Climbing formwork is a special type of formwork for large vertical concrete structures. Climbing formworks will represent an effective solution for structures that require seamless walls or have a very repetitive form.
There are several types of climbing formwork, depending on the type of building being built. They can move on their own, using hydraulic or electric jacks, commonly known as self-climbing formwork, or they can be relocated with cranes and other equipment.
There is also a gliding formwork, called Slipform, but it is moving continuously (when pouring is being made) instead of periodically like the self-climbing formwork. The self-climbing formwork remains in place during the pouring process. Crane picked-up jump forms are typically used on buildings of five stories or more; fully self-climbing jump form systems are generally used on structures with more than 20-floor levels.
How Self-Climbing Formworks Are Assembled
Normally, this type of formwork is constructed from steel members. Concrete form panels are attached to this frame; some of them supported on rollers. After the concrete walls are poured, it is released and moved away from the wall. Then, if self-climbing formwork is being used, jacks lift the frame up to the next level or to the next area where it will be used. This is normally a relatively fast procedure.
Once the climbing formwork is in position, the panels are closed, and the next concrete wall is poured. The cycle continues, which is normally three to five days. Faster times can be achieved but you will need a really specialized and trained crew. However, the limiting factor to faster times is usually the construction of the floor slabs, which are poured as a separate process.
Where to Use Climbing Formworks
It is highly recommended in super-tall structures like:
- Bridge Pylons
- Airport Control Towers
- High Rise Buildings
- Elevator Shafts
Some of the manufacturers or distributors of self-climbing formworks are:
Self-Climbing Formworks Benefits
- They usually do not require a crane to move them, reducing your general condition cost.
- Increased construction speed is obtained by allowing the vertical and horizontal parts of a building to be built concurrently.
- It minimizes labor time and has a better productivity rate (these systems are designed for repetitive actions) and less labor is required to set up the forms.
- Increased safety as the labor of setting and removing is less than traditional systems
- It does not need additional supports to the formwork (it is supported by the walls just poured).
- It can be used during almost all types of weather.
- Normally, they provide an area for use as a scaffold.
- High-quality surface finishes can be achieved.
- Can sustain high winds (better productivity on windy days)
- The formwork system is easy to clean and reuse with little waste generated compared to traditional systems.
- Other protection systems (screens) can be hung off a big jump form and climbed with the system.
- Some of these systems can be installed in such a way that even a concrete pump can also be used within the same area and space.
- Long lengths can be obtained combining different sections for each particular project.
- Some formwork systems can be used at an inclined angle.
- Once the learning curve has passed, performance will be optimized and work will be completed faster.
- These systems will minimize the usage of scaffolding and temp work platforms.
Components of Climbing Formworks
Climbing formworks should be assembled or might be rented along with the following components:
- Platforms for concrete workers
- Wall formwork material and pieces
- Lifting beam
- Additional working platform
- Suspension platforms
Also be sure that the equipment has the right components to plumb, horizontally and vertically, the formwork. Some of the models are also equipped with rails that will facilitate the formwork removal, so you can clean and repair concrete if necessary.