and they have bought in. Only problem is, your team have never shrink wrapped a scaffolding in their lives.

Rather than take your team off the tools for a few hours as that practice shrink wrappong a training structure in your yard, An on the job training session seems like an ideal solution, your guys get trained, and the scaffold gets sheeted at the same time.

The main benefits of this arrangement is that, as highlighted above, it is pretty efficient. You don’t waste labour hours and materials wrapping a training structure that will be dismantled and thrown away.

However, being a live job means that somebody is paying for it, and that probably means they don’t want the shrink wrap to be full of holes that were created by an inexperienced shrink wrapper giving it too much welly! Because nobody can make mistakes it means that nobody wants to get stuck in and as such there can be a tendency for the scaffolders being trained to ‘sit back’ and watch the trainer get on with it. The nature of these jobs may mean that it is distracting,

The benefit of setting up a training structure in your yard

This is how we nearly always used to do scaffold shrink wrap training. The benefit of this approach is that it is a controlled environment. The scaffolders or contractors being trained can get stuck in and learn / practice without worrying about making a mistake. The trainer can observe everyone easily at close quarters and give feedback that everybody can learn from.

The choice is yours, what type of training you go for. In my opinion, the best scenario is to combine both. So, on 1 day spend 3 hours with a team at the yard and then on another day go to the site of the first job and provide additional support and assistance.

How to choose a scaffold shrink wrap training company

I hace written before how the scaffold shrinkwrap market is fairly unregulated in that there are no official ‘card schemes’ for shrink-wrapping as you might find for many other construction trades. This means it is important to do your own research.

Thoughts from a scaffold shrink wrap trainer

OK, over the years I have certainly seen the good, the bad and the ugly of scaffold shrink wrap training!

The difference between the companies that have learnt the skills and gone on to do great things and those that have failed comes down to people.

  1. The management

If you are reading this because you are considering getting your own team trained up then you need to give them time yo learn.

Another situation to avoid is taking on a large scaffold shrink wrap project immediately after the training session. Again, I have seen it happen, more than once, where the day after training, the boss sends his scaffold team to encapsulate a huge temporary roof. Don’t do it! If you have a big project, ask the trainer to come back and work alongside your guys for a couple of days.

2. The team

They need to care! On more than one occasion I have been carrying out some ‘on the job’ scaffold shrink wrap training with a team of scaffolders. Working on a ‘live’ job is always more challenging for the trainer than a training structure as there may be two groups of scaffolders working on different parts of the scaffold. As the day wears on, the scaffolders are getting on with it and rather than stand around I’ll get stuck in as well. However, come 3pm, they disappear in a cloud of smoke.

How much should you pay for a scaffold shrink wrap training? / How much will a scaffold shrink wrap training course cost.

The million dollar question.

There is no doubt that the cost of shrink wrap training has been coming down in recent years.

Some scaffolders have questioned why we charge for training at all? They reason that if we train them, they will buy materials and equipment from us.

Whilst there is a certain logic there, also bear in mind we are enabling you to introduce a new profitable service into your company. We always use the most experienced people from our company.

Our thinking is we don’t want to make a profit from our shrink wrap training but we don’t want to make a loss either. That is why we charge £595 for the first day and £295 / day thereafter. That covers our labour, travel and accommodation costs and insurance.

The pricing assumes that you will also be buying a start up kit of some kind.

What else will you need to get started?

For an in depth exploration of scaffold shrink wrapping materials & equipment you should check out this article; ‘What Materials & Equipment Do I Need to Start Scaffold Shrink Wrapping?’

However, as a quick overview, you will need

Scaffold Shrink Wrap Film – generally supplied as a 7m x 15m roll, which weighs around 30Kg. Typically white in colour and 300 microns thick. Flame retardant.

Shrink Wrapping Tape – used for patching small holes and sealing around any areas where protrusions stick through the shrink wrap film (try and avoid this).

Scaffold Clips – used to temporarily hold shrink wrap sheeting in position. After the sheet has been welded and shrunk off ‘drum tight’, these clips can be removed.

Shrink Wrapping Hot Air Gun – the essential piece of equipment required for shrink wrapping. Uses propane gas to create a flame which generates the hot air required to weld sheets of scaffold wrap together and heat shrink drum tight.

Safety Gloves – These need to be welders gauntlets, typically leather.

Conclusion

Once again, this has been quite a long article. Apologies! The key thing to remember for scaffold shrink wrap training is that if you only have the very occasional job that needs shrink wrapping it is probably best to sub-contract the fitting of the shrink wrap scaffold sheeting to a specialist installation team.

If, however, you want to bring this service ‘in house’ and turn it into a profitable part of your business you should make sure that you have a team who will be committed to making the best job of it. Unlike traditional style scaffold sheeting, getting a shrink wrap job looking good will be different on every job and needs some planning and an eye for detail. If you have the team then look for a training provider who will provide a really experienced scaffold shrink wrap installer to support your guys for at least your first couple of jobs.

The best scaffold shrink wrap training course involves a combination of learning the basic skills off site and then implementing the skills on a live project.

What would you like to do next?

Buy Shrink Wrap Materials

If you want to shrink wrap your own scaffolding projects.

Get Installation Services

If you would like us to provide a full supply & fix service.

Learn about Shrink Wrapping

If you want to find out how scaffolding shrink wrapping works.

Have an upcoming project requiring shrink wrapping?