What is the difference between scaffolding and formwork

Formwork is used to shape and support wet concrete until its stable on itself, while Scaffolding is the structure used around construction sites to offer support and stepping ground to builders. 

formwork in a construction site

Scaffolding makes it easier for builders to reach hard-to-reach areas and at the same time provides support and a working platform. On the other hand, formwork is used in shaping pillars, stairs, bridges, and double-story buildings.

Meaning of formwork

Formwork is made of different materials such as steel, plywood, plywood steel, and wood and steel combination. There are different types of formwork depending on the purpose it’s being used for. 


  • It can be used more than once.
  • They ensure the proper construction of complicated structures.
  • It hardens concrete to the desired shape.
  • Steel formworks provide more accurate results and reduce waste in construction.

The different types

The different types of formworks include trench, beams, columns, stairs, and floor formworks. The structure takes the shape of the formwork. The structure takes the shape of the formwork.

It is important to note that formworks carry almost triple the weight of scaffolding. While the maximum you can get for scaffolding is 1000 kgs, formworks can carry up to 3000kg of deadweight concrete.


On the other hand, scaffolding is either made of steel, aluminium, or timber. The different types of scaffolding include;

  • Trestle
  • Suspended
  • Needle
  • Single
  • Double

You can remove scaffolding as soon as you are done with your construction, paint, or repair job when it comes to removal. However, you would have to wait until the concrete is dry to remove the formwork.

Although both are essential in the construction industry, they have different purposes.

Man working on formwork

Formwork vs Scaffolding

Used to shape and support wet concrete until it’s stableUsed to offer support and provide a working platform when working at height
Can carry triple the weight of scaffoldingThe maximum weight of scaffolding is 1000kgs
Can be made of materials like steel, plywood, wood, and steel combinationCan be made of either steel, aluminium, or timber
Comparison table