Difference Between EN39 & BS1139 Scaffold Standard

In the scaffolding industry, different countries have their own scaffold standards. For example, the ANIS standard is the USA standard, the CSA standard for Canada standard, the AS standard for Australia and New Zealand, the JIS standard is for Japan, the KS standard for Korea, the SANS standard for South Africa, and the SS standard for Singapore. BS and EN standard Europe countries, etc.
You can download the relative scaffolding standards from our website: Scaffold Standards.
Among them, BS EN standards are widely used globally wide. It is a British standard originally from the UK and widely used in whole European countries, then other countries.
Till now, a lot of our countries buy scaffolding materials according to BS EN standards.  In the BS EN standards, the most popular two standards are BS1139 and EN 39 standards. Both of them are used for scaffold tube quality judgment.
Some world-class oil gas companies have their internal scaffolding standards, like the Saudi Aramco scaffold safety handbook, Shell DEP standard, KOC scaffolding standard, KNPC standard, etc.  But the basic original of these oil gas companies ‘ standards requirements is from the BS 1139 and EN 39 standards.
  • What is the difference between these two leading scaffold standards?
  • How to choose scaffold standards for the scaffold material?

Differences Between BS1139 and EN 39 Standard

What is BS1139:1990 Standard?

The BS1139: 1990 includes a series specifying the requirements for the design, construction, and testing of equipment for use in scaffolding and other temporary structures. It specifies requirements for steel tubing of the type traditionally used in tubular scaffolding and false work. Recommendations for the design of tubular scaffolding structures are given in BS 5973 and BS 5974. This standard was previously published as Part 1 of BS 1139:1982 which also contained specifications for aluminium scaffold tubes. With the exception of specifying one wall thickness only (i.e. 4 mm), this standard technically aligns with European Harmonization Document HD 1039. Tubing complying with this British Standard also complies with the requirements for type 4 only of HD 1039 and therefore can be classified and marked “EN 39” (see clauses 8 and 9).

BS 1139 is now published in separate Parts and Sections as follows.

Part 1: Tubes;

— Section 1.1: Specification for steel tube;

Section 1.2: Specification for aluminium tube;

Part 2: Couplers;

— Section 2.1: Specification for steel couplers, loose spigots and base plates

for use in working scaffolds and falsework made of steel tubes

(Identical with HD 74);

Section 2.21): Specification for steel and aluminium couplers, fittings

and accessories for use in tubular scaffolding;

Part 3: Specification for prefabricated access and working towers;

Part 4: Specification for prefabricated steel splitheads and trestles;

Part 52): Specification for materials, dimensions, design loads and safety

requirements for service and working scaffolds made of prefabricated

elements (Identical with HD 1000).

(From BS1139:1990).

What is EN 39 Standard?

This British Standard is the official English language version of EN 39:2001.

It supersedes BS 1139-1.1:1990 which is withdrawn. This standard includes a tube with a wall thickness of 3,2 mm as well as the previous 4,0 mm. The other principle changes are contained in the European foreword of this standard. The UK participation in its preparation was entrusted by Technical Committee B/514, Access and support equipment, and ISE/8, Steel pipes, to Subcommittee B/514/28, Props, tubes and couplers, which has the responsibility to:

— aid enquirers to understand the text;

— present to the responsible European committee any enquiries on the

interpretation, or proposals for change, and keep the UK interests informed;

— monitor related international and European developments and promulgate them in the UK.

A list of organizations represented on this subcommittee can be obtained on request to its secretary.


The British Standards which implement international or European publications referred to in this document may be found in the BSI Standards Catalogue under the section entitled “International Standards Correspondence Index”, or by using the “Find” facility of the BSI Standards Electronic Catalogue. A British Standard does not purport to include all the necessary provisions of a contract. Users of British Standards are responsible for their correct application. (From EN 39)

BS1139 VS EN 39 Standard

1. In Chemical Components:
  • BS1139  Chemical Components:  Carbon(C), Silicon(Si), Phosphorus(P), Sulphur(S), and Nitrogen(N)
BS1139 Scaffold Standard Chemical Composition
Table 2 – BS1139 Chemical Composition
  • EN39 Standard Chemical Components: Carbon(C), Silicon (Si), Manganum(Mn), Phosphorum(P), Sulfur(S), and Aluminum(Al)
EN39 Chemical Composition and Mechanical Property
Table 3 – EN 39 Chemical & Mechanical
You can find that BS1139 standards give the requirement of N, while EN 39 scaffold standards give the requirement of Al in chemical composition.
2. Mechanical Property:
  • EN 39 Mechanical Property(See Above Table)

– Yield Strength: Min 235 MPa

– Tensile Strength: 340-520 MPa

– Elongation: Min 24%

  • BS1139 Mechanical Property (See Table 4):

– Yield Strength: ≥ 235 MPa

– Tensile Strength: 340-480 MPa

– Elongation:≥ 24%

BS1139 Mechanical Properties
Table 4 – BS1139 Mechanical Property

Thus for mechanical properties, EN 39 scaffold standard requires 40 MPa higher than BS1139 on tensile strength property.

3  Tolerance Requirement Comparision :
Outerside Diameter±0.5mm
Inside DiameterAllow Insert Guage 37.7mm diameter40.3mm
Wall Thickness – 10%
Seamless -15%
– 10%
– 8%
Length(Exact)0/+10 (≤6m)

4 EN 39 and BS1139 Standard Requirement On Marking

  • EN 39 Marking Requirement:

1) the number of this European Standard (EN 39);

2) the name or trade mark of the manufacturer;

3) the thickness type, 3 or 4.

Example of die marking – EN 39 xxx 4.

xxx = name or trademark of manufacturer

  • BS1139 Marking Requirement

Tubes shall be marked by impressing at intervals not exceeding 1,5 m. The height of the characters shall be at least 4 mm and the impression at least 0,2 mm deep.

The marking shall show

— the name or trade mark of the tube manufacturer;

— the EN number “39”,

— the letter “A” or “B” for silicon content as appropriate;

— the nominal wall thickness “4”, which shall not be positioned immediately adjacent to the number “39”.

After application of the protective coating an additional durable mark shall be applied to the tubes at intervals not exceeding 1,5 m showing the name or trade mark of the coating applier.

5 Cost Comparision
EN39 Scaffold Steel Tube Cost is more Expensive Than BS1139.
6. For Different Types of Scaffolding Pipes

BS1139:1990 standard is main for 4.0mm scaffold tubes.

EN39 standard is for both 4.0mm and 3.2mm scaffold tubes

How to Choose EN 39 or BS1139 Standards

BS1139:1990 standards are normally for 4.0mm wall thickness scaffold tubes.  If you want a type 4(4.0mm) scaffold tube, can use the BS1139 standard.
En 39 standards have requirements for both 3.2mm and 4.0mm scaffold tubes. Thus you can choose the right standard for your scaffold tube specifications.
The aluminum chemical composition makes the scaffolding tubes more toughness. Thus EN39 scaffold tubes are suited for low-temperature countries. They need less hardness in cold weather.
BS1139 is cheaper in cost. Thus if you want to save cost, can choose the BS1139 standard.
If you want to check types, and details about scaffolding pipes can visit our website: Galvanized Scaffolding Pipes  and Black Scaffold Tubes 
If you want to know about the scaffold fittings and couplers used to fix the scaffolding pipes, can visit our website: Scaffolding Coupler 
BS1139 and En 39 standard scaffolding tubes are used to produce system scaffold of ringlock, cuplock, kwikstage, quick lock scaffold too.
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