Last edited 17 Nov 2020

Building wraps


Building wraps are large-scale printed sheet materials that can be fixed to scaffolding structures and used to conceal building work. They are commonly digitally printed with a CGI rendering or photographic image of the building façade, attempting in some way to ‘blend in’ better with its context than traditional debris netting would.

It is a technique that is sometimes used on important buildings, or in sensitive locations, to hide unsightly scaffolding while providing a tantalising representation of what the building looks, or will look, like.

The benefits of building wraps are that they can help to reduce the spread of dust and other debris, conceal construction work from the public, and mean that views of the under-construction building is minimised.

The scaffolding must be securely erected for the building wrap to be installed. If necessary, engineers must calculate wind loading to be ensure that the installation of the wrap will not be a hazard to the scaffolding.

Building wraps are typically installed onto a 'picture frame' scaffold structure which projects about 300 mm further out than the last projected pole on the main scaffolding. Any projecting scaffold poles should be capped to cover sharp ends. This allows the wrap banner to move with the wind without getting caught on any poles which can cause damage.

Two commonly used fixing methods are standard and invisible:

  • The standard method involves a picture frame that is made up of perimeter scaffolding with the wrap banner sitting about 150 mm inside the frame, fixed using 12 mm bungee cable (so the scaffold is visible).
  • The invisible method is more difficult but is generally thought to give a better appearance. The wrap banner is pulled completely smooth, placed over the outside of the picture frame scaffolding and clamped using clamp couplers/joins.

Typically, the scaffolding picture frame is installed before printing the wrap, so that an accurately measured template can be provided to the designers. This ensures that the wrap covers the scaffold completely, that it is taut enough and does not crease.

Building wraps can serve as a form of discreet advertising, in the same way as hoardings. However, they may require planning permission from the local authority.

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