Main Contractor

Antrim Construction

Date of Construction

August 2022


James Calvert

SDG are proud to work with concrete industry experts Taranto. They got in touch requesting a proposal for a strong permanent formwork system for their groundwork contract for the Lacefield development in Belfast. 

Strong foundations are a critical component of any build; frequently, ground conditions are too weak to support buildings, and often large buildings exceed the capacity of any ground condition.

For these challenging conditions, designers often utilise ring beam foundations supported on piles driven into the ground below. These foundations can rely on frictionally supported piles or end-bearing piles driven down to the underlying rock to directly support the load. The ring beam design allows for the load of the building to be transferred to the supporting piles. 


With all reinforced concrete, forming it is a complex task requiring skilled labor, even more so when that structural component is in the ground. With labor shortages affecting the entire industry, innovative systems which work to save on labor have never

been of more importance. In terms of foundation innovation, the preferred option is to utilise permanent formwork systems to form insitu ground beams. These systems can be placed quickly and left in the ground.  


We proposed the use of Max Frank Pecafil® permanent formwork system.  Composed of light gauge steel mesh with a strong plastic heat-wrapped cover. Pecafil® is sturdy enough to resist backfill pressure and strong enough to contain coarse aggregate. The unique Pecafil® side spacers allow for perfect

formation of the outer cover layer of concrete, allowing for full compaction without defects. The unique large aperture spacers work to ensure the cover layer works as intended, without defects that allow for water to migrate into the beam and disrupt the steel reinforcement. 


Working closely with site and Max Frank, we supplied the Pecafil® system and the required side spacers. Sheets were formed and supplied exactly to the designed dimensions of the ring beam, with spacers matched to the specified cover layer. Max Frank being our sole supplier of Concrete Bar provided the 50N/mm² high strength concrete bar on which the steel reinforcement was laid. 

The Pecafil® systems unique leave-in-place formwork offered site the following benefits: 

  • Fast and simple installation of the formwork 
  • No time or cost with stripping, cleaning, and returning formwork 
  • No need for lifting equipment to manoeuvre formwork
  • No need for release agent or striking

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