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Climbing formwork is a special type of formwork that rises along with the progress of vertical concrete construction. It can move on its own by using an electric or hydraulic jack. Such formworks are also called self-climbing formworks.

It is an effective solution for structures requiring seamless wall units or for high-rise structures with repetitive forms.

Self-climbing formwork
Figure-1: Self-climbing formwork

A climbing formwork is employed for a project based on the type of building units constructed. It remains in place during the concrete pouring process. A fully self-climbing formwork system is generally used for constructing structures with more than 20-floor levels.

This article explains some of the important features and benefits of climbing formwork in construction.

Components and Assembling of Climbing Formwork

The main components of climbing formwork are:

  1. Suspension platforms
  2. Wall formwork material and pieces
  3. Anchor system
  4. Climbing brackets
Components of Climbing Formwork
Figure-2: Components of Climbing Formwork

The general components of a climbing formwork are shown in Figure-2. However, the arrangement can get more sophisticated for large and complex projects.

Climbing formwork is normally made out of steel members. The concrete form panels are attached to these steel frames and some of the form panels are supported with the help of rollers. Once the concrete is poured onto the formwork, the frame is released and moved away from the wall.

Now, if a self-climbing formwork is used, the frame is lifted by the jacks to the next level or the next area intended to be poured. Once the formwork is in position, the formwork panels are closed, and the concrete is poured. This cycle continues for three to five days. If a really specialized and trained crew is employed, the work can be finished within a shorter time.

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Self-Climbing Formwork-Concrete Construction Sequence
Figure-3: Self-Climbing Formwork-Concrete Construction Sequence
Image Courtesy: ULMA

A climbing formwork is best applied for the construction of airport control towers, elevator shafts, silos, and skyscrapers.

Benefits of Self-Climbing Formworks

The important benefits of self-climbing formwork are:

  1. Self-climbing formwork facilitates the construction of vertical and horizontal parts of the building concurrently. This helps to increase the construction speed.
  2. Climbing formwork minimizes labor time and increases the productivity rate as these systems are designed for repetitive actions.
  3. This system demands less labor to set up the formwork.
  4. Compared to the traditional formwork system, self-climbing formwork ensures a higher safety of labor during the setting and removal process.
  5. The climbing formwork system does not require any additional supports.
  6. Climbing formwork can be used for any weather condition.
  7. The concrete after curing attains a high-quality surface finish.
  8. The climbing formwork system can be arranged and installed so that the concrete pump can be used within the required area and space.
  9. Some climbing formwork systems can be used in inclined angles.
  10. Climbing formwork reduces the use of scaffolding and temporary work platforms.
  11. Climbing formworks are adaptable to complex wall geometries. It is possible to provide customized access, working, and storage areas to facilitate the work. These units cover the entire area and provide a completely safe working space.
  12. Climbing formwork enables simultaneous construction of slabs and walls.
  13. The system enables safe climbing and working at greater heights.
  14. Large shafts can be constructed by climbing formwork system without using a crane or complicated systems.

FAQs

What is a climbing formwork?

Climbing formwork is a special type of formwork that rises along with the progress of vertical concrete construction. It can move on its own by using an electric or hydraulic jack. Such formworks are also called self-climbing formworks.

What are the main components of a climbing-formwork?

The main components of climbing formwork are:
1. Suspension platforms
2. Wall formwork material and pieces
3. Anchor system
4. Climbing brackets

What is the general working process of a climbing formwork system?

Climbing formwork is normally made out of steel members. The concrete form panels are attached to these steel frames. Some of the form panels are supported with the help of rollers. Once the concrete is poured onto the formwork, the frame is released and moved away from the wall.
Now, if a self-climbing formwork is used, the frame is lifted by the jacks to the next level or the next area intended to be poured. Once the formwork is in position, the panels are closed, and the concrete is poured. This cycle continues for three to five days. If a really specialized and trained crew is employed, the work can be finished within a shorter time.

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