With many years of experience in the heavy industrial scaffold industry, Ontario-based Hinton Scaffold Solutions provides highly innovative industrial-scaffolding solutions, including scaffold erection, dismantling, engineering, BIM (Business Information Modelling), and management services.
CEO Brandon Marton has been working in heavy industry for nearly two decades. He studied project management at the Edwards School of Business and is relatively self-taught in software coding. He also sits on a non-profit board for bringing technology to trades using his virtual reality construction courses. Mr Marton spoke with us recently about the scope of services offered by the company, the growing use of technology in the construction industry, and the safety-focused approach that defines Hinton Scaffold’s core values.
Innovative scaffolding solutions
“Hinton Scaffold is a Canadian-based scaffold solutions and training provider,” Mr Marton explains. “We perform work on major projects from process plants, oil and gas sites, mines, and infrastructure projects. Our team has always been driven by a strong safety culture, as a trade that performs some of the highest risk work on a jobsite. We take the (calculated) risk so that others can work safely.”
The scope of services the company provides is mainly focused on Access Scaffold Solutions, with a further focus on labour management solutions, especially when it comes to working in the industrial realm.
“As a tech-forward company, we provide BIM, 3D, and Virtual Reality and AR services as well. Along with our access solutions, we have scaffold material rentals, engineering, planning, and consulting, and of course the labor workforce as well.”
The company is incredibly safety-focused, with an internal mandate to have all executive team and front-line workers to be NCSOs (National Construction Safety Officer). Each province in Canada has its own designation for safety qualification, but once it has been achieved in one province, it is now recognized across all of them.
“NCSOs are typically safety-information resources on-site, to help people better understand how they can perform their work safely. We feel it’s important that our management teams go through this process as an individual, with our company, so that they have that understanding of what it means for everybody on-site. They’re really thinking about safety on the job, through others’ perspectives, and how health & safety can apply for everybody.”
This qualification is usually the beginning of a career in safety in general, signifying that the individual has completed the basic principles of understanding regulations in the province and achieving a level of competency on a job site.
“In addition, we bring technology to the forefront in our planning services, as well as our execution,” Mr Marton says. “That’s something that we find is rare on-site, to see technology used in the field. Well planned projects can also mitigate incidents on these large scale projects.”
One of the most interesting projects the company has undertaken involved a scaffold hanging about three storeys down from an 80-ton overhead crane located 120ft in the air. The importance of technology to this particular project was paramount.
“We worked with the client and the BIM model of the project to design, with our engineers, this very unique hanging scaffold that would be affixed to this crane, that would be (manually) movable while people could perform the work off the scaffold, giving access to the inside of the building at 100 feet in the air. We were able to put it into a drawing, a model that people could move around in 3D and look to see if there were any issues or collisions for the whole team together.”
The scope of these projects is varied, with some simpler projects involving just a few days on-site, and others requiring much more time, sometimes even several years, until a project has reached completion. Maintenance contracts are typically a three-year contract that gets renewed over time, meaning there are teams across the country that are on-site at all times.
“We plan to grow like any business does. For us, it’s really a journey to zero – zero incidents. We’re pushing the boundaries of what training really means. You go through a lot of training, traditionally, on-site. On-site training puts people in the position of already being in harm’s way while being trained, potentially.”
The company has utilized its technology to put people in the safest possible environment during training and beyond. Through the use of Virtual Reality, people can be trained safely, off-site, or out of harms way, and repeat it as many times as possible until that person reaches a level of comfort in performing or understanding the tasks.
“This allows people to better protect themselves and others around them. For us as a company in growth, we feel that we can continue to enhance the way we train and attract people into the industry to begin with.”
On an industry level, the labor market is seeing an ever-increasing gap as to who is getting involved in trades. The industry is losing people to other avenues of work, and Hinton Scaffold is heavily involved in trying to win these people back.
“Construction is a very lucrative and safe industry to be a part of. We’re working on attracting people to the industry through the use of technology, and we’re seeing the adoption of it. Where historically, technology in the field was perceived as more of a distraction, we’re now seeing tablets with very valuable information on them being used in the field daily.”
Another area of adoption is in the company’s own R.I.S.E. platform – standing for Realistic Immersive Safety Education – which utilizes Virtual Reality to help people learn the job through the experience of interactive scenarios.
“We really do believe that safety is a primary focus, and scaffolding has the ability to give all workers safe access to their work front. We recently started a non-profit, Tech to Trades, to lead training opportunities for attracting youth women and typically marginalized individuals into the trades. We’re also working with youth corrections justice organizations to provide training to incarcerated individuals so that they have an awareness of the opportunities available to them once they get out.”
With a strong focus on using technology to make a safer construction business, Hinton Scaffold is leading the way in the industry. Find out more about Hinton Scaffold Solutions by visiting www.hintonscaffold.com.