what is a formworker?

As a formworker, you create formworks for shaping concrete for various structures. Your duties include evaluating the blueprints to understand the technical drawings and create the ideal formwork. Based on the blueprints, you determine the ideal material for creating the forms and calculate the amounts needed. You also set up the forms and assist construction workers in pouring concrete.

Formworkers ensure the perfect finish for concrete by removing the forms when the concrete dries out and filling the gaps. As a formworker, you are responsible for the maintenance and construction of forms. That means you repair the forms for future use or create new forms suitable for the project. You are also responsible for installing steel reinforcement bars or rebars to strengthen the concrete.

The role requires a strong understanding of construction principles to combine wood or plywood and create the perfect forms. Your knowledge of the maintenance of tools and equipment is also useful for the role. Since the job is physically demanding, it is important to be physically fit to lift heavy objects. You also have the stamina to stand or bend for long hours.

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average formworker salary

As a formworker, you earn a salary of $80,000 per year. When you are new in the role, you start with a salary of $70,000 annually, while experienced formworkers earn over $90,000 yearly. The remuneration package depends on various factors, including experience and the industry you work in.

When you are an apprentice, you take home a lower salary since you have minimal experience and qualifications. However, with a few years of experience, your earnings increase gradually, and you can negotiate a higher remuneration package. Having additional qualifications in formwork also improves your salary prospects.

Most formworkers work in the construction or mining industry, but the projects you work on influence your earnings. When you work on complex projects like preparing formwork for the foundation, you are likely to earn more than formworkers who perform simple tasks. Working for a large company also increases your salary prospects since they have more resources and can afford to pay formworkers higher salaries. Small construction companies pay lower salaries since they work on small projects.

Want to know what you will earn as a formworker? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of formworkers

As a formworker, you create forms using diverse materials. For instance, you create timber, metallic, plastic or plywood formwork. Timber formwork is lightweight and versatile, making it easier for on-site construction. For plywood formwork, you attach wooden frames to form the panels for sheathing, form-lining or decking. When you are creating metal formwork, you use steel shuttering with thin steel plates connected using clamps and bolts. Steel shuttering gives the concrete a setting surface to ensure it is smooth and flat.

female working reading document
female working reading document

working as a formworker

Working as a formworker involves creating and pouring concrete forms. If you are interested in becoming a formworker, check out the specific tasks and work environments associated with the role.


education and skills

Educational qualifications are not mandatory for becoming a formworker. However, having some qualifications is an added advantage. Start by gaining the necessary certifications to become a carpenter by completing a Certificate III in carpentry, or you can join an apprenticeship with a certified carpenter to gain experience in formwork.

Alternatively, undertake a Certificate III in formwork and falsework. You may need valid industry experience to qualify for an apprenticeship. Since you work in high-risk environments, you require training in health and safety standards. If you work in construction, complete a construction induction training course to obtain a White Card through an approved registered training organisation (RTO).

formworker skills and competencies

To be successful as a formworker, you need the following skills and competencies:

  • maths skills: as a formworker, your job requires creating formwork that determines the shape of concrete. Hence, you take precise measurements and accurately lay out the construction lines and markings. This requires good mathematical skills to ensure accurate measurements.
  • physical strength: as a farmworker, you spend your day lifting heavy items and working with your hands. You require physical stamina to endure long-standing hours and work in challenging environments. Being physically fit helps you climb scaffolding and bend for extended periods.
  • communication skills: as a formworker, you work with diverse professionals to complete a project. Hence, effective communication is essential for relaying ideas to your team members. Having good listening skills is also vital in understanding instructions from engineers.
  • attention to detail: creating formworks requires extreme precision to get the ideal shapes for concrete structures. You pay attention to details since you measure precisely and cut timber or plywood to the exact measurements determined in the blueprints. Being detail-oriented helps you build formwork according to specifications without major alterations.
  • problem-solving skills: as a formworker, you require problem-solving skills to solve any issues during construction. Your problem-solving skills help you troubleshoot issues and find solutions.

FAQs about working as a formworker

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a formworker.

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