The CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training has released their findings about the use and re-use of plywood formwork.
Dr. John A. Gambatese, PhD, PE and Dr. Andre R. Barbosa, PhD from Oregon State University, along with research assistants mapped the life cycle of vertical concrete formwork on three construction sites, and identified and evaluated the typical site environmental and operations impacts on formwork during its use and re-use. The researchers collected formwork samples that experienced different levels of re-use and conducted laboratory tests to determine the extent to which re-use affects the structural capacity of formwork and the safety of those constructing the formwork. The researchers utilized the test data, along with responses from worker risk perception surveys and 438 OSHA fatality report summaries related to formwork, to assess the safety risk associated with formwork construction and the reliability of formwork designs to safely withstand repeated re-use
Key Findings from the Research
- Vertical concrete formwork has a life cycle including up to 18 steps, ranging from moving, stockpiling, and preparing materials to assembling and erecting formwork panels; panel loading (concrete pour); formwork stripping; visual inspection; cleaning; and dismantling/re-using.
- Carpenters identify formwork erection, stripping, and assembly as the most risky activities when working with concrete formwork. (Note: Concrete pouring and placing, which was not identified as especially hazardous by the carpenters, is usually performed by construction laborers rather than carpenters.)
- OSHA Fatality and Catastrophe Summaries suggest that concrete pouring, formwork erection, and formwork stripping are the most hazardous activities entailed in cast-in-place concrete work.
- The evidence did not suggest that re-use of formwork was a significant hazard. Lab tests from a limited sample did not show consistent loss of integrity and strength with reuse, and no cases of formwork failure were observed. Conservative design standards may account for this; further study is needed.
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For more information, contact: John Gambatese: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CPWR, a research and training arm of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO, and serves construction workers, contractors, practitioners, and the scientific community.