Scaffolders erect, alter and dismantle temporary scaffolding structures that provide work platforms and stairway access to building sites. Duties include checking plans and drawings, selecting scaffolding components and assembling the prefabricated scaffold components to build the scaffold from the ground up, level by level.Scaffolding components handled include base plates, base jacks, couplings, braces, brackets, ties, bars, a variety of lengths and gauge of steel tubing, ledgers, transoms and steel boards used to create platforms, as well as aluminium flights of stairs, ladders and similar. The various components handled are typically between 7kg and 16kg in weight and are lifted between floor level and overhead during assembly. However, aluminium flights of stairs can weigh up to 33kg and stillages for materials weigh up to 35kg when empty (handled by two or more workers).

The materials are typically collected from ground level, then lifted and carried up flights of stairs in small quantities as they are erected, or passed up between workers to the level of scaffold where they are required. The dismantling process is essentially the reverse of the building and assembly process. Rolls of shade cloth may also be dropped down between each level and tied to the scaffold.

A variety of hand tools is used during the assembly and disassembly process, including hammers to hit locking pins into position, sockets and ratchets, levels and other hand tools.