A Comparison of Residential and Commercial Formwork in Construction

The role of formwork in construction is to serve as a temporary mould to shape concrete. However, its use in commercial and domestic projects differs significantly. Formwork has been used since Roman times. Structures like the Pont du Gard in France and the Library of Celsus in Turkey are proof of its efficiency. 

The following paragraphs explain the differences in the use of formwork in residential and commercial construction and the unique challenges and solutions of each.

The Challenges of Residential Construction

Although residential projects are typically smaller and less complex than commercial ones, they still present challenges, such as:

  • Cost Constraints: Budgets for small projects are usually tight, calling for cost-effective formwork solutions that won’t compromise quality or safety.
  • Customisation: Curved walls, intricate cornices, and other complex design elements are frequent features of residential buildings, creating a need for equally complex formwork in construction projects.

The Solutions: Formwork has evolved since Roman builders used fabric and reeds. Residential builders now have the following options to overcome their routine challenges:

  • Modular Formwork: The availability of modular formwork that can be easily assembled into multiple shapes has dramatically reduced operating costs for the small builder by increasing speed and efficiency.
  • Prefabricated Panels: Circular and rectangular shuttering composed of prefabricated bespoke panels are ideal for the ornate columns often required in residential buildings.

The Challenges of Commercial Construction

The markedly larger dimensions of commercial buildings pose the following challenges when using formwork in construction projects:

  • Scale and Load: Structures like office blocks and shopping malls must support much higher loads than the average home. Consequently, all formwork must be sufficiently robust to cope with the added pressure without compromising structural integrity.
  • Speed and Efficiency: Time is frequently a crucial factor for companies engaged in commercial construction. They often face stiff financial penalties for failing to meet agreed milestones and completion dates, so their formwork must enable rapid construction.
  • Height and Complexity: Commercial buildings frequently combine complex designs with high-rise architecture. Hence, the formwork used must cater to these requirements safely and efficiently.

The Solutions: The designers and manufacturers of modern formwork have developed the following options to circumvent the above challenges:

  • Advanced Systems: New developments in the industry include tunnel, jump, and climbing formwork to handle high-rise commercial construction projects safely and efficiently and help companies avoid costly delays.
  • Automation: Automated and self-climbing formwork cuts labour costs and significantly reduces construction times.

Sourcing Quality Formwork

If you use formwork in construction, you need quality, safety, efficiency, and versatility. These are the hallmarks of all steel scaffolding and shuttering products at Disc-O-Scaff. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more.