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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.