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Eastern promise for scaffolding sophistication

22.04.2022 | News
With extensive experience across the British, African, and Middle Eastern scaffolding markets, Stuart Whittam’s relocation to Kuala Lumpur in 2021 as Doka’s East Asia Pacific Business Development Manager enabled him to apply his industry knowledge to a changing market where demand for increasingly sophisticated products and systems are on the rise.

Impressions

As a region that covers a significant portion of the globe, it goes without saying that scaffolding and construction standards vary from some of the world’s most sophisticated metropolitan centers such as Tokyo’s Shibuya and Harajuku districts, through to the deepest parts of rural Sumatra. As a central location for the East Asia Pacific region, Stuart Whittam’s transfer to Kuala Lumpur not only meant a strategic capital from which to access the wider market, but also a country that represents the diversity of the region in its own infrastructure, which varies from the record-breaking Petronas Towers through to the emerging, agricultural communities of Kuching and Miri in northern Borneo. Commenting on how the market has changed in recent years, Stuart shared some of his thoughts about the region and where there is a growing opportunity for more advanced solutions.

“The scaffolding market has come a long way in the past 20 years with both industry and employee safety becoming one of the biggest focuses. Scaffolding has evolved from bamboo to more sophisticated systems that encourage safety and industry best-practice. All over the world, safety has become a greater concern, which means the development of safer systems has become a priority. With heat and exhaustion remaining one of the primary regional challenges, particularly in Southeast Asia, Ringlock’s fewer components, which are also 30% lighter and 50% easier to install mean greater productivity on site with less chance of fatigue, which is a win for both contractors and site teams.

From a high-level, there is a clear demand for Ringlock, however it remains a question of affordability. I know of several companies that are sitting on hundreds of tonnes of material, so often it’s a question of justifying the capital outlay, despite the clear overall benefits which are increasingly understood.”


Fortunately for Doka, for those companies who are in the market to upgrade or invest, its Ringlock system has a competitive price point when benchmarked against similar systems in terms of the upfront cost, not to mention the significant reduction in labour and project duration, which help end clients understand the lifecycle benefits of the system more clearly, particularly in the energy sector.

“My clients that have used the Ringlock system are always happy and immediately start seeing savings, especially on their labour costs. The project owners feel the benefit by having the project done faster, thereby making a saving on the fewer number of non-operational days. It’s a win for all parties with the plant returning to operations quicker and the contractor realising significant savings on its labour costs.”

In addition to cost efficiency, the region’s progress is being further supported by increasingly higher standards.

“In Asia, they follow the European Standard, which works perfectly with Ringlock’s EN12810 certification. This has helped Doka to position itself as a certified provider that can operate with both the oil and gas and construction markets, while the enhanced regulation keeps cheaper, and potentially less safe systems making their way onto sites.”

In tandem with the global construction market, the adoption of technology has also seen a significant increase, with more project owners and contractors realizing the benefits of cost efficiency, safety, and precision. As such Doka’s forward thinking digital products, systems, and tools, particularly those which are compatible with Ringlock have proven to be popular on projects across the region, with Hi-Vis® standing out as an easy-to-use system that improves workflow on site.

“Technology is being embraced every day. Products such as Doka’s Hi-Vis® software management tool have significantly helped workflow efficiency by generating significant savings on man-hours and labour costs, which are amongst the biggest overheads for any organisation. In today’s world with the current pandemic and the difficulty in sourcing skilled labour, technology is being sought after to fill the void. From my experience, particularly in the energy sector, Ringlock, in combination with Hi-Vis® has proven to reduce shutdowns by over a week when compared to less sophisticated scaffolding system, making our proposition very attractive to stakeholders.”

When asked about what role Doka can play in the wider region’s development, Stuart responded, “As a company, we’d like to be the benchmark of quality within the scaffolding sector and to become a one-stop-shop for the industrial sector as a long-term partner for efficiency."

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