Scaffolding for Swansea

Why does Hong Kong still use bamboo scaffolding?

Why does Hong Kong still use bamboo scaffolding?

A scaffolder erecting some bamboo scaffolding

One of the only places on earth where bamboo scaffolding is still used to construct buildings is Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a concrete and steel jungle. But if you look closely, you’ll notice an organic substance that creeps up walls and through fissures, totally encasing entire structures.

Bamboo's rich cultural heritage in Chinese construction

Unlike our scaffolding firm in Swansea, the Chinese culture has a long history with bamboo. Paper, musical instruments, furniture, and even entire structures have all been constructed using it. Furthermore, forty per cent of the known bamboo species in the world, or 500 species, are found in China.

Safety concerns lead to bamboo's decline in mainland China

However, due to worries about safety, bamboo has largely been abandoned as a construction material throughout most of China. Considering them to be of greater quality, builders prefer aluminium and steel.

Challenges facing the bamboo building industry in Hong Kong

The bamboo building is still a thriving but vulnerable sector in Hong Kong. There aren’t many businesses that focus on the craft and those that do have problems replacing their employees.

The art and skill of bamboo scaffolding

Bamboo is a plant, which makes it considerably more unpredictable than steel, which can be cut into precise pieces. The components must be painstakingly tied together, which takes a lot of skill because not all of them are of the same calibre.

Stringent standards for bamboo procurement

There are particular specifications for acquiring bamboo because of the risks. A three to five-year-old piece that has been air-dried indoors for at least three months is considered suitable.

Sourcing the finest bamboo for Hong Kong's skyscrapers

The preferred length is about 20 feet, which is not much when you realise that some constructions can be 600 feet tall. The best bamboo for Hong Kong comes from Guangxi and Wuzhou.

Advantages of bamboo scaffolding

Why is bamboo still utilised in Hong Kong since it’s such a challenge to work with?

Rapid growth and sustainability

For starters, bamboo is more affordable and ecological to procure. With a growth rate of up to three feet per day, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the planet. Rhizomes, which are underground roots that aid in self-multiplication, are what allow bamboo to grow so quickly.

Longevity and durability

A single bamboo grove can endure for as long as a century, ensuring a prolonged lifespan for products made from it. This longevity contributes to its appeal as a sustainable material, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Cost-effectiveness and ease of handling

Bamboo is also a significantly lighter material when compared to steel so it works out better for the overall scaffolding cost. It takes six times less to erect and it’s twelve times quicker to take down.

Flexibility and strength

When properly constructed, bamboo exhibits remarkable flexibility and strength. This inherent property makes it an excellent material for various applications, offering resilience and adaptability in diverse environments.

Bamboo varieties in Chinese construction

Although our scaffolding firm in Swansea uses steel, construction in China uses two different kinds of bamboo. One is known as gaozhu and is derived from the species Bambusa pervariabilis, while the other, maozhu, is thicker and longer and is derived from Phyllostachys edulis. More frequently, the base of bamboo scaffolding constructions is built using gaozhu.


Bamboo scaffolding is still a distinctive feature of Hong Kong’s skyline amidst its concrete and steel landscape. Despite safety concerns leading to its decline in mainland China, Hong Kong continues to embrace bamboo due to its rich cultural heritage and unique advantages. Although challenges exist in the industry its rapid growth, longevity, cost-effectiveness, and inherent flexibility and strength make bamboo a strong choice for construction.

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