Basic Working Principles of Formwork in Construction

With concrete being the main choice of building material, formwork has introduced complex geometric designs and formidable-sized construction in urban development. This symbiotic relationship has proven that the architectural landscape can be built structurally sound, sustainably, cost-effectively, and at a faster pace.

As the leading formwork manufacturer, we at Disc-O-Scaff would like to emphasise the importance of quality formwork and the possible failures that could occur if incorrect shuttering is selected to build structural elements, such as beam and column formwork.

Factors that Can Affect the Quality of a Surface Finish, Especially in Formwork Applications

The method of using and handling formwork significantly impacts the finish of concrete. Obvious surface blemishes, such as poor form joints, offsets, and the use of inadequate facing materials, occur when the formwork material selection is unsuitable for the construction of the structural element. Achieving a high-quality concrete finish depends heavily on factors such as the concrete mixture, concreting temperature and practices, as well as careful formwork considerations before and during construction.   

Freshly poured concrete exerts lateral pressure affecting the height of the concrete formwork. The pressure of the formwork increases as the height of the fresh concrete increases and only ceases when further force from above is no longer transmitted. Should the incorrect formwork have been selected, this continuous rising pressure could result in sections of the formwork bulging or deflecting.

Causes of Concrete Formwork Failure

Several factors can contribute to the failure of formwork during and after construction, which need to be highlighted to ensure that these indispensable building structures remain structurally safe supports.  

  • Lack of Inspection

Often, failures occur due to inspection by unqualified or inexperienced inspectors. A competent person or engineer should always be on-site to inspect and certify that completed formwork meets design specifications and that it is structurally sound before it is loaded.

  • Improper Connections and Defective Components

As much as formwork can fail due to design flaws that do not take lateral forces and stability into account, a lack of maintenance will also lead to failure. Shuttering is used multiple times, and often, corrosion sets in and damages occur which, during assembly, are not always considered. If components are insufficiently connected with the proper wedge and clip assemblies, it can lead to progressive collapses and compromise the integrity of the formwork.     

  • Premature Removal of Components

Tight scheduling and budget constraints may lead to the premature removal of the shuttering. Formwork must only be removed once the concrete has adequately cured.

To safeguard against formwork failure, we at Disc-O-Scaff would advise that the correct procedures are followed during the assembly when the concrete is being poured, and once the concrete has cured, the formwork has been deemed safe to remove.

Armed with this knowledge and trusting your formwork solutions with the experts in the industry, we at Disc-O-Scaff will ensure that your choice of circular, economy panel, and column shuttering will provide ample structural support. Contact us for superior-quality steel scaffolding and formwork solutions.