Tough guys, lots of sweat, a team. The scaffolders from the Charlottenbogen. An insight.
Nothing works without her. Let me get this straight. Welcome to the scaffolders, the tough guys from construction. They laugh, they rant, they lift and heave – here at the top of the fourth floor on the Charlottenbogen construction site. They’re a crew and they’re on their toes. Every move, every move is on the mark. Screwed together, plugged together and connected, the scaffolding grows quickly. Like a well-oiled machine, that’s how they are, patting each other on the shoulder, making jokes, rough but warm.
“We are a team, because we really need to be able to rely on each other. One hundred percent. One mistake, one inattention and it can be dangerous,” says Enrico Ingendorf, 42 years old. He is the foreman here, a full beard is emblazoned on his tanned face, his arms look like a single, tight muscle. Ratchet, hammer and spanner are hanging from his work belt. His job is to keep track of the amount of material, to check that the plans for the exact location of the scaffolding are being adhered to. He has to make sure that everyone is concentrated and works precisely, that everyone knows their place and their tasks.
If you want to know how heavy what you are carrying around and reaching over is, you can lift such a wooden plank or one of the metal frames yourself. The wooden plank weighs 30 kilos, the metal frame around 16 kilos. Heavy, unmanageable, you immediately threaten to tip in one direction or the other. “It’s all a question of technology,” says Enrico Ingendorf. “Always grab in the middle and always with both hands, always lift from the hip.” With him it looks like everything is as light as a feather. But with the scaffolders, everything still seems to be real, honest men’s muscle work. House F, fourth floor, that’s where they work today. Level by level they move up, always one level ahead of the steel weavers and concrete builders. Those who work as scaffolders must not be afraid. Because: ” Those who are afraid have lost. But you have to have respect for the height. Anyone who doesn’t have that will be reckless,” says foreman Ingendorf. His tallest building ever to be scaffolded with the steel dress was the Steglitzer Kreisel, where he climbed 118 meters into the air. “The funny thing is, you don’t realize that it’s going up higher and higher and higher, because it’s you who is building the scaffolding level by level,” says Ingendorf. A colleague joins in the conversation. He scaffolded the Siegessäule already. He too has no problem with the height: “We grow with the scaffolding. First you’re on the ground, then ten, then twenty, then thirty metres high, then 67 metres … just don’t look down. When they got to the top with the scaffolding, he kissed the Goldelse, it was so beautiful.
Originally, foreman Ingendorf was a plumber. But he did not like being indoors, in the basements of the houses. “When I’m building scaffolding I’m always outside, always at altitude, in the fresh air, in the sun. And I get to places that hardly any Berliner can go,” says Ingendorf. But the job is also exhausting, the many and heavy lifts are not for everyone. “Very few of our apprentices make it through the three years. We had one year, there were 12 apprentices, and one of them made it,” he says. You can tell in the first two weeks whether one of them has the potential to work hard, to be on his toes and to tackle the job, “or is really a lazy dog”.
That’s enough talking. Let’s go. Frame it. Put the clutch in. Tighten it. Attach the railing. Lay the planks. “Lego for big people”, says Ingendorf, laughs and hands the frame up.