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Forms for concrete work

IT has been recently stated, with some truth, within these walls that we do not often hear of failures occurring in reinforced concrete buildings after their completion, but generally during their erection, and although all failures cannot be attributed to defective forms, yet the forms are to blame in a sufficient number of cases as to obviate the necessity of claiming your indulgence for introducing this subject of forms for concrete work to your notice as an important element in securing efficiency in construction, and not merely in the utilitarian aspect. Although it is not the practice, in England at any rate, for engineers to design their forms, that being generally left to the contractor, it is my belief that an engineer, for his own protection, should at least set out some typical portion of the forms for the contractor’s guidance, thus doing all he can to circumvent failure in this direction at any rate. Of course good forms alone will not ensure safety, and we have to use vigilance likewise in detecting bad work, bad design, and bad material. For, as Lieut.-Colonel Winn has pithily put it, "A fool with a shovel may absolutely defeat the most elaborate calculation involving the calculus." Allan Graham