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What is the Lifecycle of Formwork in Modern Construction?


The lifecycle of formwork is a process that spans from the initial conception of the project to the return of the used material. This cycle is critical to ensure efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact in the construction industry. This article explores the five key phases that make up the lifecycle of formwork and how each contributes to the success of the construction project.

Phase 1: Pre-Planning

  • Evaluation of Requirements: Determine the project’s specific technical needs, including feasibility, budget, and structural requirements. This phase is very important because it allows for focusing budgets on real needs, optimizing the material required on site, and lowering the risk of errors and potential costoverruns.
  • Selection of Suppliers: Choosing a formwork supplier requires knowledge of the market’s products and possible solutions. Depending on the technical level needed on site, comparisons are made based on the best technical solution proposed along with the economic proposal for renting (or selling) the systems. Other factors to always consider include the technical-commercial knowledge of the people involved in the offer, the company’s structure, the proximity of the warehouse, and the availability of material.

Phase 2: Technical Solution

  • Design of Formworks: Adapting the design of formworks to the technical specifications of the project, maximizing efficiency and reuse, is the challenge for the formwork provider. The flexibility of the systems allows for more or less adaptation to each project, and the higher the complexity, the more a customized and specific design is needed.
  • Innovation and Technology: The world of formwork continues to advance and develop technological innovations. There is development aimed at improving the systems’ details to make them more effective on site and development dedicated to introducing new formwork systems to solve higher complexities.

Phase 3: Material Preparation

  • Delivery Logistics: Organizing efficient logistics to ensure the arrival of formwork material at the optimal time and state is one of the key points of the process. Logistics is one of the most complicated aspects for formwork system renters, as it involves managing all articles both inbound and outbound, ensuring availability and delivery times required by the site.
  • Quality Control: In rental, it is very important to have rigorous processes for controlling and repairing material so that it is always in optimal and safe conditions. It is very important that each item that is part of the formwork systems leaves the warehouse meeting sufficient quality requirements to be assembled on site.

Phase 4: Use of Formwork on Site

  •  Installation and Assembly: In the phase of assembling formwork systems, it is important that people on site are trained on the assembly process and its safety. To assist in these phases, the provider offers assembly manuals for the systems and the plans. It is also important that at least in the early phases of assembly and in general in all critical phases, a formwork technician assists and helps the assemblers on site.
  • Management on Site: Supervision on site is necessary to guarantee productivity and safety during the formwork assembly and disassembly processes. It is also important to maintain control of the material on site, both for its correct use and for the conditions on site to maintain its functionality.

Phase 5: Return of Material

  • Careful Dismantling: The final dismantling phase on site is very important as it involves controlling the final state of the formwork material and ensuring all items listed on the delivery notes are present. It is also advisable to define a storage area so that the material is orderly and cared for before being returned to the supplier.
  • Review and Maintenance: After the return, all formwork material must be reviewed and repaired. This phase is essential to guarantee the functioning of each piece in the next rental according to rigorous quality controls and processes.
  • Reuse or Recycling: The rental service allows for the reuse of formwork over several years according to the useful life of each piece. Additionally, the recycling process of the material allows extending the useful life of several pieces, following a correct logic of the circular economy.


Understanding and efficiently managing the lifecycle of formwork is essential to achieve excellence in construction. Each phase of the cycle requires detailed attention and a focus on sustainability to contribute to the project’s success. When choosing a formwork material supplier, it is highly recommended to seek a company that is involved and guarantees the correct development of this lifecycle, optimizing each step from planning to the return of the material.

Civil engineer, has been working with the Alsina Group for almost 15 years. He is co-delegate of the Italian subsidiary of the group, with extensive experience acquired in both building and civil engineering projects.
Francesco Tardini
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