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What is Conaform?
Conaform is a formwork material made from a flat steel wire mesh, with a “yellow” heat-shrunk layer of polyethylene applied to both sides of the mesh.
Conaform can be used for foundations, including ground beams, ribbed slabs, piles, box-outs, and for weather/ dust protection. Conaform is primarily intended as a sub-grade formwork system that is backfilled on the outside of the form before concrete is poured.
Conaform’s polyethylene coating is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Importantly, it does not affect groundwater and is both recyclable and bio-degradable.
Conaform is structurally strong and durable, yet very lightweight, making it very easy to handle on site–it weighs only 3 kg per square metre and can be laid by hand. The polyethylene foil applied to the steel mesh can withstand any concrete pressure. The foil used is UV-stabilised for six months’ exposure.
The Conaform steel mesh is made up of a grid of steel bars comprising cells of 7.5cm by 15cm (standard size), with different bar diameters available depending on the application. In addition, Conaform is unique in the industry in that each mesh sheet has an additional steel bar running longitudinally along the centre of the sheets (see below)-ie. two bars running in parallel. This provides additional stiffness and structural support when the formwork is laid and filled, compared to others of its class. In addition, it serves as a point of reference to cut the Conaform in two pieces–where each half receives equal amounts of steel bar mesh and wastage is minimised.
Conaform is available in a range of sheet sizes. It may be cut and shaped to your requirements before delivery, pre-formed and ready for assembly or, alternatively, folded to shape on-site using a manual folder. The component parts can be modified on-site using a pocket knife for the foil and a bolt cutter for the steel.
Consecutive pieces of Conaform are joined using tie-wire, making assembly quick and easy.
Conaform is also a flexible formwork system that can be bent to a prescribed radius using a round bending machine, and delivered directly to the site already tailored for the job.
Conaform may either be left in the ground as lost formwork (permanently against the concrete structure) or, alternatively, it may be stripped and re-used following concrete panel completion, depending on your requirements.
When used as lost formwork, Conaform is particularly useful for the construction of ground beams, semi-raft foundations, box-out shutters, floor-edge forms, pile caps, and bases, where the existing soil level is approximately at the top edge of the foundation and the Conaform remains concealed following construction. In this case, foundation trenches can be excavated as near as possible to the actual foundation dimension, without the need to excavate a large working space.
Depending on the dimensions of the foundations and amount of backfill around the Conaform, additional bracing may be required using suitable formwork girders or other longitudinal support material. Engineers should be consulted to determine specific requirements.
- Easy to handle on site using non-specialist labour – reduces construction costs
- No lifting equipment is required because Conaform is light and flexible
- Back fill can be completed before concrete is poured, minimizing safety risks on site
- No need to strip formwork after concrete has been cured
- Quick assembly. No hammer, nails or saws. Only tie-wire is needed
- Formwork can be pre-formed in at factory into virtually any module size/shape required and arrives at site ready for installation
- Supplied as flat sheets – can be cut and fabricated on site, as required
- Versatile – perfect for difficult radius applications
- Lost formwork – no need to excavate a large working space and then refill it later on
- No need to clean or to return the formwork
- Non-polluting, non-toxic, and recyclable
The strength and versatility of Conaform make it the particularly useful for the following applications.
- Ground beams
- Footing and bases
- Pile caps
- Construction joints (stop ends)
- Special shapes or curves
- Void formation
- Ribbed and Waffle slabs
- Temporary fencing
- Safety screens
- Many other unlimited application