Concrete Formwork: Engineered Vs. Conventional

A formwork can be a permanent or temporary mold used to hold wet concrete until it sets. It is also a crucial element in every concrete construction. It is very important to choose the right formwork as it can greatly affect the labor requirements, schedule, cost, and quality of the project.

Through the years, formwork molds have greatly evolved from traditional timber to pre-engineered systems that are composed of timber, aluminum, steel, plastic, and plywood. All these advancements have contributed to an increased jobsite safety and production with minimal labor, while being able to produce a better-finished product.

If you are a construction contractor, you should know how important good equipment is to ensure efficiency and safety. The right use of concrete formwork could reduce the headaches on the job that prevents a smooth workflow. It is a must that you consider all the differences between an engineered and conventional formwork. It is true when considering the fact that a formwork is 20-25% of the cost of structure when built with concrete. Below are some characteristics you can take into account when considering concrete forms.


Conventional and Engineered Concrete Forms

A conventional formwork is basically made of wood while the engineered one is made of different materials like metal, steel, or plastic. A conventional one is initially cheaper although it requires more man hours in labor.

On the other hand, an engineered concrete formwork is a bigger investment, but you are likely to save more time in setup and tear down as it is designed for efficiency. The conventional one is best for small jobs and engineered formwork is for larger jobs.


Conventional Formwork

This one can be very time-consuming to be used for large structures. It also has the tendency to swell, warp, and shrink. All these things can be big problems on a job where keeping things plumb and square is important.

This type of formwork often lasts around 5-10 uses if treated properly. Also, the fact that it’s flexible allows it to be used and combined with engineered formwork for various sections that needs custom formwork.


Engineered Formwork

This one gets the material advantage. Aluminum and steel does not warp compared to conventional form wood material. This guarantees that the concrete will stay right where it needs to be during pouring and through hardening.

Engineered formwork does not only offer help in speeding up the construction, but it can also reduce workers claims and it has health and safety features. It is also worth noting that this formwork is high durable and can even be reused for up to 2, 000 cycles as long a proper maintenance is done.


Which one to Choose?

Unless the project that you have is small and needs a lot of custom formwork, an engineered formwork is the best option to take. Although it may cost more, you can still save a lot on the amount of man hours and the number of jobs that you can do.