Scaffolding Vs Formwork — How they Differ?

Quality Scaffolding

Scaffolding and formwork both are indispensable to the construction industry, and they have different functions altogether. In this post, we’ll see how both of them differ from each other and how they help to carry out different types of works. First, we’ll talk about scaffolding and then about formwork.


Scaffolding creates temporary structures that are used as working platforms to support people who are involved in various works at height such as:

  • Construction work
  • Repair/ restoration work
  • Maintenance works involving painting etc.

Scaffolding assists workers to work at heights, which is impossible to access otherwise. Scaffolding modular systems are usually made out of materials such as wood, or bamboo, or metal comprising tubes, boards and couplers.

Regardless of the scaffolding design, be it simple or intricate, they are made with great care, as it supports groups of people working and moving on it. It has to be robust and safe because it’s used for a variety of purposes including:

  • A platform for painting the exteriors of structures
  • It acts as a temporary walkway or bridge
  • Bracing props

Scaffolding guarantees safety by facilitating as a ramp, providing handrails and acting as a stabilising or supportive structure for a building. By providing access to flat roofs and ledges, it facilitates workers to easily move around on the structures. Besides, scaffolding is widely used for making hanging platforms, preparing stage sets for the movies and used for positioning billboards. Normally, scaffolds are dependent structures, and they need to be attached to steel work or building using ties for firmness.

Scaffolding should be effortless to erect, easy to take apart, and handy to transport. The platforms’ setup in scaffolding should have adequately wider areas to facilitate people to freely walk, as well as, hold and facilitate the movement of materials effortlessly. The entire structure ought to be adequately sturdy so that it’s not affected by climatic conditions and doesn’t deform, shake or tilt eventually. Different types of scaffolding structure include the hanging bracket, mobile scaffold towers, put-log, birdcage, independent tied, as well as, roof saddle and stack.


Formwork is also known as forms or shuttering; they are defined as temporary or permanent casings or moulds that hold the concrete firmly until it solidifies adequately to support its weight. The construction teams have to use formwork when they have to mould wet concrete or hold it in place until it solidifies to the desired shape. Formwork must have the required capability and be able to tolerate the concrete’s weight that it holds, as the material firms up.

The wet concrete imposes a good amount of pressure to the formwork — compared to the top, more pressure is being applied to the bottom. Suppose, the formwork isn’t properly designed to support the required weights, then it can bend or break as the concrete is being filled.

If the formwork is taken away before the concrete dries up completely, then accidents can occur. That’s why once the wet concrete is poured into the formwork, it is kept in its place for a certain number of days. Sometimes, a moist blanket is kept on the outside of the forms for a while.

Like scaffolding, formwork is also distinguished by type — these systems can be categorised as stay-in-place structural and engineered formwork and reusable plastic. Other kinds of forms are traditional timber formwork and permanent insulated formwork.

Steel Scaffolding Formwork

To support concrete structures or any other structure that are connected with your scaffold project, steel scaffolding formwork may be needed — they are available in two types viz. H Frame system and V Shore Frame system.

  • H Frame scaffold system is usually seen on high-rise sites and large construction projects.
  • V Shore scaffold system is perfect for highway bridges and other projects where huge concrete slabs have to be moved into place.

Summing Up

Scaffolding and formwork are two different types of structures used to accomplish different purposes in the construction industry. Scaffolding and formwork, both are essential structures in civil engineering projects and are used around the world by many people.

If you’re looking to buy high-quality scaffolding and formwork system, then get in touch with an established scaffolding dealer near you in Australia.

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