Climbing formwork is a special type of formwork for concrete structures that rises with the building process. Best known in the construction of towers, skyscrapers and other tall vertical structures, it allows the reuse of the same formwork over and over for identical (or very similar) sections / stories further up the structure.
The climbing formwork structure normally does not only contain the formwork itself, but also usually provides working space / scaffolds for construction crews. It may also provide areas for machinery and screens for weather protection.
Climbing formwork (crane-climbing) - in this type of climbing formwork, the formwork around the structure is displaced upwards with the help of one or more cranes once the hardening of the concrete has proceeded far enough. This may entail lifting the whole section, or be achieved segmentally.
Climbing formwork (self-climbing) - In this type of formwork, the structure elevates itself with the help of mechanic leverage equipment (usually hydraulic). To do this, it fixes itself to sacrificial cones or rails emplaced in the previously cast concrete.
Gliding formwork - This type of formwork is similar to the self-climbing type above. However, the climbing process is continuous instead of intermittent, and is usually only broken for a short time (for example to fix the mounting mechanisms to new anchoring points). The advantage is that it will produce seamless structures, but it requires a continuous, uninterrupted process throughout.
^ abBuilding towers over Auckland's North Shore - NZ Construction News, Volume 2, Issue 3, July 2007
^ abBeetham Tower, Liverpool - innovation in climbing formwork (from the AZoBuild.com building and construction knowledge base website)