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Formwork is an ancillary construction, used as a

mould for a structure. Into this mould, fresh

concrete is placed only to harden subsequently.
The construction of formwork takes time and
involves expenditure upto 20 to 25% of the cost of
the structure or even more. Design of these
temporary structures are made to economic
expenditure. The operation of removing the
formwork is known as stripping. Stripped
formwork can be reused. Reusable forms are
known as panel forms and non-usable are called
stationary forms.

Timber is the most common material used for

formwork. The disadvantage with timber formwork
is that it will warp, swell and shrink. Application of
water impermeable cost to the surface of wood
mitigates these defects.

A good formwork should satisfy the following


1.It should be strong enough to withstand all

types of dead and live loads.
2.It should be rigidly constructed and efficiently
propped and braced both horizontally and
vertically, so as to retain its shape.
3.The joints in the formwork should be tight
against leakage of cement grout.
4.Construction of formwork should permit
removal of various parts in desired sequences
without damage to the concrete.
5.The material of the formwork should be cheap,
easily available and should be suitable for
6.The formwork should be set accurately to the
desired line and levels should have plane
7.It should be as light as possible.
8.The material of the formwork should not warp
or get distorted when exposed to the elements.
9.It should rest on firm base.

Economy in Formwork

The following points are to be kept in view to

effect economy in the cost of formwork:
1.The plan of the building should imply minimum
number of variations in the size of rooms, floor
area etc. so as to permit reuse of the formwork
2.Design should be perfect to use slender
sections only in a most economical way.
3.Minimum sawing and cutting of wooden pieces
should be made to enable reuse of the material
a number of times. The quantity of surface
finish depends on the quality of the formwork.

Formwork can be made out of timber, plywood,

steel, precast concrete or fibre glass used
separately or in combination. Steel forms are used
in situation where large numbers of re-use of the
same forms are necessary. For small works,
timber formwork proves useful. Fibre glass made
of pre-cast concrete and aluminium are used in
cast-in-situ construction such as slabs or members
involving curved surfaces.

Timber Formwork:

Timber for formwork should satisfy the following

It should be

1.well seasoned
2.light in weight
3.easily workable with nails without splitting
4.free from loose knots

Timber used for shuttering for exposed concrete

work should have smooth and even surface on all
faces which come in contact with concrete.

Normal sizes of members for timber


Sheeting for slabs, beam, 25 mm to 40mm thick

column side and beam bottom

Joints, ledges 50 x 70 mm to 50 x 150 mm

Posts 75 x 100mm to 100 x 100


Plywood Formwork
Resin bonded plywood sheets are attached to
timber frames to make up panels of required sizes.
The cost of plywood formwork compares
favourably with that of timber shuttering and it
may even prove cheaper in certain cases in view
of the following considerations:

1.It is possible to have smooth finish in which

case on cost in surface finishing is there.
2.By use of large size panels it is possible to
effect saving in the labour cost of fixing and
3.Number of reuses are more as compared with
timber shuttering. For estimation purpose,
number of reuses can be taken as 20 to 25.

Steel Formwork

This consist of panels fabricated out of thin steel

plates stiffened along the edges by small steel
angles. The panel units can be held together
through the use of suitable clamps or bolts and
nuts. The panels can be fabricated in large number
in any desired modular shape or size. Steel forms
are largely used in large projects or in situation
where large number reuses of the shuttering is
possible. This type of shuttering is considered
most suitable for circular or curved structures.

Steel forms compared with timber


1.Steel forms are stronger, durable and have

longer life than timber formwork and their
reuses are more in number.
2.Steel forms can be installed and dismantled
with greater ease and speed.
3.The quality of exposed concrete surface by
using steel forms is good and such surfaces
need no further treatment.
4.Steel formwork does not absorb moisture from
5.Steel formwork does not shrink or warp.

Construction of formwork:

This normally involves the following operations:

1.Propping and centring
3.Provision of camber
4.Cleaning and surface treatment

Order and method of removing


The sequence of orders and method of removal of

formwork are as follows:

1.Shuttering forming the vertical faces of walls,

beams and column sides should be removed
first as they bear no load but only retain the
2.Shuttering forming soffit of slabs should be
removed next.
3.Shuttering forming soffit of beams, girders or
other heavily loaded shuttering should be
removed in the end.

Rapid hardening cement, warm weather and light

loading conditions allow early removal of
formwork. The formwork should under no
circumstances be allowed to be removed until all
the concrete reaches strength of atleast twice the
stresses to which the concrete may be subjected
at the time of removal of formwork. All formworks
should be eased gradually and carefully in order to
prevent the load being suddenly transferred to

Figure 1 to 6 shows formwork for different types of

members in civil engineering construction.

