Comparison of timber and metal formwork systems

Robin Yip, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Formwork is one of the most important temporary works for reinforced-concrete superstructures in building projects. The use of traditional timber formwork has dominated the construction industry in Hong Kong for many years. Now, however, low-waste technologies for superstructure construction are becoming more common. The study reported here compares the advantages and disadvantages of using traditional timber formwork and a large panel steel formwork system Integrated with precast concrete semi-slab (composite formwork system) in superstructure construction in Hong Kong. The study compares these two different formwork systems used in two identically designed school projects in Hong Kong. The comparisons are focused on construction cost, time required for completion of work and construction waste generation. By conducting a detailed cost comparison, this paper shows that, despite the fact that the composite formwork system is able to produce less construction waste, the traditional timber formwork system is still more favourable economically. However, if the composite formwork could be reused in other standard school projects after completion of the project, economic advantages would be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Waste and Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008


  • Economics & finance
  • Temporary works
  • Waste management & disposal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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