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What could possibly go wrong?

Sub-standard materials can lead to structural failure and this has happened.


For formwork plywood to comply with AS 3610 Formwork for Concrete and meet safety regulations. It must meet AS 6669-Formwork Plywood and be structurally rated in accordance with AS/NZS 2269.

Bonding quality must comply with AS/NZS 2269 Plywood-Structural or AS/NZS 2271 Plywood and Blackboard for Exterior Use

The sheet label must include:

  1. The manufacturer’s name or registered mark
  2. The words ‘formwork plywood’ or product description
  3. Reference to AS 6669 Plywood-Formwork, or where structural properties of AS/NZS2269 Plywood-Structural are claimed, reference to both of these standards.
  4. The surface quality
  5. The grade of the veneers
  6. The bond type of the glue-line
  7. The stress grade of the sheet. If different, the stress grades both parallel and perpendicular to the face grain in that order, for example F17/F14.
  8. The section properties. For listed constructions the panel construction code.
  9. For non-standard constructions, the (I) and the (Z) values as determined by AS/NZS2269 Plywood-Structural.

The product pictured above is evidence of sub-standard formwork. The required product markings indicating compliance with manufacturing and testing standard is missing. Bonding between veneers was non-existent on some corners and subsequent testing showed that the product did not meet the bond quality requirements of the required Australian standards.

The result was that the formwork had to be deconstructed and replaced at the cost of the supplier.


In April 2014 a pack (25 sheets) of imported “formply” was purchased in the Sydney market. This product was sold as Formply Type A bond, F17.

Subsequent testing of this product showed:

  • 40% of the sheets failed the A-bond test.
  • The indicated strength was F14 and if the bending strength criteria for formply were applied the F-grade would be F11.
  • There were significant issues with the joints in the plywood, primarily this related to the use of non-structural joints and they were not bonded with a durable structural adhesive.
  • The branding of the products stated that it was F17 which is false and misleading as the tests show it is only F14 under AS/NZS 2269.0. Further, the product is clearly labelled as formply and therefore AS6669 should be the reference standard.


Photograph of non-structural joints in imported plywood

It was the opinion of the report that the product was potentially unsafe and should not be used in structural applications.


A northern NSW multi-unit building project cost developers a reported additional $1.3 million when imported wardrobes and joinery were the cause of a non-compliance order issued by Housing NSW. Unfortunately, Housing NSW’s own design requirements make no mention of the relevant Australian standards.

The entire project had to be renovated and completed with Australian made compliant products after imported products were found to be non-compliant after emission levels ‘soared through the roof’.