What is Formwork in Construction?

What is formwork, and why is it so important in construction? Here's why formwork in construction is an essential step!
July 21, 2022

What is Formwork?

Formwork is an essential aspect in the construction industry that creates a temporary mould to pour and process concrete in. The term is used interchangeably with shuttering, which is the process of creating a temporary or permanent form for concrete moulding from plywood.

Formwork works by securing construction materials like plywood, plastic, and steel, into a large mould where concrete would be allowed to set and dry. The mould is removed once the concrete has cured. Formwork construction is especially useful in crafting circular or curved structures in concrete forms.

There are several types of formwork, and materials used to create the mould may differ depending on the flexibility, and shape of the concrete structures. Permanent formwork also act as supporting structures during construction, and are no longer removed after the concrete has cured.

Types of Formwork in Construction

Beam Formwork

Beam formwork in construction refers to formwork used to shape load-bearing beams. These moulds offer structural support to create beams, and may take on a cylindrical or square shape. The formwork moulds used to create beams are most often temporary formwork, and will be removed after the concrete has cured.

Beam formwork may be made from different formwork materials, such as plastic, plywood, and steel. However, it is common to use timber formwork as the material is lightweight, economical, and easy to produce or remove from the structure.

Steel Formwork

Steel formwork is a heavy-duty, high-strength material that can be reused in different construction projects. While more expensive than materials such as plastic and plywood, steel formwork is durable, so it has multiple reuses in different projects that call for formwork. Steel formwork, however, is heavy.

Additionally, stainless steel is waterproof, and creates a smooth finish on the concrete structures once cured. Steel formwork is easy to install and dismantle, and can be used in curved designs. Aluminium is a lighter material that may be used in place of steel, but would have a lower strength index.

Plastic Formwork

Plastic formwork is reusable, lightweight, and is often used in small projects. This type of formwork consists of using prefabricated, interlocking panels that can be washed and reused in different sections of the project, increasing project effectiveness as plastic formwork makes it easy to create a repetitive pattern.

Plastic formwork is inexpensive, but may limit the design of the structure. Thus, plastic formwork is best used in small projects with multiple repeating designs. These are often used in low-cost housing as the structures repeat in pattern.

Plywood Formwork and Timber Formwork

Plywood and timber formwork are commonly used in the construction industry as they are accessible, lightweight, and inexpensive. They are also versatile, and come in various sizes that fits into virtually any construction project. Both plywood and timber formwork are lightweight, and may be the economical choice when sourced locally.

Plywood formwork is often used in sheathing, and as decking, while timber formwork is used to form linings. However, as wood is an organic material, the lifespan of plywood and timber formwork is limited, and the material may be susceptible to termite infestations.

Fabric Formwork

Fabric may be used in formwork for its flexibility, and is also called flexible formwork. Fabrics used in fabric formwork are high-strength, so they won't rip or tear while supporting concrete construction. This type of formwork is typically used to shape concrete into abstract or irregular shapes, and may save up on costs as it uses less concrete.

Fabris is also lightweight, so it won't weigh down the concrete structure. Fabric is a suitable formwork for intricate architectural designs, as well as unconventional or complex structural designs. It is currently a novel advancement in the construction industry, but has already shown promising features as a building material.

Permanent Formwork

Permanent and permanent insulated formwork is meant to stay even after the concrete has cured, hence, permanent. These structures offer additional support to piers and columns, and are often made of plastic material to protect against corrosion and damage.

Permanent insulated formwork is used for insulating concrete forms in areas with extreme weather patterns. These act as reinforcement for added structural integrity, as well as insulation to protect against environmental damages.

Creating Concrete Formwork

Concrete formwork is an important step in starting off any construction project, yet not many contractors inform their clients about the step-by-step process in building their projects. Here at Colebuild, we work with our clients to ensure everyone stays on the same page.

We provide the best solutions in creating your project, and give alternatives that would work with your budgetary demands, as well as your space requirements. Choose Colebuild, and make constructing your project a breeze!

Send us an email today to get an accurate quotation of your renovation or construction project!

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