Vertical panel systems

Crane-lifted panel systems are commonly used on building sites to form vertical elements and usually consist of a steel frame with plywood, steel, plastic or composite facing material.

The systems are normally modular in nature, assembly times and labour costs are considerably lower than traditional formwork methods with far fewer components required. They offer greater opportunities for reuse for different applications on site.

Panel systems are extremely versatile and the larger crane-lifted versions can be used for constructing standard concrete walls, perimeter basement walls, columns and in conjunction with jumpform climbing systems.


  • Assembly is very simple reducing the requirement of skilled labour.
  • Easily adaptable to varying structural geometries, wall heights, etc.
  • Increased speed in construction in comparison to traditional wooden formwork.
  • Engineered nature of the panel formwork systems allows quick adjustment of the formwork.


  • Working platforms, guard rails and ladders can be built into the completed units of the formwork.
  • Site operative can quickly become familiar with health and safety aspects of their job due to the simplicity of the assembly process and repetitive nature of the work in certain types of structure.
  • Usually these formwork systems require minimal use of power tools.

Other considerations

  • The panel systems are designed for specific maximum concrete pressures. The concrete placement rates have to be adjusted accordingly to keep the concrete pressure within specified limits.
  • Lightweight manhandled systems are available with steel or aluminium frames and plywood facing- commonly used in groundworks construction.
  • For a fair-faced exposed concrete finish it may be necessary to line the panels with a secondary layer of material.
  • For concrete where enhanced durability is required, controlled permeability formwork may be used.

More information on formwork can be sourced from Formwork for Modern Efficient Concrete Construction, published by BRE.