Formwork failure is of course a dangerous and disastrous occurrence during construction. It typically happens during the stage when concrete is being poured. Most often, one part of the formwork fails, which results in overloading or misaligning the structure as a whole, resulting in collapse. Understanding the most common causes of formwork failure is essential to prevention.
Common Reasons Why Formwork Fails
- Inadequate inspection – One of the most common causes of formwork failure is simply that it wasn’t thoroughly inspected by a qualified competent person. Never skip inspection, and never rely on an unqualified or inexperienced person to perform formwork inspection. A qualified party will be able to identify many of the other potential hazards on this list.
- Design flaws – When considering the common causes of formwork failure, it’s important to note that most design flaws relate to lateral forces and the formwork’s overall stability. Inadequate shoring to cope with lateral forces like the concrete load and wind can lead to collapse. Improper shoring is itself a major reason for formwork failure. A licensed engineer should always approve formwork design.
- Using older formwork equipment – This can lead to another design flaw. Over time, formwork’s ability to hold a load is reduced. If the formwork can’t handle its original load, but the design calculates based on the original data, the formwork my prove inadequate.
- Defective formwork components – Using poorly maintained or otherwise defective formwork equipment or material can obviously lead to structural failure. Always buy or rent formwork from a reputable supplier. Trekker Distributor is a leader in formwork and shoring equipment, and we proudly stand by the quality and cost-effectiveness of all our formwork products.
- Insufficient connections – Sometimes, in an attempt to assemble formwork more efficiently and to make it easier to dismantle, workers don’t adequately secure the connections between components. Factors like insufficient bolts, nails, splicing, welding, or wedges easily compromises the structural integrity of formwork and can trigger progressive collapses.
- Premature removal – Taking down formwork too soon, before proper concrete curing, often occurs when a crew is rushed to dismantle and reuse formwork due to budgetary or scheduling concerns. But this is not safe, and can prompt both formwork and concrete structural failure.
- Inadequate foundation – Any structure with an insufficient foundation is at great risk, and it’s no different with formwork. Foundations that don’t transfer the load to the ground or that are on unstable ground are a concern, and can reduce the load capacity of the formwork. Problematic foundations are often made using sill plates, concrete pads, and piles, and this can lead to differential settlement and over-stressed shoring.