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Knowledge Centre > Articles > Concrete Construction Formwork: Types and Properties

Concrete Construction Formwork: Types and Properties


11 Jan 2018

Formwork is an essential part of any construction project, and it serves as a mould into which concrete is poured in order to dry and harden within pre-planned parameters. Depending on the type of structural constructionyou’re working with, formwork can be named slab formwork, beam formwork, column formwork, etc.

Depending on the scale of the construction project, building formwork can take time and will account for 20 to 25% of the total cost of the structure, sometimes even more. Luckily, formwork can be reused, after you have stripped it down once the concrete has settled. Let’s take a look at the types and properties of formwork for concrete construction.

What are the markings of a good formwork?

Firstly, a good formwork needs to be strong enough to withstand all types of loads, and it needs to be sturdy enough in order to retain its shape. Formwork should be constructed in such a way that it allows various parts to be removed without the risk of damaging the concrete.

The material you use for formwork needs to be easily available, affordable, and reusable. The material of the formwork must be able to withstand the impact of the outside elements, and not bend or warp. Finally, the formwork must rest on a firm base.


Timber formwork

When using timber for formwork, you need to make sure it’s well-seasoned, lightweight, free of any loose knots, and easily workable with nails without the risk of splitting. Bear in mind that all side that come into contact with concrete should be smooth and even. When it comes to sizing timber formwork, sheeting for slabs, beams, column sides and beam bottoms should normally be 25 mm to 40mm thick. Joints and ledges are 50 x 70 mm to 50 x 150 mm, and posts are 75 x 100mm to 100 x 100 mm.

Steel formwork

Steel formwork is one of the most popular options due to its versatility, durability, reusability, and price. These consist of panels engineered out of stiffened steel plates tightened together with bolts and nuts, or even clamps. Steel forms can be used in large-scale construction projects, or small-scale home renovations.

For instance, the experts behind TDK Formwork usesteel formwork to construct foundations for numerous multiscale projects, from warehouses, to commercial and residential buildings. Steel is also excellent in situations where large quantities of shuttering need to be reused, and it’s most suitable for circular or curved structures.

Plywood formwork

Plywood formwork can prove more affordable than timber formwork in terms of decreased labour costs of fixing and dismantling, number of reuses as opposed to timber, and the cost of surface finishing. To construct panels of specific proportions, resin bonded plywood sheets need to be attached to timber frames. Plywood is versatile and lightweight, although it can suffer from the effect of the outside elements to a certain degree.


Constructing a concrete formwork

In order to construct concrete formwork properly, you will need to adhere to several crucial steps. The first step is propping and centring of the materials, after which you will proceed to create the shuttering. Next, you will have to create a camber and then start cleaning and treating the surface. With all of these boxes ticked, you will have yourself a good formwork.

Construction formwork is one of the first and most important parts of any construction process, regardless of the type of construction project. The concrete needs to be poured into the perfect mould in order to settle properly, and provide a solid foundation for construction. Be sure to use these essential tips for your next construction project.