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Department of Architecture and Building Sciences

ARCH 436
Contemporary Building Construction Methods


Dr. Mohammed Ghonim

Lecture Objectives
Upon completion of this lecture, the student will be able to:
1. Explain the concept of slip-form construction.
2. Discuss the advantages of slip-form construction.
3. List the types of slip-forming.
4. Describe the construction process of slip-forming.


Lecture Content


Historical Brief.

Advantages of Slip-form Construction.

Types of Slip-form Construction.

Vertical Slip-form.

Horizontal Slip-form.

The Benefits of Tilt-up Construction.

Applications of Slip-form Construction.

The Slip-form Rig.

Structural Concerns.

Construction Sequence.

Tapered Slip-forming.

Jump Form.

Slip form construction, or continuously formed construction, is a construction method in
which concrete is poured into a continuously moving form.

KAFD, Riyadh, KSA

Basically, this method involves the continuous placing of concrete in a shallow mold having
the same plan as the building to be constructed. This rigid mold, or "slip-form" as it is called,
forms the working deck which is jacked slowly upwards at a controlled rate until the required
elevation is reached.


Slip-form Technique is one of the most productive techniques for construction of High-rise
structures like communication towers, chimneys, bridge piers, silos etc. Vertical Slip forming
allows concrete to be erected as a monolithic or a joint-less structure, while reducing overall
project duration. Slipform paving has enabled concrete road pavements, airport aprons,
taxiways, runways, canal lining etc. Slip-form Technique has also been successfully applied
to various structures including offshore drilling platforms and nuclear facilities etc.

Historical Brief
The slip forming technique was in use by the early 20th century for building silos and grain
elevators. James MacDonald, of MacDonald Engineering of Chicago was the pioneer in
utilizing slip form concrete for construction. His concept of placing circular bins in clusters
was patented, with photographs and illustrations, contained in a 1907 book, The Design Of
Walls, Bins, And Grain Elevators.

Skylon Tower, 1965

Sheraton Waikiki, 1969

Casa Del Mar, 1970

The technique was introduced to residential and commercial buildings in the late 1960s.[2]
One of Its first uses in high-rise buildings the United States was on the shear wall supported
apartment building at Turk & Eddy Streets in San Francisco, CA, in 1962, built by the San
Francisco office of MacDonald Engineering. The first notable use of the method in a
residential/retail business was the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario, which was
completed in 1965. Another unusual structure was the tapered buttress structures for the
Sheraton Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1969. Another shear wall supported structure
was the Casa Del Mar Condominium on Key Biscayne, Miami, FL in 1970.


Types of Slip-form Construction

1- Vertical Slip-form
In vertical slip forming, the concrete form
may be surrounded by a platform on which
workers stand, placing steel reinforcing
rods into the concrete and ensuring a
smooth pour. Together, the concrete form
and working platform are raised by means
of hydraulic jacks. Generally, the slip-form
rises at a rate which permits the concrete to
harden by the time it emerges from the
bottom of the form.

Types of Slip-form Construction

2- Horizontal Slip-form
In horizontal slip forming for pavement and traffic
separation walls, concrete is cast, vibrated, worked, and
settled in place while the form itself slowly moves
ahead. This method was initially devised and utilized
in Interstate Highway construction initiated during the


The Benefits of Tilt-up Construction



1. Time

High production rates can be

achieved by careful planning of
construction process.

2. Durability

Better concrete; a joint less and

watertight structure.

3. Cost

Slip forms showed cost advantages

for more than 20 stories and larger
than 600 m2 formed area per floor.

4. Maintenance

Availability of the different working

platforms in the formwork system
allows the exposed concrete at the
bottom of the rising formwork to be
finished, making it an integral part of
the construction process.

5. Flexibility

Certain formwork systems permit

construction of tapered cores and

6. Labor

Slip form systems require a few but

highly skilled workers.

7. Machinery

Slip form
crane use.



Applications of Slip-form Construction

Capital Gate Tower, Abu Dhabi

Inn Canal, Germany

King Abdul-Aziz Airport

Slip-form construction is used for tall structures, such as towers, buildings, and dams, as well
as horizontal structures, such as roadway barriers. It enables continuous, non-interrupted,
cast-in-place joint-less concrete structures which have superior performance characteristics
over construction methods using discrete form elements. Slip forming relies on the quicksetting properties of concrete, and requires a balance between quick-setting capacity and


The Slip-form Rig

The slip form rig includes three
working levels, or decks as follows:
1. The uppermost deck is used to
install vertical reinforcing steel
and to facilitate placement of the
concrete .
2. The middle deck is the main
working platform. It provides the
locations where gates, ladder
platforms, and maintenance
decks are formed. Usually ,the
middle deck supports the
hydraulic lifting system as well
as provides an area where
reinforcing steel is assembled
and concrete is poured and
vibrated .
3. The lower deck provides access
to the newly exposed concrete
so that surface finishing
processes can be completed and
design specifications can be

Structural Concerns
It is necessary to use a low slump concrete in slip forming processes where the formwork is
moved horizontally in order for the slab or pavement to retain its shape as the paving machine
advances. Presently, slip form pavements use "high early strength" concrete, which achieves
the required strength in approximately 12 hours, as compared to conventional concrete which
requires 5-14 days. The water content of this type of concrete is lower than it is for standard
material, resulting in improved strength as well as improved resistance to the permeation of
salt, thereby increasing the finished concrete's resistance to deterioration from chloride ions.


