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Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs)

What is an MCWP?

Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) are a form of automated, mechanised access increasingly used in the construction industry as temporary working places giving variable height access to specific areas of structures above ground level.

Typical applications of MCWPs include: overcladding, fabric repair, window replacement, new-build housing, multi-trade sites, lift shaft installation, curtain walling, bricklaying, industrial cladding, refurbishment and cleaning/painting.

Benefits of Use

MCWPs allow efficient work on the façade of buildings where conventional methods may be uneconomical. They are in many cases more convenient to use than other forms of access equipment such as ladders, scaffolding, staging or suspended cradles.

In many countries, MCWPs have become the 'latest access revolution'. Savings over traditional scaffolding can reach 40% on fixed installation costs and 50% on contract duration. These can be achieved with 30% less operatives.

MCWP Training

MCWP training covers the categories Mobile Operator, Demonstrator, Installer and Advanced Installer, each leading to the award of a PAL Card (Powered Access Licence).

Demonstrators are responsible for inducting users and ensuring that the equipment is used safely. They need to understand model-specific servicing and engineering details and the relevant legislative requirements, and be conversant with risk assessment guidance.

Installers, who actually install the platforms, have a special responsibility and additionally must have a detailed understanding of and experience in erection and dismantling procedures for the models they are working with.

Advanced installers are trained as managers or supervisors, with the ability to plan, to carry out a risk assessment of a job, to compile method statements and to configure special arrangements, including special tie and anchor specifications.

To find a training centre near you, use the Training Centre Locator, clicking on the category "Mast Climbing Work Platforms".

Reference Documents

Reference can be made to:

  • BS EN 1495:1998 Lifting platforms -- Mast climbing work platforms
  • BS 7981:2002 Code of practice for the installation, maintenance, thorough examination and safe use of mast climbing work platforms  

British standards can be purchased from the British Standards Institution using this link: 

Reference can also be made to the following technical guidance published by IPAF:


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