Doka: Top 8 formwork tips for concrete contractors 

Burgos, July 11, 2022.-

Tip #1 for Formwork Success – Evaluating total project needs

Consultation and professional support from the beginning will help you to choose the best suited formwork system for your job. You will then be able to use the formwork efficiently and to its full capacity.

Eliminate unplanned costs and delays by asking questions from the start and work together with your formwork partner through every step of the project.

The first step in choosing the correct formwork for a project consists of a review of the project and the design and site challenges. Does the design call for use of multiple types of formwork? Does the site call for work in close quarters, where there is no room for the formwork staging?.

Do a self-evaluation of the conditions you know will be present at the site and then contact formwork suppliers at the very early design stage of the project. Concrete contractors should be involved early to provide advice on the most economical construction methods, as they will be physically building the structure.

Concrete contractors should perform a detailed analysis to help select the best system for the construction project. Because conditions vary for each individual project, there is no simple formula for choosing the right formwork supplier or system. Common to all construction projects, however, is the underlying process of assessing the situation, evaluating several forming systems, receiving bids, project planning, constructing the structure, and finally, project close out.

Tip #2 for Formwork Success – Development of cost-effective solutions

To help determine the most efficient solution for a project, a contractor should evaluate several forming systems.Rely on professional advice when selecting formwork to ensure that a cost-effective system is selected. Each concrete structure is unique, so there is not a one-system-fits-all solution. Formwork must be considered in the overall construction plan decision-making process.

Crane availability, access in and out of the site, experience of available labor force must all be considerations. It is best practice to get the formwork supplier involved in early discussions regarding the entire construction process. With this information a comprehensive evaluation should be developed assessing the total costs.

In general, a contractor has two choices: an inexpensive forming material that is labor-intensive or a forming system that while costing more, provides high productivity, built-in safety features and is more labor efficient.

Tip #3 for Formwork Success – Value engineering of project design

A good formwork company will provide professional engineering services that recommend design changes to provide for a more economical total project cost.

Formwork specialists can draw up assembly and erection plans to suit your specific requirements and preferences. This optimizes the use of the formwork systems provided and helps ensure success on site.

A good formwork company will provide professional engineering services that recommend design changes to provide for a more economical total project cost.

Value engineering is about helping the contractor make the right decisions about every aspect of formwork. Costs are kept under control and risks can be assessed well in advance. Selecting the right formwork system factors into cost-efficiency for the entire project.

Tip #4 for Formwork Success – Estimating total costs and schedule.

Having your formwork supplier join your project team at an early stage facilitates both, a more precise cost estimate and schedule.

Contact formwork suppliers at the very early design stage of the project. This will allow as much information as possible to be included in the bid documents for a more accurate cost estimate. The formwork supplier can then supply a bid that covers everything known about what the project needs and a corresponding schedule. In addition to the actual rental and/or purchase costs, the estimator must also consider unspoken expenses such as consumable items, plywood not being quoted, professional field service support, tools, freight, and labor requirements that may impact the schedule.

Tip #5 for Formwork Success – To Buy or Not to Buy

The decision whether to buy or rent forming material should be based on the duration of the project, how it is being used, and the overall strategy of a construction company.

Typically, if a form system has to be rented for more than 8 to 10 months, purchasing the system might be more economical. However, along with the purchase of a system, there are additional costs such as maintenance and storage. Some formwork companies offer reconditioning services for customers who purchase their equipment. These services include professional reconditioning stations where every piece of used material is cleaned, repaired and replied if necessary.

The quality of the product also must be considered in the decision-making process. Steel-framed wall formwork with standard plywood facing will require more maintenance and repair throughout the life of the form than hot-dipped galvanized steel frames with specially manufactured plywood designed for longer life.

For example, Doka’s Framax Xlife wall forms are plastic-coated plywood hot-caulked within a hot-dipped galvanized steel frame that greatly reduce maintenance and rework costs as the frame will never rust or need re-painting. When cared for properly, this type of form is reusable more than 300 times.

Tip #6 for Formwork Success – Considering Engineering Design Approvals

Some project designs and specifications for formwork may come along with the required submittal to third party authorities who approve that local engineering standards are met. Related review periods should therefore be taken into account to stay on schedule.

Project designs and specifications for formwork often dictate specific engineering requirements. These may include specific submittal requirements such as design and stamping of drawings with calculations by a Professional Engineer registered in the state or province that the project is being built. Varying by type of project such submittals can require up to a 60 day review period whereby the approving authority has this duration to review and approve.

In order to meet the timelines set out in the contract documents, a schedule with milestones should be laid out in advance with the formwork supplier to ensure enough time to allow for potential revisions and not cause any delay to the start of the forming process.

Tip #7 for Formwork Success – Development of a Jobsite Plan

To effectively develop a jobsite plan involves communication between all parties, including the concrete contractor and the formwork supplier. The output results in great optimization of a project’s construction process.

When developing a jobsite plan, all elements of the job and the formwork should be considered. Which elements are to be constructed first? Is the formwork being reused in areas? If so, what is the order of use? Can the formwork supplier pre-assemble the formwork prior to delivery? As the contractor and formwork supplier determine the order of the events to occur on the jobsite, the details, such as material delivery and formwork assembly, can be coordinated as well. It is important that both parties execute this in an efficient manner. Ensure that trucks loaded for delivery are staged in a manner so that when the first truck arrives you can immediately begin assembly. This means that in addition to the formwork panels it must also contain the necessary connecting hardware to begin erection. When properly organized it will be setup so that as soon as material is unloaded from the delivery truck it can immediately be put in use.

Tip #8 for Formwork Success – Management of equipment delivery and returns

Having material ready on site just in time boosts your jobsite performance.

The formwork delivery must be timed so the formwork is available on site when needed. If the site has a limited assembly and storage area, the delivery and removal must be meticulously scheduled. Formwork suppliers, such as Doka, supply field personnel on site during construction so they are always immediately aware of any changes in the schedule.

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