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Worker in the process of laying concrete

Canada makes over 60 million tonnes of concrete a year; that's a massive amount of concrete. But what's the secret to safe concrete pouring? The answer: proper, well-thought-out formwork. As a formwork service provider in Ottawa, we know formwork and concrete pouring like the back of our hands. This article explains two essential elements of proper formwork installation: planning and equipment. Lastly, we'll outline some example safety measure checks when building formwork.


Formwork controls the shape of concrete. When concrete is wet, it's a liquid that doesn't hold its shape. Boards, supports, and braces all get joined together to create the outline of the concrete.These components create the formwork, which retains the liquid concrete until it sets. When concrete dries, it stays in position, and the formwork isn't needed anymore.


The first essential element of formwork installation is planning. Defining every detail is vital on large-scale pours. Here at Reitano Concrete, we plan every element with precision. Above all else, planning is a safety consideration. However, planning also means the right workers are on site, and the equipment is on time. Without clear plans, it's impossible to know what safety precautions need to be in place.

But what makes a detailed plan? Clear drawings create a comprehensive and safe pour plan. Proper drawings include the jacks' positions and the shoring equipment's details. Drawings also show the locations of decks and scaffolds. These elements are the bare minimum. The plans must consist of many more components that an engineer must certify.


Without the correct equipment, formwork becomes a serious hazard. Officials and engineers must confirm all drawings and equipment meet safety standards.Even with an engineer's sign-off, an extra equipment check must happen before starting. Inspection of all equipment happens at many stages of the process, not just at the beginning. Checks continue throughout a pour and continue when the concrete is in place. When performing checks, look for damage, weak points, cracks, and bulges. Immediately reinforce any discovered defects.


Extensive safety measures ensure formwork is correct and safe. These inspections go well beyond the planning and equipment checks discussed earlier. In this section, we'll outline some critical safety measures. However, there are many more regulations to follow. The first safety measure to adhere to is the centering and shuttering layout. A qualified engineer must create the centering and shuttering layout. Following this layout is vital, with no divergence.

Another consideration is the soil’s capacity to bear weight. Every large job considers the soil's bearing capacity. Varying soil types respond to wet and dry conditions differently. Assessing the impact of weather on the ground is very important. For example, if the earth moves in wet conditions, there is potential for a disaster.

A third safety measure involves checking the centering and shuttering integrity. Centering and shuttering must get checked regularly. Review every post to ensure the footings and sills are solid.

For example, look out for the following situations:

  • Screws for lower adjustment must be tight fitting against the panel legs.

  • Jack and adjustment screws must be in complete contact with the formwork.

  • Locking devices are fully engaged in a closed position and locked off.


Pouring concrete on a large scale is not a DIY job. Large concrete pours weigh a lot, meaning a lot of pressure that can be dangerous. Our formwork service in Ottawa delivers a safe and effective concrete pour on time and to spec. Contact Reitano Concrete today to learn more about what we can do for you.


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