New scaffolding testing business aims to hit export heights

A new business has been set up in Newry to help construction companies ensure that their scaffolding meets health and safety standards.

Alta Scaffolding Solutions, a mobile scaffolding plank testing company, has been set up by husband and wife team Paul and Rosaleen McCann, with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

The couple, who have substantial management experience within the construction sector, have invested over £100,000 in setting up the new business. They have employed a Business Development Manager and plan to employ a further five staff. Invest NI has offered £30,000 of support.

At the moment all new scaffolding planks used within UK and Ireland must be tested to BS 2482:2009, however, subsequent health and safety checks on planks in use are currently based on visual testing.

Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office, said: “This is an innovative business idea that has substantial export potential, particularly in the Republic of Ireland market. It offers construction companies a way of testing used scaffolding planks to ensure compliance with an established industry standard. This means they can be totally confident about the safety of the scaffolding in use.

“Invest NI has been able to help Alta Scaffolding Solutions get up and running by offering financial support and by providing technical expertise to help Paul and Rosaleen specify the equipment required for the plank testing service.”

The mobile service involves Alta Scaffolding Solutions taking the testing equipment to the customer’s premises to carry out the testing. The company also plans to introduce a scaffolding repair service to complement the plank testing service.

Paul McCann said: “We researched and test marketed the concept for the new business for several months and were encouraged by the response from a number of scaffolding providers. Scaffolding hire businesses and construction companies have become increasingly aware of the need to adopt cost reduction measures where possible. Our service offers customers the potential to maintain their scaffolding stock in a cost efficient manner and to demonstrate compliance with health and safety requirements.

“Invest NI’s support allowed us to employ a Business Development Manager to help us develop the market opportunity for the proposed service and to facilitate an efficient operating process. We also got support to implement our export marketing plan which will initially be targeting companies in the Republic of Ireland.”