What is a formwork and why it is used in construction ?

Concrete as mentioned in the previous posts it is the most widely used construction material by the construction industry. It is to be noted that concrete is a material which when poured acquires the shape of the mould. In the point of view of a civil engineers these moulds are called as formwork , which helps the concrete to acquire the exact shape of the structure. At site, mostly a combination of wood and plywood is used as the formwork, because of its own efficiency and ease of availability. In such type of formwork wood provides the support and plywood provides a smooth surface for concrete, so that when the concrete is hardened the surface will be smooth enough.

Concrete is a dense material, so when it is poured to the formwork it also exerts some force on to the formwork. So, it is very much required that the formwork should be capable of bearing that strength.

In the industry there are many different kinds of formwork available. The selection of formwork depends on the requirement, availability and the cost. The formwork’s material should have the following properties :

  • Easily available
  • Strong enough to resist the forces
  • Ease of use
  • Cost efficient
  • Should be serviceable
  • Material of formwork should be reusable
  • Preferably an ecofriendly material
  • High scrap value
  • Joint should be well intacted

A bad choice of Formwork may lead to a DISASTER…….

If the type of shuttering selected is not appropriate for the type of structure, this may lead to a disaster… if the framework fail then the whole concrete which is poured in the formwork will be collapsed and may lead to a loss.

Should keep in Mind

Whenever we start a construction it is very important to select the material of formwork wisely. It should be such that the material can be reusable as the initial cost will be high as special care should be given while construction of formwork. It demands for the skilled labor which will add on the total construction cost. If the material can be reusable, it will reduce the cost for the succeeding projects. Thus the perception on the cost of formwork can be changed from costly to an efficient level.

Different type of Formworks

There are different types available in the marked, based on the requirement and availability the type of formworks are selected. I will list some of the very basic and highly used types:

  1. Timber formworks – should be well seasoned, easily workable, light in weight, doesn’t require skilled labor.
  2. Plywood formworks – Widely used, strong, durable , provides smooth finish for the surface.
  3. Steel formworks – costly at initial level, reusable, high scrap value, improves the quality, cost effective in long run.
  4. Aluminium formworks – reusable, high initial cost ,improves the quality, cost effective in long run.

These are some of the type of formworks which is widely used in the construction industry. Even a combination of more than one type of can be used.

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