Figure 1(a): Details of timber formwork for RCC

beam and slab floor
Figure 1(b): Details at section (A) shown in above
Figure 2(a): Elevation

Figure 2(b): Details of timber formwork for circular

RCC column
Figure 3(a): 150 3D View

Figure 3(b): Details of timber formwork for square

or rectangular RCC column
Figure 4: Sectional plan showing details of timber
formwork for an octagonal column
Figure 5: Details of formwork for stair
Figure 6: Timber formwork for RCC wall

Table: Period of removal of formwork

S. No. Description of structural member Period of time

1 Walls, columns and vertical sides of beams 1 to 2 days

2 Slabs (props left under) 3 days

3 Beam soffits (props left under) 7 days

4 Removal of props to slabs

(a) For slabs spanning upto 4.5 m 7 days

(b) For slabs spanning over 4.5 m 14 days

5 Removal of props to beams and arches

(a) Spanning upto 6 m 14 days

(b) spanning over 6 m 21 days




1. Ensure lateral bracings provided firmly supports

the forms at all points of support.

2. Block out (stop end) braced to resist vertical

and lateral loads.
3. Form panels are adequately braced and tied
with each other.

4. Formwork corners shall be adequately tied to

prevent leakage or bulging and spreading of

5. Ensure sufficient length is provided for wall ties

and has sufficient strength and spacing as

6. Check wales for proper proper spacing and

joints between should be staggered from one tier
to the next.
7. In double member wales, one member left
continuous across the location of form ties.

8. Wall ties and bolts tightened properly.

9. In case double member wales is used, both

wales should have identical depths.

10. Check for adequate lap between forms and

previously cast concrete.

11. Ensure that grout leakage does not occur at

joints between panels and joints between old
concrete and panels above them.

12. Check the provision of resistance against uplift

in case of sloping faces of concrete formwork.

13. Ensure experienced supervisor is available at

site while installing the wall forms and while
placing concrete.


1. Before concreting commences ensure proper
access for workers involved in placing, compacting
and finishing concrete.

2. Presence of experienced supervisor keeping a

continuous watch for any dangerous situation.

3. Adequate supply of spare props, clamps, bolts,

wedges and skilled workers at site.

4. Alignment, camber, level and plumb

(verticality) maintained while concreting is in

5. Effective depth between top and bottom

reinforcement not disturbed.

6. Cover of concrete around reinforcement steel

maintained as specified.

7. Grout loss due to movement at joints and

corrective action taken against it.

8. Loosening of wedges and fixings due to

vibrations transmitted to the formwork and
corrective action against it.
9. Spilt concrete and/or grout cleaned

10. All wooden spreaders, to hold vertical form

faces apart, removed after placing concrete.

11. Wooden members for creating pockets eased

before concrete sets fully.

12. Concrete pouring sequence as per that shown

on formwork drawing (avoid eccentric loading).

13. Prevention of heaping of concrete and high

impact drops from concrete buckets.

14. Rate of concreting within allowable limits as

shown on working drawing or as assumed while
designing the formwork against lateral pressures.

15. Proper bond between layers of concrete, in

case concrete is placed in layers, by ensuring that
needle vibrator while vibrating the top layer also
penetrates the lower layer.

1. Formwork design and layout such that smooth

striking of formwork in sequential manner is

2. Strength of concrete capable of taking self

weight and construction load on it.

3. Removal time to be ascertained depending on

size, shape and span of the member, grade of
concrete mix and its rate of gain of strength, type
of cement, ambient temperature and weather
conditions and extent of curing executed.

4. At the time of removal of side form, corners and

edges not damaged.

5. Ties, clamps and wedges loosened and removed


6. Removal time in line with those specified in

code of practice (IS 456- 2000).

7. Props in case of beams and slabs removed in

stages from mid-span working outwards.

8. Bolts, nuts, clamps, wedges collected in a box

and not dropped carelessly.

9. Use of crowbars to prise open forms avoided.

10. Formwork prised loose using wooden wedges.

11. Formwork carefully lowered and not dropped

and damaged.
12. Panel faces should be carefully removed and
lowered without them hitting the scaffold

13. Panels placed on leveled surface after


14. Nail projections hammered down.

15. Cordoning off the area below the location

where formwork removal is proposed.

16. Presence of competent crane operator and




1. Formwork as soon as it is removed, cleaned

with a stiff brush.

2. Dust, dirt, stubborn bits of concrete or grout

3. Timber surface and uncoated ply coated with
release agent before storing.

4. Steel form coated lightly with oil to prevent


5. Damaged formwork sorted out and repaired

before storage.

6. Depressions, nail holes repaired with suitable

materials and lightly rubbed down to give smooth

7. Panels and plywood sheets stored on a

horizontally leveled floor.

8. Panels stored face to face to protect the


9. Storage area protected from rain and moisture

and well ventilated.

10. All formwork materials stacked off the ground.

11. Loose wailing, soldiers (struts) etc. stored with
respective panels after numbering for proper
match when reused.

12. Bolts, nuts, champs, pins, wedges, keys and

ties stored in separate bins or boxes.