A traditional company in transition: How a scaffolding company is investing in the future with PERI

The decision of a scaffolder to change his long-standing partner and purchase his scaffolding from another company in future opens new opportunities for growth and innovation. This is exactly what Stefan Dietrich did. He’s the Head of Scaffolding at Zwicker Gerüste AG in Switzerland and has been relying on the PERI scaffolding system with great satisfaction since 2021. In our interview, he tells us why he decided to make the switch and why he is now considered a pioneer in Switzerland.

Stefan, why did you decide to research a new scaffolding system? 

I regularly look at how the scaffolding world is changing, and which trends and new systems are conquering the market – especially in Germany. Because everything that’s developed there will sooner or later reach us in Switzerland. One example: In Germany, the Technical Rules for Workplace Safety 2021 was updated in 2019, which emphasises the installation of guardrails in advance. A year later, a new construction work regulation was also introduced in our country which states, among other things, that only scaffolding with guardrail in advance assembly should be erected. Thanks to a few exceptions, this is not yet mandatory. Nevertheless, we wanted to be progressive and develop further. 

How did you come across PERI? 

I knew something had to change for us, but I didn't know exactly what. So, we travelled to bauma in 2019 to find out more and there we got to know PERI. The company was represented in a hall and exhibited scaffolding alongside its formwork. When I saw the scaffolding system, my first thought was that it wouldn't work with the requirements we have in Switzerland. But I still wanted to find out more. A few weeks later, I had my first conversation with Elisabeth Pappelau, Sales Engineer at PERI Switzerland and our close contact since then. She introduced me to the PERI UP Scaffolding Kit with all its functions and advantages. Our discussion formed the basis for the concept that Elisabeth had worked out. It was tailored exactly to our company and showed where we could really be more efficient. For example, we can use the scaffolding ledgers in various applications such as façade scaffolding or modular façade scaffolding. I also made contacts with scaffolders who already work with PERI. However, this research only confirmed our decision to switch to PERI. 

What are the main advantages that ultimately convinced you? 

There are many factors that made the decision easy for us and show why a PERI system is a good investment. One of them is the availability of materials. Do I get new material straight away or are there long waiting times? Scaffolding is a fast-paced business and PERI has recognised this. As a result, the material was always available immediately. Another aspect is the storage capacity. Despite the same square metres, PERI scaffolding requires less space to store all the material. In addition, compared to our old manufacturer, we save 30% in weight and therefore in costs, as PERI's components are more compact and lighter and require fewer truck loads. For example, the weight of a 10-metre-high access tower with platform stairs is reduced by almost half. Yet the system is still stable, safe and easy to use. This not only pleases me, but also our employees, who now much prefer to work with the new scaffolding kit. 

What do you like about working with us? 

What I appreciate most is the accessibility and close relationship, as we have a personal contact person with Elisabeth. We've been working together for several years now and I'm still in good hands as I was on day one. When I see challenges, Elisabeth presents solutions. If I need support with planning or structural calculations, someone is always there for us. And the great thing is that we get everything from a single source. It's not just Elisabeth that we can count on, you can feel the whole company behind it. That's really strong. 

How much scaffolding material do you have from us and what do you use it for? 

We now have around 70,000 square metres of PERI UP scaffolding material and approximately 400 linear metres of the PROKIT EP 110 safety system. Elisabeth was on hand to advise us during the ordering process. As we need scaffolding for detached houses, tower blocks, roofers and painters, she uses this information to draw up material lists for us, which we only have to order. From time to time, we also buy individual parts if we realise that they are in high demand. But here, too, we can always rely on PERI's support. 

Are you planning to buy more scaffolding material? 

Our goal is to increase to 80,000 square metres, but that always depends on how the construction industry changes. You can currently see in Germany that the new-build sector is collapsing by 40 %. Fortunately, this is not yet the case here. But if it does happen in Switzerland at some point, I won't need as many square metres as before. That's why we're currently observing how the trend from Germany is developing here in our country. 

How is the integration of our system going? 

We are still using a small part of the old system. By the end of 2025, however, we want to have completely replaced them with PERI UP. The integration is going smoothly due to the flexibility of the scaffolding kit itself and to the fact that we travel to the PERI headquarters in Weissenhorn for two days every year to train our staff. They can then apply their new knowledge directly on the construction site and are always well prepared. It's great that PERI offers us this opportunity. 

When you think about the future with PERI: What are you most looking forward to? 

Definitely the new app! We were involved in the proof of concept and were able to test it in advance. I can't reveal too much yet, but it's an all-in-one solution. This means that you can find all information such as photos, acceptance protocols or time recording in one app. This makes project management and digital planning much easier. 

Was there a special moment when you felt particularly proud as a PERI client? 

I actually had a great experience at an entrepreneurs' day. There I met a potential PERI customer who said he was faster with another scaffolding manufacturer. I then showed him how we work with PERI and the advantages that result from this. A year later – again at the Entrepreneur Day – I found out that he had decided in favour of PERI after all. It's great to network with one another and find out where others are going. 

Would you do anything differently today? 

No, we are very satisfied. Today, I also know that we did everything right with PERI. Thanks to our decision to switch, we are among the pioneers in Switzerland, as we are currently the only scaffolding company in the country to have such extensive material equipment with guardrail in advance assembly. It shows: We take regulations seriously and are positioning ourselves for the future. We have been working together since 2019 and have been using PERI's scaffolding kit since 2021, and I can still say: Yes, we are on the right track with PERI as our partner. And I'm sure this will continue for a long time.  

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