When you see a finished construction problem, you are looking at the final product of hours and hours of labor, much of which is invisible to the eye. In some cases, equipment is used during the process that, when work is done properly, the average person will never know contributed to the building process. This is the case with concrete work that stands on its own when finished, but was bolstered by formwork and shoring during the construction process. The use of high-quality products like Symons forms makes a huge impact on the safety of a final product. But where does this equipment come from? This article will discuss how formwork and shoring help with construction and who comes up with the designs behind the scenes.
What Are Formwork and Shoring?
Formwork is a mold, either temporary or permanent, that is used to shape and assemble concrete during the building process. This formwork then holds the poured concrete in the desired shape until it is hardened enough to support itself and exhibit the strength of concrete. Formwork can vary based on the type of material used, the concrete element supported, and whether it is removable or permanent.
A good formwork must be capable of withstanding both dead and live loads while retaining its shape using adequate props and braces. All joints must be leak-proof and if the formwork will be removed, the process cannot damage the set concrete. Formwork is generally made of a lightweight and reusable material that will not warp or distort. Symons Steel-Ply is one of the world’s preferred forming systems, with great versatility and a pre-engineered system created for high productivity.
Shoring is a form of prop or support that is usually temporary, used during repair or construction in order to hold a structure in place or upright. Shoring materials generally support construction loads and formwork systems in order to prevent destruction, collapse, or other problems during a project.
The two can be used together, though sometimes only formwork or only shoring is necessary for a project.
Who Designs Formwork and Shoring?
Formwork is usually designed by the contractor or a formwork engineer hired by the contractor. Because formwork acts as a mold, it will often need to be created specifically for a project or configured out of existing molds to fit the exact needs of the structure being built.
However, many people rely on pre-fabricated formwork such as Symons Steel-Ply. Because these are designed to be reusable, Symons forms are made for high productivity and to withstand use at multiple job sites. By combining different filter sizes and panels, Symons forms can be used to make any shape, aligned horizontally or vertically. With over 8- filler sizes and standard panels, there are endless configurations possible.
Formwork engineering firms also exist for those who need or prefer more custom formwork or something to act as a permanent part of a structure.
Shoring systems are most often left to contractors to design, though there are engineering firms that can assist with this. Because they are temporary, some people may choose to reuse shoring in multiple projects as long as it meets the safety requirements for each job and load.
Considerations When Designing Formwork and Shoring
Because of their critical nature, it is important that whoever designs formwork and shoring is up to all safety standards and is skilled at their craft. Failures can be caused by everything from poor design work to external factors like weather or electrical contact. Your best chance at preventing these issues is to use professionally designed products, whether you choose something like Symons forms or decide to contract an engineer for a custom project.
It is critical to use clear instructions with all formwork and shoring and to meet all engineer or manufacturer specifications over the course of a project. Having a plan for removal and inspection is also a key factor in the success of these projects.
One thing you can look at to ensure quality in your shoring and formwork is the safety factor. This ratio denotes how strong equipment is compared to the designated necessary strength. For example, formwork with a 2:1 safety factor is twice as strong as needed. This can be good to look at when deciding what formwork to use and what designers to trust with your project.