Horizontal panel systems

Innovation in formwork has led to small lightweight modular systems that provide versatile formwork solutions on-site. Use of aluminium, high tensile steel, fibre glass or special plastics for different components have enabled lightweight units to be developed which can be safely man-handled to achieve a practical formwork system. The components of the lightweight formwork systems are engineered to give robust and easy-to-handle solutions capable of dealing with both regular and irregular formwork areas. Minimising the number of different components in a formwork system allows mobility and quick installation of the formwork. The individual components often have multiple uses.

A range of lightweight modular formwork systems are available for the construction of most types of structure. They are suitable for any type of concrete frame construction. Lightweight formwork systems used for slab construction generally consist of a series of interconnected falsework bays, independent props or system scaffolds and supporting a number of panels.


  • Lightweight components enable larger areas of formwork to be assembled.
  • Increased speed of construction.
  • Lightweight components and the highly-engineered connection methods reduce the workforce requirement and increase onsite assembly.
  • The simplicity of assembly and disassembly of these modular systems reduces the requirement for skilled labour.
  • Basic assembly is possible with minimal crane use as components can be manually handled.
  • Total load requiring back propping is minimised due to the reduced weight of the formwork system.
  • The engineered individual components of the formwork systems enable precise adjustment to the formwork.
  • Good quality surface finishes are possible when appropriate site controls are used.
  • The systems can be used on sites with space and access limitations.


  • Erection can be carried out from below, largely eliminating working from height.
  • These systems have limited in-built standard health and safety features.
  • These systems provide a fairly robust assembly, which creates a stable working platform.
  • Site operatives can quickly become familiar with the health and safety procedures due to the simplicity and repetitive nature of the assembly process.
  • These modular lightweight systems can be combined with wind-shield systems for a slab-edge protection.

Other considerations

  • The support slab must be capable of carrying loads at bearing locations; back propping may be needed underneath the slab.
  • Safe access has to be provided.