Form Work and False Work: What are the Differences?

Blog | July 10th, 2018

Key design differences exist between building formwork and falsework. For starters, formwork is an umbrella term, in that formwork projects incorporate falsework assets. Strictly speaking, however, they’re separate entities. One task addresses the services used to contain freshly poured concrete. Falsework, the second approach to structural work, targets form holding undertakings. Both defined as temporary constructs, it’s still sometimes hard to distinguish one technique from the other.

What Is Structural Falsework? 

Check out a partially constructed bridge. It’s a good example to kick off this post, after all. That bridge is almost finished, but it’s not yet ready to support itself. Looking below the structure, there are temporary piers, each made of latticed metal, supporting the bridgework. They’re supporting the load-critical span, holding the concrete segments in place until the building materials are fully cured and stable. In a second example, there’s wooden braces and ties anchoring a newly erected wall. Inside the wall, a network of steel wires supports the fortified embankment. Finally, keeping those wires rigid, there are studs and ties penetrating the surface, and it’s their job to hold the framework rigid. Column collars, wall braces and more, falsework constructs are intended to support loads and keep those loads stable until they become self-supporting.

Shaping Concrete Formwork 

Like the moulds that contain liquid jelly, gargantuan casts are erected on-site as concrete containment faces. They’re built to restrain the side-to-side “pressures” and top-down loading effects that would otherwise occur as the building material slumped and collapsed. Back at that bridge, the supporting pillars below the horizontal span aren’t there just yet, but a set of articulated forms are on-site. Wet concrete is seen streaming into the hollow segments. Days later, they’re dismantled. Standing tall and rigid now are the hardened pillars, free of the structural formwork. And that’s just a basic example, one that we’re using to represent an enormous industrial sector. Formwork moulds are expertly laid as bridge arches, structure faces, atrium columns, and much more besides.

In summary, formwork is used to hold poured building materials. They stay until the concrete dries, and then they’re dismantled. They’re also load-supporting, for they’re holding back masses of wet concrete. Formwork is different. There are metal and wooden variants, which subdivide further into articulating metal systems or wooden braces and ties. Installation expertise aligns each element, each mould and bracing beam. That applies to both construction techniques, for those elements need to be perfectly aligned and built to meet exacting dimensional tolerances. Checked, adjusted, checked again for proper erection and alignment, the formwork and falsework structures only receive their wet concrete loads when they’re correctly installed.

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