Difference between Shuttering, Formwork, Scaffolding & Centering

You might have heard the words Shuttering, Formwork, Scaffolding, Centering & Staging many times. But, did you know the exact meaning of these words and the difference between them?

Shuttering, Formwork, Scaffolding, Centering & Staging are all temporary supports and casings used at the construction site.

In this blog post, I’m describing each of these terms in detail and also the difference between them.

So, let’s dive right in.


Formwork is temporary or permanent molds of the desired shape into which plastic concrete or similar materials are poured. The main objective of the formwork is to provide the desired shape to the concrete and to support it till it becomes sufficiently strong to support its own weight.

Furthermore, it should be capable of supporting safely all loads that might be applied to it until such loads can be supported by the ground, the concrete structure, or other construction elements with adequate strength and stability.

formwork or shuttering for column

Following are the requirements of good formwork:

  1. Easy removal
  2. Economy
  3. Less Leakage
  4. Quality
  5. Rigidity
  6. Smooth surface
  7. Strength
  8. Supports


The terms shuttering and formwork are both used to denote molds in which fresh concrete is poured and contained until it hardens. The only difference between shuttering and formwork is the material used in their preparation.

Shuttering is prepared using plywood while formwork is prepared using a variety of materials. In general, there is no huge difference between the two terms. And in most cases shuttering is considered to be a type of formwork.

Preparation of shuttering for slab construction

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Centering is a type of falsework (temporary structure) used for circular work such as arch, dome, etc.

Generally, centering is made up of wood timbers in a simple arch or vault shape or sometimes complex shapes such as a dome or the bottle-shaped flue in a Norman-period kitchen.

Centering for bridge construction


Staging is a part of formwork that is used to support shuttering and centering. Wooden Ballies, Pipes/Props/Jacks, H frames, Space frames using Coupler / Cup-Lock system are the main components of staging.

Staging for formwork and shuttering at construction site


Scaffolding is a temporary structure, usually of timber, provided as a safe working platform for the workers when the height above floor level exceeds about 1.5m. It is also sometimes called scaffold and mainly used for activities like construction, demolition, maintenance or repair works.

An ordinary scaffolding consists of Standards, ledgers, putlogs, transoms, braces, bridle, guard rail, toe board, and raker.

Scaffolding used for building maintenance

Last Words

I hope you got complete information about the Difference between Shuttering, Formwork, Scaffolding & Centering in this article.

If you found this article helpful, feel free to share it with your friends.

Leave a comment if I missed anything.

Happy Learning!!

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