Shuttering, often also referred to as formwork, is a critical aspect of civil construction. It acts as a temporary mold into which wet concrete is poured and held in place until the concrete has set and cured.
This process is used for various structural elements in a construction project, including columns, footings, retaining walls, slabs, and beams4. The shuttering provides the necessary support to the wet concrete mix, ensuring it maintains its shape and structure as it hardens.
Different materials can be used for shuttering, including timber, plywood, metal or other specialized formwork systems. The choice of material depends on factors such as the specific requirements of the construction project, the anticipated load on the formwork, cost considerations, and local availability.
The scope of shuttering work in construction not only includes the placement and removal of the formwork but also the inspection of proper materials and the implementation of the method statement6. This ensures that the formwork is correctly installed, safe, and effective in maintaining the structural integrity of the concrete.
Shuttering is vital in construction because it directly influences the quality, safety, and economy of a building project. Incorrect shuttering can lead to deformities in the finished structure or even structural failure.