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What is Formwork?

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It is a familiar question that we hear time and again… what is formwork? And, how is it different to falsework? This blog will help you learn more about what formwork is used for, the different types of formwork products available, and why hiring is a great, cost-effective option which ensures excellent quality.

Concrete Formwork Panels Achieves Smooth Finish

Read on to discover:

  • What is formwork?
  • How is formwork different to falsework?
  • What different formwork systems are available?
  • What materials are used in formwork systems?
  • How hiring formwork products can help you achieve a high-quality finish.
  • How to hire formwork products from Leada Acrow and what you need to consider.
Concrete Pour into Formwork

What is formwork?

Formwork is an essential part of the process when building with concrete. It is a temporary structure, designed to contain freshly poured concrete and mould it into the required shape until it has cured sufficiently to become self-supporting.

Formwork is made up of different types of materials, including timber, steel and aluminium elements or pre-formed panels which create the shape of the finished structure. The formwork must be strong enough to support the imposed loads of the fluid concrete and the design needs to account for any additional imposed loads from the equipment or machinery placed on it during construction.

Generally, the formwork for vertical concreting is called wall formwork or wall forms, and the formwork for horizontal concreting is called slab formwork or floor forms. The formwork (sometimes also called ‘shuttering’) must be sufficiently propped and braced, both horizontally and vertically, so it retains its shape until cured. The formwork is generally removed once the concrete has gained sufficient strength, although in some cases it can be left in place as a finished feature of the structure and this is referred to as permanent formwork.

How is formwork different to falsework?

Whilst formwork maintains concrete in a particular shape during its curing period, falsework is used to temporarily prop and support an existing structure while it is under construction. Falsework can also be used to support formwork during the period that the structure it is not self-supporting.

What different formwork systems are available?

Formwork can be made up from simple timber/steel elements, or, in the case of system formwork, it comes in modular units or panels that can be pieced together to form various configurations which suit the concrete to be formed. Applications for these systems include:

  • Wall Formwork: Wall Formwork covers most elements of vertical formwork. Although traditional timber/steel can be used, it is common practice to use modular system panels to form the larger vertical elements of the structures associated with major commercial building projects, power plants, water or sewerage treatment plants or infrastructure projects.
  • Climbing Formwork: Climbing formwork is a special type of formwork for vertical concrete production that rises with or ahead of the building under construction. Climbing Formwork is an effective solution for tall buildings with numerous repetitive levels of construction, such as hi-rise towers or large bridge piers. It can be manually moved by crane or is self-climbing, using integrated hydraulics.
  • Column Formwork: Column formwork systems come in various modular sizes to form the column shapes found on civil engineering and concrete building projects for residential towers, office blocks and other commercial developments. They can be of fixed or variable dimensions depending on the range of sizes required on the project.
  • Single Sided Formwork: Single sided formwork often comes with asupport truss backing to enable construction to take place without tying into an existing structure. It is mainly used for basements and underground carparks in urban areas, or in major civil engineering excavations. Singled sided formwork can be used to achieve pours on walls of heights of up to 12m.
  • Curved Formwork: Curved or radius formwork can be used to create any curved or circular structure. The main applications are for water or sewerage treatment plants, but curved formwork is also used in building construction to achieve complex architectural designs and finishes.
Meva Concrete Formwork Panel

What materials are used in formwork systems?

Formwork is made from different materials, including timber, aluminium, steel and plastic. For smaller applications, wooden shuttering may be used, but wood has the tendency to absorb water and can therefore warp, with the potential to affect the overall finish of the concrete.

A metal formwork system that contains a steel, good quality plastic or plywood face, will provide the highest quality concrete finish. Steel and aluminium forms are stronger, more durable and have longer life than timber formwork meaning they can be reused multiple times. Metal does not warp with moisture and the steel or plastic face material provides a good quality final finish on the concrete surface.

How hiring formwork products can help you achieve a high-quality finish.

Leada Acrow hold the latest formwork products on the market to ensure our customers achieve high quality results. Our products are at the cutting edge of technology and designed to make the construction processes more efficient, with simple erection, shorter assembly times, and enhanced safety.

We regularly invest in new equipment and our asset management system ensures that following a hire, each individual piece of formwork equipment is checked, cleaned and repaired as necessary before it is allowed back into the hire fleet. This means that when our equipment is delivered to you, it is in perfect working order. Our experienced team understand all areas of formwork design and will be able to advise on the most suitable solution and products for your project.

Hiring equipment reduces the upfront costs and investment associated with the purchase of formwork and falsework for any project and provides flexibility, both economically and in equipment choice. Leada Acrow hold the wide range of formwork products necessary to meet the varying needs of building contractors.

How to hire formwork products from Leada Acrow and what you need to consider.

To discuss your formwork requirements, you can either visit one of the9 specialist service centres located across the UK or make contact with our Sales Engineers to arrange a site visit to discuss your project requirements.

Our Sales and Design Engineerswill meet with your team to understand the project and to obtain:

  • The design or construction brief
  • Technical drawings
  • Start dates and programme information
  • Specifications

We will then develop a bespoke design, taking into consideration formwork, falsework and groundwork requirements to develop an integrated solution. The final design will be produced using 2D or 3D CAD software to provide detailed drawings.

We will continue to work with you through the lifespan of the project to provide additional formwork products as necessary, quickly developing solutions and materials to ensure your project remains on track. Once a final solution is agreed by both parties and approved by yourselves, we will produce a quotation outlining the weekly hire value of the equipment to be supplied and delivered to site.

To hire from Leada Acrow, you will need to set up an A-Plant account. This is a simple process that can be completed in one of our 9 service centre locations. You will need to provide photographic ID, references and confirmation of insurances, after which your credit account can be approved and activated within 24 to 48 hours! Once your account is set up, you can also access the thousands of other products available to hire from across the specialist A-Plant divisions.

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