/ Competence for checking scaffolding-based climbing wall

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Jamie Wakeham - on 06 Mar 2013
I've just taken a temp post at a local school which has an outdoor climbing wall, and as they know I'm qualified and insured to use it, they've asked if I can do some top-roping with the pupils.

It's a scaffold structure with plywood walls and bolt-on holds. Apparently it's not been used for three years (since the last qualified member of staff left). Before I start using it I'd rather like to know all the joints are still done up tightly and it's not about to tip over...

So who would be a competent person to do this? Could a bog-standard scaffold company come and check it over and state that it's safe to climb on? Or would I need to find someone who actually specialises in building climbing walls?

Also, it's clear that whilst I'm under contract to the school, AALA doesn't apply. If they wanted me to come back just to provide climbing, I *think* that because it's a purpose-built outdoor structure, AALA still doesn't apply. Am I reading that right?

Cheers
Jamie
GIBBY W - on 07 Mar 2013
Hi Jamie, all scaffolding should be tagged when installed, there should be a register kept of inspections done at regular intervals this should be reflected on the scaff tag, this is the kind of thing -
http://www.scafftag.co.uk/?gclid=CMqOgJWp6rUCFUkd3godrVQAIg

Gibby


In reply to Jamie Wakeham:
> I've just taken a temp post at a local school which has an outdoor climbing wall, and as they know I'm qualified and insured to use it, they've asked if I can do some top-roping with the pupils.
>
> It's a scaffold structure with plywood walls and bolt-on holds. Apparently it's not been used for three years (since the last qualified member of staff left). Before I start using it I'd rather like to know all the joints are still done up tightly and it's not about to tip over...
>
> So who would be a competent person to do this? Could a bog-standard scaffold company come and check it over and state that it's safe to climb on? Or would I need to find someone who actually specialises in building climbing walls?
>
> Also, it's clear that whilst I'm under contract to the school, AALA doesn't apply. If they wanted me to come back just to provide climbing, I *think* that because it's a purpose-built outdoor structure, AALA still doesn't apply. Am I reading that right?
>
> Cheers
> Jamie

Jamie Wakeham - on 07 Mar 2013
Thanks for that, Gibby. I don't remember seeing anything that looked like that on it, though I'll have a closer look when I get a chance - I'm back there on March 21st.

I have a bad feeling, though, that I won't find any record of inspections. I suspect it's been forgotten about - at least since the last member of staff who could use it left - and not touched for three years.

Lukeva - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Jamie Wakeham: There should be a record of its installation, refer to that, contact the them if they are still in business? Failing that chat to some local scaffolders, they may help. Worst case scenario a structural engineer would inspect and report, they would be reasonable in price, especially if you mention competative fee proposal.
RSOX on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to GIBBY W: Also, it's clear that whilst I'm under contract to the school, AALA doesn't apply. If they wanted me to come back just to provide climbing, I *think* that because it's a purpose-built outdoor structure, AALA still doesn't apply. Am I reading that right?

Man made structures are not covered by AALA therefore as a freelance instructor you are not required to hold the licence unless you intend to take minors on Rock http://www.hse.gov.uk/aala/climbing.htm

Rich
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Jamie Wakeham - on 07 Mar 2013
Thanks, both. Lukeva, I'll see what paperwork they can find when I go back in a couple of weeks. Rich - that's how I interpreted it, too; just wanted to check I was getting the right end of the stick!

Cheers
Jamie

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