Formwork is the name given to temporary or permanent molds into which concrete materials are being poured. There are various types of formwork which range from the engineered formwork system made out of materials comprising of prefabricated modules, a metal frame, and a covering on the application side with either steel or aluminum and then the timber formwork which is built out of timber and plywood. The various types of formwork are being categorized based on the building requirements, its needs and challenges.
Formwork has evolved over the years from simple work comprising of concrete and building materials to more complex and sophisticated building patterns. In Australia, UK and the USA, formwork has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and they are being considered world leaders in formwork construction and building. Over the years, the aforementioned countries have developed their knowledge on formwork which is as a result of their ever improving guidelines about the art and science of formwork.
Formwork spacing has to do with how the supporting structures of the said formwork is used to shape and support the concrete until it attains sufficient strength to carry its own weight and at the same time providing the desired design.
Below are some of the formwork spacing guidelines in Australia, UK, and the USA.
In order to successfully carry out its function, formwork must strike a balance between the following elements:
Ability to Contain
Strength to accommodate
Resistance to Leakage
Ease of Handling
Proper Access for Concrete
TIP1: ABILITY TO CONTAIN
The Formwork must have the ability and capability of shaping and supporting the fluid concrete until it cures. This is to ensure a strong foundation.
TIP2: STRENGHT TO ACCOMODATE
Formwork must be capable of safely withstanding without distortion or hazard the dead weight of the fluid concrete which is being placed on it, labour weight, equipment weight and any environmental loadings. Hence one has to be aware of the strength a given formwork has.
TIP3: RESISTANCE TO LEAKAGE
All joints inform work must be either close fitting of covered with form tape to make them grout tight. If grout leakage occurs the concrete will leak at that point of joining. Leakages cause honeycombing of the surface which makes the work look dirty by the way.
Formwork must be accurately set out so that the resulting concrete product is correctly placed and is of correct shape and dimensions. Proper attention should be given while pouring concrete into a formwork, accuracy is imperative in this work.
TIP5: EASE OF HANDLING
Form panels and units should be designed so that their maximum size does not exceed that which can be easily handled by hand or mechanical means. In addition, all formwork must also be designed and constructed to accommodate facilities for adjustments which include levelling, easing and striking without damage to the formwork or concrete. Hence, one should look out for formwork that can be controlled with ease.
TIP6: RECYCLING POTENTIAL
The form face material selected must be found capable of conveniently imparting the desired concrete finish (smooth, textured, featured or exposed aggregate etc.) And at the same time, it should also achieve the required number of reuse. This would ensure a charming smoothness of the work done.
TIP7: ACCESS FOR CONCRETE
Any formwork arrangement must provide access and proper spacing for placing of the concrete. The extent of this provision will be dependent on the ease of carrying out the concrete operations.
The above tips and guidelines are being implored in Australia, UK ,USA and other countries that are passionate about building and construction in doing formwork spacing and this has made them world leaders in the formwork business of the 21st century.