Construction Sequence
1. The formwork and the access platform are
assembled on the ground.
2. The assembly is raised using hydraulic
jacks which are mounted on strategically
located steel frames to lift the formwork as
the concrete is poured into the forms.
3. As the formwork rises continuously,
continuous concrete and rebar supply are
needed until the operation is finished.
4. As the formwork is raised, reinforcement is
held in the correct position using guides,
horizontal reinforcement is tied to the
vertical reinforcement.
5. Concrete is poured into the forms in layers
of approximately 200 mm. The setting
rates of concrete are constantly monitored
to ensure that it is matched with the speed
at which the forms are raised. The jacks lift
the form approximately 25mm per stroke
generally producing a slip-forming rate of
300 mm per hour.

Construction Sequence
6. Slipforming can be performed on either
a continuous basis (i.e. 24 hours per
day), or a discontinuous basis (i.e.
pouring to a predetermined height
usually within one working day) .
7. Blockouts for doors and windows can
be formed with either timber or steel.
These are in-stalled as the slipform
proceeds and can be stripped from the
trailing decks .
8. Recesses are made to host the
connections between the beams, slabs
and the slipform walls
9. When the formed concrete is exposed
from the bottom of the steel form
panels it can be sponged or treated if
required .
10. At the end of the operation the
formwork is removed using a crane, the
entire process is thoroughly inspected
and highly controlled


Construction Sequence
Slip forming relies on the quick-setting properties of concrete, and requires a balance
between quick-setting capacity and workability. Concrete needs to be workable enough to
be placed into the form and consolidated via vibration. This strength is needed because the
freshly set concrete must not only permit the form to "slip" passed the concrete without
disturbing it, but also support the pressure of the new concrete as well as resist collapse
caused by the vibration of the compaction machinery.

Tapered Slip-forming
Slip-forming is also used in the construction of conical chimneys, cooling towers, piers and
other tall concrete structures involving constant or changing thicknesses in walls, diameters
and/or shapes
A form is used with sections which overlap so that one gradually slides over the other. This is
commonly done in chimney construction but it is not satisfactory for architectural concrete
because the lap shows.
While the tapered slip-forming process is similar to that used on the standard slip-forming, it
requires greater attention, contractor experience and expertise ensures the success of such


Jump Form
Another but similar method that is in use for this type of construction is the jump form
method. In this method the form work jumps up to the next layer after the bottom layer is
cast. The concrete pouring is not continuous as in the slip-form method.
Jump forms climb in steps following each concrete pour. This type of construction is more
suited to high rise building cores where there are regular floors and joints will not be seen.

Jump Form
Another jump form system consists of either fixed diameter or
adjustable diameter form sets. Our form set permits diameters
from 9 ft. to 110 ft. and varying wall thickness. The jump form is
a fully decked work platform which is self-contained and sets up
in days.
In this jump form construction each ring of forms is 4 ft. tall.
Three rings of forms are stacked on top of each other. After the
top 4 feet of form is poured, the bottom section is removed and
vertically jumped to the new top and then prepared for the next
pour. This repetitive process of pouring and jumping up the
lower set of forms continues until the structure is topped out.



Slip form construction is a construction method

in which concrete is poured into a continuously
moving form.
There are two types of slip-forms; vertical and
Slip-form construction consumes very less time
but requires careful planning of construction
process to achieve high production rates.
Due to continuous concrete pouring in slip-form
construction it produces better concrete joint
less and watertight structures.
Slip form systems require a few but highly skilled
Slip-forming is also used in the construction of
thicknesses in walls, diameters and/or shapes.
Another but similar method that is in use for this
type of construction is the jump form method.
In this method the form work jumps up to the
next layer after the bottom layer is cast. The
concrete pouring is not continuous as in the slipform method.


Allen, EA. (2009) Fundamentals of building construction materials and methods, John Wiley & Sons.

Ching, Francis (2008) Building Construction Illustrated, John Wiley & Sons.

Crompton, Richard (1992) Tilt-up construction, University of Florida.

Mehta, Madan et. al. (2013) Building Construction, Pearson, USA.

Zayed, Tarek et. al. (2008) Slip-Form Application to Concrete Structures, ASCE.



Lecture Activity
Each student is required to prepare a brief but informative internet-based research about one of the topics
related to this lecture (Slip-form Construction); i.e., new developments, successive and local case studies or
important details. The research should be presented in only one A4 sheet.