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What is Falsework?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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"Falsework" is a term used in construction circles to identify the temporary structures that are created to support arches and spans during the actual construction process. The use of the falsework helps to prevent collapse of certain sections of the construction while it is underway and often provides workers with a stable support surface as they work on different aspects of the building design. Falsework remains in place until the construction is sufficiently completed for the structure to remain intact without the need for any additional support.

One of the most common examples of falsework is scaffolding. Once constructed of wooden planking, modern-day scaffolding normally includes a framework composed of a combination of metal pipes that are joined to create a solid support system for the construction. Depending on the application, the scaffolding may also be equipped with planks that are secured in position and allow workers to freely move about in order to work on arches or other aspects of the structure. While scaffolding is sturdy and offers a great deal of support, the task of disconnecting the pipes and removing the plans can be accomplished in relatively little time, once there is no longer a need for the falsework.

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Just about any type of construction project can make use of some type of falsework. Building a two-story home is an easier task by using this type of support frame when working on the façade of the home. In like manner, the construction of commercial buildings often involves the use of scaffolding at various points during the process. Even building structures like suspension or arch bridges are likely to include the use of falsework at key points in the project, both in terms of providing support to the structure under construction and making it easier for workers to do the actual work involved with the building project.

Along with new construction projects, falsework can also be helpful when it comes to restoring or refurbishing an older building. For example, painters would use scaffolding as part of the equipment when repainting the exterior of a commercial building. In like manner, the falsework is helpful when adding new design elements to an older façade, or simply restoring a damaged façade to its original appearance. While the scaffolding used in projects of this nature are often utilized for several projects before being replaced, there are companies that make use of this type of support structure for a single project, choosing to order new pipes and planks for each individual construction job.

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