Responsibility for Formwork

owner, architect, engineer, general contractor, subcontractors, or suppliers can be determined only by a court decision based on the complete contractual arrangements undertaken for a specific project.
Generally accepted practice makes the following rough division of responsibilities:
Safety. The general contractor is responsible for the design, construction, and safety of formwork. Subcontractors or material suppliers may subsequently be held responsible to the general contractor. The term safety here includes prevention of any type of formwork failure. The damage caused by a failure always includes the expense of the formwork itself, and may also include personal injury or damage to the completed portions of a structure. Safety also includes protection of all personnel on the site from personal injury during construction. Only the supervisor of the work can control the workmanship in assembly and the rate of casting on which formwork safety ultimately depends.
Structural Adequacy of the Finished Concrete. The structural engineer is responsible for the design of the reinforced concrete structure. The reason for project specifications requiring that the architect or engineer approve the order and time of form removal, shoring, and reshoring is to ensure proper structural behavior during such removal and to prevent overloading of recently constructed concrete below or damage to the concrete from which forms are removed prematurely. The architect or engineer should require approval for locations of construction joints not shown on project drawings or project specifications to ensure proper transfer of shear and other forces through these joints. Project specifications should also require that debris be cleaned from form material and the bottom of vertical element forms, and that form-release agents used be compatible with appearance requirements and future finishes to be applied. None of these considerations, however, involves the safety of the formwork per se.

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