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Setting Up Scaffolding For Shrink Wrapping

Shrink wrap is incredibly adaptable and can be used to cover structures of any kind of shape and size. The tips given below will help you optimise the set up your scaffolding to achieve a professional appearance. While these are general guidelines for shrink wrap sheeting, every project is unique so we would always suggest giving us a call or email to ensure your structure is risk assessed properly.

As one of the UK's leading shrink wrap companies, ENCAPS is committed to helping our customers understand what is needed and whether choosing shrink wrap is the best option for you.


Even though we install the majority of our shrink wrap on scaffolding, we are not actually scaffolders. We must make sure however that every scaffold we work on has been designed to the appropriate standard with scaffold sheeting in mind. There are wind loads to consider, all of which a qualified engineer will be able to take in to account before a structure is built. Generally though, so long as a scaffold is weighed down and has sufficient ties and buttresses, adding shrink wrap will not increase wind loading any more than conventional sheeting. 

As a separate trade to scaffolding, we would expect a structure to be safe to work on with adequate ladder access to all areas, boarded working lifts and handrails as standard. In our method statement, it is also very clear that we cannot work on a scaffold until it has been signed off as safe through 'Scaff-tags' or similar. 


Protrusions not only impact the look the overall appearance of shrink wrap, it also delays the process if there are a number tubes to cut around. Most firms will agree that to achieve the desired look that shrink wrap provides, as well as robust weather protection, the structure should be as flush as possible. Of course in the real world we know that not everything can be cut back; beams or system scaffolding will of course be un-usable if chopped, so we would do our best to work around this in this situation. 

An ideal scenario is to have a flush scaffolding with sheeting rails that can make the daily installation much swifter and optimised for the desired finish. Not only will this look better, but it will increase the lifespan of the encapsulation due to very few weaknesses in the sheet. Small protrusions are weaknesses, over time they may lead to larger holes which over more time can lead to damage that would need repairing. Really, it is in the best interests of everyone to try make your scaffold as flush as possible.


Ledgers aka 'Sheeting Rails'

Although sheeting rails are not absolutely necessary for us to install our shrink wrap, they really can make the difference between a smart looking job and an amazing looking centre piece on site. We always recommend at least two sheeting rails, one at the bottom and one at the top of the desired area; these would be fixed to the external scaffold on single fittings. 

Using single fittings means that nuts/bolts will not be sticking into the shrink wrap once we have finished the shrinking process. Using these two sheeting rails will help keep the sheet away from all the double fittings and braces that cover your scaffolding, allowing for a smoother finish.

In an ideal scenario, should the budget allow, we would hope for sheeting rails to be spaced on every working lift (2m) positioned at the same level as the top handrail. You would simply take the sheeting rails up to the braces, then carry on afterwards eventually forming a simple framework that will keep the shrink wrap looking great. 


Handrails on all levels are of course a minimum health and safety requirement. We would like to see a double handrail with a toe board for optimum safety but we realise this can not always be the way.

When installing a shrink wrap temporary roof, a double handrail is mandatory to ensure the safety of our operatives and to maximise efficiency during the instalation. Please see more details further down this page for temporary roof set ups.

Final Seal

This is needed for those locations that need complete containment. For this, the scaffolding must be as flush as possible to prevent the number of potential holes. A shrink wrap skirt is fixed into every edge with an adhesive or wooden battens.

Any scaffolding companies or contractors hoping for a completely contained working environment requiring our final seal add-on service, definitely needs to consider how they will be building their structure to achieve the best results for the end client. 

Temporary Roof Structures

Shrink wrap structures serve well as a temporary roofing solution. Some of the things to consider are:

When constructing scaffolding for the roof it should allow for a decent run off for rainwater. Flat temporary roofs will have a lot of trouble as rain water will puddle in areas of the roof which over time will hold huge pockets of water, eventually bursting in on the project below. To achieve this the minimum pitch on the roof should be 10% and no more than 20%.

If you have a temporary roof in mind, please give us a call and we will run through what we would need in greater detail.

Size Of Your Temporary Roof

Canopies / Lean-to roofs (up to 5 metres wide)

If there is a small roof within arms reach with access from the underside, you do not usually require any extra boards for your shrink wrap installation. It is the same where a canopy is needed over the top lift of the scaffold where installers have access to the canopy from the underside from the top lift. We can usually effectively use existing perlins and ledgers to position and support the sheet successfully.

Midsize roofs and Larger

For medium to large size temporary roofs, there is a greater amount of additional scaffolding that we need to ensure a safe install. Set up correctly, the overall strength and longevity of the shrink wrap will be maximised.

The general rule of thumb is a double handrail with a three board wide run around the perimeter. This first step enables our installers to clip on to the handrail and move around safely and to position the shrink wrap rolls ready to roll out over the span of the roof itself. We would also require a run of two or three boards at every 1.5m centres running adjacent with your beam-work. These essentially become our walkways so we can move around the whole perimeter and around on the roof with ease. 

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