Modern construction has come a very long way since its inception during the Industrial Era. New forms and methods gave rise to faster and more advanced forms of construction. Today, the formwork and shuttering equipment that had already been around for a long time are being mass-manufactured, which has led to large scale construction activities happening at rapid speeds.
Formwork is essentially a temporary mould that is used to pour and cast concrete. They are usually made of steel, wooden boards or plastic and other durable materials which can stay in place and not budge during the casting process. Formwork is used to attain the desired shape and volume of a horizontal element like the beam or slab. It keeps the concrete in place and assures a predetermined strength and shaped formwork is held upright with the use of poles to support the slabs and beams where the poles are pushed under them to maintain the element’s position and keep it upright. This is known as ‘formwork staging’
Shuttering is temporary formwork for vertical elements and is used to keep them upright and sturdy. Shuttering means using steel moulds to cast these vertical elements that hold the concrete up and provide a specific shape. It is used for columns, walls and other vertical members. In the process of shuttering, the vertical formwork is held up with the use of poles or metal/ wooden rods that are pushed up against the formwork of vertical elements like walls or columns. These rods and poles are placed diagonally to provide proper resistance against the load of the structure that it is holding and support the outer formwork.
This process is known as ‘shuttering staging’. To know more about this, www.formworkcontractorsbrisbane.com.
In both cases, it is important to use waterproof materials that are durable and have the capability of taking the stresses and loads without deflecting or deforming.
- Steel Formwork/ Shuttering: Even though steel can be expensive, it produces excellent casting results. Being extremely durable, its strength is much higher than other materials. Steel is also very versatile as it can be reused 10 times more than timber formwork and provides a perfect outer finish to the casted element. It also prevents water absorption and is easy to handle.
- Timber Formwork/ Shuttering: Economical and sustainable, this formwork is usually used for much smaller projects like residences. It can be reused 10 times and is light in weight, making its workability extremely good.
The only drawback of using timber formwork is that it is capable of absorbing water and forming knots. Using chemically treated timber would negate this issue.
- Plywood Formwork: Using plywood which is nothing but the engineered wood is a very popular and probably the most common form of formwork that is being used. Plywood is light, inexpensive and possesses the strength of steel and the sustainability of wood. Being extremely versatile, plywood can be reused up to 25 times and they produce great overall results.
Since it is wood that has been treated, it is less likely to absorb water as compared to traditional timber and also does not have knot formation capabilities. It is also easy to install and dismantle.
Formwork enables the construction of multi-storied commercial buildings like malls and complexes, residential buildings and infrastructure like multi-storey car parks and factories. Over time, framework and shuttering have become an integral part of any type of construction and have made the construction process easy to implement with great reliability and quality.