Cardboard column formers – construction’s best-kept secret?

Over the last decade, more and more architects and commercial real estate developers in Ireland and the UK are electing to save time and money on construction projects, by integrating circular concrete pillars, poured using cardboard column forms instead of traditional concrete shuttering.


Round columns help to add space and light to construction design, helping to reduce view obstruction. They are easily finished and have no sharp corners to chip and break.

Our cardboard column forms can be made in bespoke lengths and diameters for your building design. They can bring you huge time savings on-site in comparison to using shuttering, by allowing you to pour all your pillars at the one time. This makes them a very economical way to create pillars for office buildings, entrances and other residential and commercial structures, as well as for building pilings, bridge supports, voids in concrete floors and other applications.

We’re really excited about some of the amazing building projects which are currently underway using our formwork in the UK. For example:

Pouring concrete into a Roll A Round form
Concrete poured into cardboard pillar mould
  • The Royal Albert Dock – a hugely ambitious and forward-thinking project to create a new business district opposite London City Airport.
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and the recent Heathrow Redevelopment – the airport’s ambition was to create “a light and modern welcome for our visitors” and we are delighted that our circular columns have contributed to this.
  • 245 Hammersmith Road – a landmark new development due to be completed in March 2019, with 11 floors in total, five of which are more than 27,000sqm. The signature feature of the project is these large, uniquely flexible floor-plates, ideal for collaborative work spaces. The integration of pillars is an important contribution to this design.

Lots of great new buildings in Ireland have used our Form-A-Round column moulds over the last few years too, including:

Cardboard can be left on pillars to protect them

  • Convention Centre Dublin
  • Microsoft’s new Head Office (600 columns)
  • 1 South County, Sandyford
  • 1 Ballsbridge
  • 4 Hanover Key
  • Ulster Hospital
  • Royal Victoria Belfast
  • Mater Hospital
  • Enniskillen Hospital
  • Curragh Racecourse Grandstand (currently being built)

The use of cardboard column formers allows for a more streamlined construction process. Vinny Coyle of GDC Construction, the formwork contractor for One South County, a cutting-edge office development currently in progress in Sandyford, Dublin, has used our circular column formers for years and is a big advocate. He lists the following benefits:

  • Cardboard circular column formers require only one crane lift relative to the alternative – steel shuttering – which requires three or four crane lifts, resulting in a lot less crane time and costs.
  • Steel shuttering requires a capital investment and storage between sites, whereas cardboard column formers can just be ordered and delivered as you need them.
  • With circular column formers, you can have your columns in place, order in your concrete and pump it a whole floor at a time, which saves time and labour. On large projects, where each floor could have 20-40 columns, you would never have enough shuttering to do a whole floor at once, which means multiple deliveries of concrete for each floor, plus the waiting time for the concrete to set so you can remove and re-use the shuttering. Shuttering also needs to be cleaned and oiled between columns: more time.
  • Great flexibility with height – you can order the height you need (whereas with shuttering the length is fixed).
  • The finish you get from cardboard circular column formers is far superior to the finish from shuttering, meaning they don’t need to be painted.
  • The cardboard can be left in place while the next floor is built, which protects the column from getting grout spilled on it from the floor above.
Interior columns bring light and space
Light and space due to round columns

After use, you can dispose of the cardboard moulds into cardboard recycling facility.

We are very proud to work with the construction industry on such innovative building design projects, and we are dedicated to providing quality building materials that stand strong and deliver great results.  We’d love your next construction project to be part of our growing portfolio. If you think our formwork might be of benefit to you, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Excellent finish for interior columns
Excellent finish on columns

Download the Form-A-Round brochure.

Share this article